Gamecocks assistant Kyle Krantz breaks down Jamyest Williams, key position
The position isn’t the most used in South Carolina’s defense, but it’s not forgotten.
Strongside linebackers simply are not as prominent as they once were in college football. They’re the players taken off the field for a fifth defensive back, something that has become the de facto base defense in the sport.
But the Gamecocks still have a few players working at that spot, often in addition to other positions. It gives South Carolina a certain Swiss Army Knife feel there, with an option for multiple occasions.
“I think it’s good to have versatility at all positions,” Gamecocks nickels/strongside linebackers coach Kyle Krantz said. “And at that position too because sometimes we’re gonna need a bigger body. Sometimes we need someone that can cover. So to have guys that have skill sets that can do either or, or both. And that’s good.”
He named four players who were working there at the start of practice, and they run a gamut of sorts in terms of style.
▪ Eldridge Thompson: Also plays the weakside. The former safety is a coverage linebacker at heart and bulked up to 225 pounds.
▪ Daniel Fennell: He has played a lot of Buck the past few years, and brings both pass rush ability and bulk (255 pounds) to set the edge.
▪ Rosendo Louis: Projected to be the backup middle linebacker last season, but things didn’t go as planned. His lack of real snaps means it’s less clear what he’ll bring coming into this season, but he’s a beefy 250 pounds and has a reputation as a productive tackler.
▪ Jahmar Brown: A freshman who came in undersized and added 20 pounds. He’s a skilled player in coverage.
There’s a blend of pass rushing, bulk and ability to get out into space there.
The Gamecocks are looking for more from their linebackers this fall after last year’s group struggled at times. They return just about everyone at the three positions, save for strongside backer Bryson Allen-Williams, who spent most of the season at defensive end.
It won’t be apparent how much USC might play any of the four until the season gets underway, but the staff seems to like those options as much for their variety as anything else.
“All guys that can go in there and play,” Krantz said. “They all different skill sets.
“We’re going to find a way to put our best players in the field to be successful when somebody is determined by who we play and what.”