Will the Secondary Step Up Today for Gamecocks?


No matter what goes right or wrong, the question that has to be answered is will the secondary step up today for the Gamecocks?   A definite sore spot for South Carolina most of last season many were expecting this year to be significantly different. However a week ago Thursday against North Carolina, the Tar Heels pretty much threw at will for most of the game.  When they weren’t throwing, they were running to the outside and there rarely seem to be someone there ready to take on the running back .

In short, this has to be the game where the secondary for the Gamecocks comes together as a group and is able to complement what appears to be a very solid defensive line and linebacking crew.

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First, there has to be the question of what has happened to Chaz Elder? Initially listed as the starter for North Carolina last week, he didn’t even play a single snap.  When asked why Elder didn’t make it in, the Gamecocks coaching staff said merely that Chris Lammons had a great game and there just wasn’t the opportunity.   Unfortunately Lammons, who did have a great game, is now injured and out for the Kentucky game, yet Elder still is not listed as the starter.  What has happened?  Where has he gone?  Has anyone at least seen him?  To go from named starter to no plays, to not being the starter when the guy in front of you goes out, is all very odd to say the least.

Second Rico McWilliams and Al Harris Jr were pretty much non-entities in the first game, however they are now the starters for today’s game.   McWilliams started off extremely hot in his career at Carolina but definitely didn’t show any of that last week in which he only had one tackle and missed on several plays (note picture above).   Harris, on the other hand, came in with a ton of hype being the son of former pro great, however hasn’t lived up to much of that billing yet.   Will the two of them step up and step into their walls eyes starters to lead the secondary today?

If there was a bright spot last week it would definitely have been Isaiah Johnson, the transfer from Kansas. He made several big hits and has the potential to be the leader back in the secondary.  There were definitely moments in which he reminded me of some of the former big-time defensive backs that we’ve seen at Carolina recently.  However he still won’t be able to do it all alone.

Ultimately today a lot of the Gamecocks success will rest on the shoulders of McWilliams and Harris. Not only do they need to do a better job on coverage but need to be more involved in the run game on the corners as well.   And who knows maybe will finally get to see Chaz Elder play a snap as well.  My guess is, with a long week of practice since the Tar Heel game, Coach Jon Hoke will have these guys in a much better place.

Next: Position Advantage: Gamecocks vs Wildcats

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