The Daily Gamecock

Defense prepares for double-threat

Brown disappointed in long touchdown against Missouri

If you take away the 96-yard touchdown pass Missouri had Saturday against South Carolina, the Gamecock defense held the Tigers to 308 yards of offense and 17 points, a respectable number in the SEC.

The performance helped the Gamecocks come back to upset Missouri after being down 17-0. Coach Steve Spurrier said the team always tries to forget about what happened last week, good or bad, but sometimes that is easier said than done.

Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles said it took him until Monday to finally get calmed down after the Tiger game.

The Gamecocks must now turn their attention to a Mississippi State team that uses a two-quarterback system, with sophomore Dak Prescott and senior Tyler Russell rotating under center.

Prescott is the better runner, while Russell has been banged up this season.

Defensive line coach Deke Adams said that Mississippi State’s offensive line will be more aggressive than Missouri’s was. The Bulldogs like to run the ball with Prescott, who has amassed 490 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns on the season.

“This is a great conference,” Adams said. “You know you’re going to see great players every week. They’re going to run the quarterback and going to get downhill, so we’ve got to set the tone up front.”

Quarles did a good job of setting the tone against Missouri, recording six tackles and two sacks against the Tigers, earning him SEC defensive lineman of the week.

The junior has done a good job of taking advantage of the extra attention on Jadeveon Clowney beside him.

“I just go out and work hard,” Quarles said. “I listen to people and what they have to say and what I can get better on. I worked hard in the offseason to improve my pass rush.”

After such an emotional win, there is a tendency to have a kind of hangover the next week. The Gamecocks have already had a similar letdown this season. After slamming Arkansas 52-7, South Carolina promptly lost at Tennessee the very next week on a last-second field goal.

After that game, Spurrier said the dominating win against the Razorbacks may have gone to the players’ heads.

However, linebacker T.J. Holloman said the coaching staff has tried its best to move the team forward.

“Our coaches don’t give us an opportunity to have a hangover,” Holloman said. “They come in and say, ‘Put that game behind us, Mississippi State is the most important task at hand this week.’ So we’re not really thinking about the Missouri game anymore. Now it’s all focus on Mississippi State.”

Despite the big win, secondary coach Grady Brown was obviously disappointed on the long touchdown pass his unit gave up.

“That’s one of the things that we have to get corrected in these last four games,” Brown said. “You just can’t give up long touchdowns. But if you take that away, which you can’t, we actually did a pretty decent job against a really good group of receivers. But that one play really stands out to me as a coach, and it’s disappointing.”

While the Gamecock defense did a good job against the mobility of Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk, they did struggle against Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow, who had 69 rushing yards and a touchdown against South Carolina.

But according to Brown, whoever is at quarterback for the Bulldogs will present a challenge to the defense.

“Both of them have strong arms and they can throw the ball a long way,” Brown said. “Both of them are accurate with their passes. I would just say that 15 (Prescott) may be a better runner than 17 (Russell); I’m not good with names. But the two quarterbacks are really good and if you’re not playing well, they can hurt you.”