David Cloninger

USC will look to keep Drew Lock off balance

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock AP

Does it help or hurt South Carolina to be going against a freshman quarterback?

There’s a lack of experience, but Drew Lock will play the game at home in front of an adoring crowd. That’s the life of a backup quarterback, as the Gamecocks well know; the starter is never going to be as loved because his first mistake is never something the backup would have done. And in this particular case, Maty Mauk was booed by his own fans after some lackluster early performances.

USC won’t have much film on Lock, but Lock will have plenty on USC. He’ll know that if the Gamecocks don’t change their defensive look – something that USC’s players on Tuesday said wasn’t drastically happening – he can hit slants and short passes all day. What the Gamecocks have to do is throw something at Lock they haven’t shown.

Play corners closer to the line. Have them bump receivers. Show blitz early like they did against UCF but this time, keep it on and make Lock know they’re there. Force him into mistakes.

USC, perhaps, knows better than anybody the highs and lows of starting an untested quarterback. It’s seen both this year.

It can show Missouri the bad side.