South Carolina Football, 5 big questions for the Gamecocks:
What defensive personnel packages will Carolina utilize?
The Gamecocks have run a 4-2-5 for a long time. For many years, that was a good thing as the USC front-4 was dominant, its corners were lockdown, and the "spur," safeties, and linebackers played their roles extremely well.
Under defensive coordinator Clayton White, that has not been the case.
2023 was the low point under White as the Gamecocks were one of the worst defenses in the nation. Without a big turnover number like in 2021 and 2022, Carolina couldn't hold up on that side of the ball. Toward the end of the year, the defensive coaching staff elected to utilize more 3-3-5 to switch things up, and the production was much better.
Even with the formational change, the Gamecocks continued to play three safeties (with Jalon Kilgore getting the most reps at nickel), but the linebackers and defensive front played better in the 3-3-5.
South Carolina football fans are wondering what next season could look like on defense. Will Clayton White be retained as defensive coordinator? Will they run a 4-2-5, a 3-3-5, or something different? Will the Gamecocks figure out something different with the nickel spot and allow Kilgore to play his natural safety position? Could DQ Smith or Nick Emmanwori move to linebacker?
All of those questions make up one larger, overarching question: What defensive personnel will the Gamecocks utilize next season?