Moore, Elder sustain concussions in victory
While the defensive line did not record a sack at Arkansas last weekend, it performed well, defensive line coach Deke Adams said.
Adams said he saw progress in Saturday’s game, even though the unit still made some mistakes.
“If you sit down and look at the entire game and look at how hard they played, then you see the true impact that they made in the game,” Adams said. “There were times when Jadeveon (Clowney) was being blocked by two and three guys on a consistent basis. But he’s playing hard every week.”
In his first start back from injury, Clowney recorded just one tackle and no quarterback hurries. However, Adams still said that the junior graded out at 91 percent for the game.
“If he just keeps playing, the stats will come to him,” Adams said.
There were some shakeups in the secondary before the game against the Razorbacks, and the changes that secondary coach Grady Brown and the other defensive coaches made appear to have worked.
The Gamecocks limited the Arkansas offense to 248 yards, no points and just 30 passing yards, a resounding statement for the secondary.
The second-half defense has been a problem for South Carolina throughout the season, and even though the team improved there against the Razorbacks, there is still room for improvement.
“There were a few times in the fourth quarter where we didn’t line up correctly, so we definitely have to get that corrected,” Brown said. “But for the most part, guys went out and tried to play the game the way they’ve been taught to play it and the way we’ve talked about playing all week.”
The Gamecocks will look to build off of that performance against a Tennessee team that has had an extra week to prepare.
After Saturday’s game, coach Steve Spurrier said he had told the defense they practiced better than they played and urged them to bring their game from the practice field to the game field. That is one of the unit’s goals again this week, he said.
Freshman linebacker Skai Moore was one to step up to the plate, recording a team-high six tackles to go with one tackle for loss.
“I executed all of my assignments, and I was just where I was supposed to be and ran to the ball,” Moore said. “I know I can grow from that game.”
Moore is questionable for the game against Tennessee with a concussion, and while Spurrier is optimistic about his chances to play, Moore said he will have to wait and see if he is able to practice.
Freshman safety Chaz Elder, who had four tackles and a fumble recovery against Arkansas, is also dealing with a concussion and is questionable for Saturday. He said he will talk to the trainers Wednesday to gauge his status.
As for the defensive backs, Brown said he will once again try to get the best players on the field at the same time. The players that played last week will most likely get reps again, but Brown said he will have to wait and see what happens in the next two days of practice.
“I can assure that whoever practices the best this week and who played well last week will be the ones that start the game,” Brown said. “But it’s not always about who starts. Sometimes it’s about who finishes the game.”
Redshirt junior defensive back Victor Hampton is proof of that. He was benched Saturday but entered the game in the second defensive series of the contest, when he promptly recorded an interception that would lead to a Gamecock touchdown.
Brown said that his decision to bench starters like Hampton and junior safety Brison Williams was more to send a message to the players.
Brown also said he was pleased with Hampton’s interception but added that he needs to work on his tackling.
“From a defensive back standpoint, if you miss open field tackles, bad things generally happen,” Brown said. “There’s a premium on any mistake that you make as defensive back.”