Still-struggling Gamecocks D gets a C against ECU in W


I would be willing to bet that the consensus of South Carolina Gamecocks fans in the house at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday had a feeling of deja vu after watching ECU Pirates quarterback Shane Carden begin to do what he wished against the Carolina defense, a la Kenny Hill in last Thursday’s loss to Texas A&M.

And could you blame them? The defensive line just couldn’t push through against the offensive line and scope out receivers, giving Carden plenty of time to throw and hit marquee receiver Justin Hardy among others.

Fortunately, things buckled down later in the game. The defense was able to record a pair of interceptions and a blocked field goal in the second half to put themselves in good shape. Carden began to be hassled a little more and the backfield began to identify routes a little more and stick with receivers.

Overall, things started out not good, but got better as the game got on.

But you look back over the years, especially over the Clowney and Quarles era, and you ask why the Gamecocks are struggling with teams like ECU in the first place. That’s not to take anything from Carden and Hardy. Fast forward to about a year from this writing and I can almost guarantee that those two will be playing on Sundays, if not comfortably entering the multi-millionaire tax bracket. ECU has as good a shot as anyone of winning The American this year.

Here’s the point: this defense just isn’t good enough at this point in time to compete consistently. They let a quarterback with the same amount of starts as me pick them apart last Thursday and they struggled again against Carden before improving. And that’s not good news with Todd Gurley and Georgia coming into town on Saturday.

Can they fix things and get up for the Bulldogs next week? Time will tell. But Lorenzo Ward still has a little more work to do. Here’s hoping he and the staff have the fix.