South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp nonchalantly tossed out a range of responsibilities falling on the shoulders of Chris Lammons.
There will be reps at safety, and some at corner, and he finds himself at slot cornerback on the depth chart. It’s not a small load, and while he has been a part-time starter as a true freshman and sophomore, he’s worked on the outside his whole career.
“In the past we haven’t played a lot of slot corner,” Lammons said. “This is a new experience because in this defense, we’re going to play a lot of nickel, I want to say. I think the coaches think I’m the best fit.”
He’s being asked to play a spot the Gamecocks haven’t directly designated in years (nickels were Spurs, an-always-on-the-field position) and the thinnest spot on the defense (safety).
Modern offenses seek to stress defenses at key positions, and the slot is one of the two main ones. Spreads put outside linebackers on fast receivers so often, using an extra defensive back has essentially become a base defense for many teams.
Lammons guessed his speed makes him a solid fit for the assignment, and his coach said the Florida product could help meet specific needs.
“We’ve got to find some guys,” Muschamp said. “He needs to be versatile enough to be able to do a lot of those things.”
Lammons said he’s ready to work at safety, either rolling into the box or dropping back deep. Whatever the team asks of him and where he’ll set up will be dictated in some ways by how offenses play, he said.
And he has a little experience playing the back end of the defense.
“I played safety in high school,” Lammons said. “Mainly quarterback, safety and corner.”
His last time as safety included 30 tackles and a pair of interceptions as a high school senior, while mainly carrying a heavy load on offense. He made 24 tackles with four pass breakups and one interception a season ago, when he was in and out of the rotation and injured at times.
He’s a veteran of last season’s unit that played not to allow longs plays, and instead gave up plays of medium length in bunches. Muschamp’s last two defenses at Auburn and Florida were similar in not allowing big plays, but both were more effective.
Although Lammons’ future could come at different spots, he said the amount he’s been able to play in his first two years at USC is helpful purely in getting film. He can now look back, remember what he saw and felt on a play and correct things as he takes in a new and most likely larger role.
“Just being on the field, and going over film, looking at your mistakes, you learn, ‘Oh, I could have done this better or could have done that better,’ ” Lammons said.