David Cloninger

Gamecocks’ defense in need of confidence

Jon Hoke is making defensive changes, at least in personnel.

He didn’t say anything about scheme, specifically, on Tuesday, but one would think after making Greyson Lambert look like the second coming of Roger Staubach, he will also address those.

Who knows how effective they’ll be – Hoke might be running a desired scheme without the proper pieces to run it – but he has to do something. And it has to be this week.

UCF is a bad offensive football team, a bad football team in general. This week is a chance to obtain something lacking at USC.

The Gamecocks need confidence – particularly on defense. They need to force a few punts, collect a sack or a turnover and turn back an opponent. With the statistically worst FBS offensive team coming to their home field, they need to do that now.

Last year was a horrible defensive year, USC frantically trying during the season to undo a 3-4 alignment it had been preparing for all spring and summer. While it was never fully reversed, it was fixed enough so the Gamecocks had a group they were confident in during the final third of the season.

USC won three of its final four games. If it can just get a stable group that mostly does the right things most of the time this week, perhaps it can start another mini-streak. Missouri awaits on the road, looking plenty susceptible after struggling to beat UConn.

As for LSU and Leonard Fournette?

Jump off that bridge when you come to it.