So what can honestly be expected out of the secondary bunch next week against a much stronger opponent? Excellence, that’s what. Here are 5 reasons the Gamecock’s secondary will not just show up between the hedges this Saturday, but will dominate.
Despite several miscues against a tougher offense than most would care to give credit to, USC’s defense did end up making some tremendous plays against ECU last week. There was one player who didn’t quite make the headlines, but those with a good eye for truly fundamental defense gave proper recognition to CC Whitlock.
After awarding him with the game ball, Spurrier told the press, “CC was our best defensive back out there” and I agree. I believe CC is taking his last year in the Garnet & Black serious… dead serious. After only logging in a total of four tackles last year against the Bulldogs, you can expect much bigger numbers and a much more dangerous attitude this year.
Freshman All-America in 2009, first-team All-SEC in 2010, and preseason Lott Trophy candidate in 2011… Stephon Gilmore is the man, right? I think so. However, after last week’s performance in Charlotte, the man with the most impressive resume in the secondary now has the most to prove.
If you smelt anything strange in the air at Bank of America stadium last week, that might have been Stephon Gilmore getting burnt for 60 minutes. Ok, so that’s a little harsh and exaggerated, but he was torched a few times by Lance Lewis and several other Pirates receivers. Plus, after watching Connor Shaw, then Marcus Lattimore, then Kenny Miles cough up the ball on Saturday, Gilmore decided to join the action to give the Gamecocks their forth fumble of the evening.
Gilmore has the ability to make major game-changing plays against any SEC team. Nobody can protest this, because he has already proven it over the last two seasons. But, he didn’t HAVE to prove it then. He does now. Gilmore will show up this coming Saturday with a chip on his shoulder, which means Gamecock’s secondary get their leader back and this time he’ll be the one CREATING the fumbles.
Ask anyone who has played defensive back at any level of football. It sucks being in the backfield when the opposing QB has all the time in the world to pick you and your defense apart. That’s why it’s important to have a solid group of players up front. Well, do you want to know which part of USC’s defense is NOT broken? The front line. Speaking of “not broken,” that’s not likely the description Bulldog’s QB will get this Saturday.
Relax, Georgia fans. I wish no harm against Aaron Murray. He’s a great student and athlete. I’m just saying, the last three people I’d want to be facing if I’m behind center are Devin Taylor, Melvin Ingram, and Jadeveon Clowney. If you just read those three names out loud and didn’t pee your pants (even just a little), then you haven’t been watching college (or high school) football for the past two years. All the rushed plays, sacks, forced bad throws, and sheer intimidation will create a series of easy alley-oops for the Gamecock’s secondary.
With key players out for the season opener, many doubted what remained of USC’s secondary. I’ll admit that I was one of those doubters, but Antonio Allen and his squad sure know how to make me look like a fool. Allen doubled his previous career-high with 16 tackles against East Carolina, forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles (one for a touchdown), and led the momentum shift that the team needed to dig themselves out of a hole and walk away with a W.
After the band plays ‘2001’ in Stanford stadium this Saturday, there will be two Gamecocks running through the smoke with the secondary that weren’t in last week’s opener. DeVonte Holloman and Akeem Auguste are going to bring much more to the table than what was there last week. In Charlotte, the Gamecocks were playing with a baby stack of chips and one Ace. In Athens, they’ll be playing with a mountain stack of chips, with a million dollar hand, and you better believe they’re going all in.
Ok, maybe nobody from the team has stumbled across one of my tweets or blog posts, but they sure as hell have read the hundreds of articles that have done nothing but hype up every slice of the Gamecock’s team. That is, every slice but the defensive secondary. On the contrary, those hundreds of articles and all the talk surrounding the secondary has been anything but good.
Being a competitive person myself (with a slight anger management problem), nothing gets me more amped up than a non-believer. I’m willing to bet that this secondary unit operates with the same boiling points I do, and right about 4:30 pm this Saturday, these Gamecocks will reach that point and I feel terrible for whoever’s in their way. Ever seen an angry Gamecock? See image above. If you’re listening out there, fellas….Nobody in the country, aside from me and the true Gamecock faithful, believe in you. Now, go out there and shut some media mouths.