Josh Kendall

The words every South Carolina fan has longed to hear

South Carolina sophomore cornerback Rashad Fenton said Tuesday what many Gamecock fans have been longing to hear for two years.

“I’d say last year the defense was more like a conservative defense, just trying to stop them from doing certain plays,” said Fenton, a sophomore cornerback. “I feel like this year it’s more aggressive and coach is trusting the (defensive backs) more to do bump and run or switching up coverages and be more aggressive and play the ball more, which is going to be very good.”

The Gamecocks finished last in the SEC in total defense last year, surrendering 429.8 yards per game. The 6.03 yards per play South Carolina gave up were the second-worst total in the league.

“I think this year is going to be way better,” Fenton said.

How could it be worse, right? South Carolina’s philosophy last season looked to be to play conservative and hope to keep most of the plays in front of the defenders. That didn’t work so great either, considering the Gamecocks were 13th in the SEC in 20-plus yard plays allowed.

Every fan of every team in the country wants to hear that their defense is going to be more aggressive. Still, that can come with a price – which is giving up tons of big plays. As frustrating as watching a team inch its way down the field over and over is for fans, it’s worse to watch teams hit 50-yard touchdowns.

That’s the balance Fenton and his defensive backs – and all his defensive teammates – must strike in their desire to be more aggressive. He believes they’ll be able to do that.

Time will tell.