South Carolina Football: Report card vs. Florida

South Carolina football running back Mario Anderson. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football running back Mario Anderson. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina Football
South Carolina football’s O’Donnell Fortune struggling to try to tackle Florida’s Montrell Johnson in the open field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina Football vs. Florida:
Grades for the Gamecock defense

DEFENSIVE LINE. B. Some early gashes in the run game made it look like Carolina’s front was in for a long night, but the defensive line played much better the rest of the way. Three sacks (1.5 from TJ Sanders, 1 from Jordan Strachan, and 0.5 from Tonka Hemingway) helped the cause, and Hemingway had his most impactful game of the year after a rough first drive. There wasn’t enough push in the run game in short-yardage situations, and the pass rush seemed to need additional blitzers to help cause chaos for Florida’s offensive line, but the performance was one of the better ones of the season.. . South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina Gamecocks. LINEBACKERS . C+. The linebackers were fairly average against the Gators. They still struggle in coverage, and Stone Blanton had some tough plays before exiting the game with an undisclosed injury. However, Debo Williams had some really good moments attacking downhill, and Bam Martin-Scott looked decent in limited action. Pup Howard played some extra snaps in relief of Blanton and showed that he’s not quite ready as a true freshman, but he got some valuable experience that hopefully will help him develop into the player he is capable of being..

South Carolina Gamecocks. DEFENSIVE BACKS. D. The secondary didn’t have a good enough game on Saturday. The safeties tackled well, as they usually do, but the corners missed too many open-field opportunities. Most egregiously, however, was the defensive backfield’s struggle against the pass. Just like the last two games against Mississippi State and Tennessee, the Gamecocks played a safety at nickel and got torched all night. Nick Emmanwori is a run-blocking safety but was utilized as a nickel again. It isn’t his fault that he is consistently put in a bad position (it’s his coaches’ fault), but the results were not good. Corners O’Donnell Fortune and Marcellas Dial have had good games in coverage this season, but this Saturday was not one of those good games. Dial also blew an easy 4th down tackle that would have sealed the game for the Gamecocks; on the same drive, DQ Smith whiffed on a wide open lane to the quarterback. Instead, Florida converted after the gaffes and went on to score the winning touchdown after another 4th-and-long conversion..

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