Auburn Football: Scouting the South Carolina Defense and Special Teams

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Oct 18, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive tackle J.T. Surratt (97) rushes Furman Paladins quarterback P.J. Blazejowski (7) in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line

You can’t lose two All-Americans from one position group and think you’ll be able to replace them without a drop off. Following the 2013 season, both Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles left for the NFL Draft and they took their 12.5 combined sacks with them. More importantly than the statistics, the loss of Clowney meant that offensive coordinators no longer needed to prepare exotic protections and blocking schemes in order to neutralize No. 7.

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  • The drop off has been noticeable. Carolina finished in the top 20 in scoring defense, pass defense and total defense last season and amassed 25 sacks in 14 games. This year, the Gamecocks are ranked 75th or worse in every major defensive statistical category and have only eight sacks in seven games.

    Gerald Dixon (not to be confused with his half-brother Gerald Dixon, Jr.) leads the team with five tackles for a loss and two sacks, fellow defensive end Darius English and defensive tackle JT Surratt are the only other defensive lineman to successfully bring the quarterback down this year.

    Surratt is the team’s best D-lineman, and he will play against Auburn but will be slowed this week due to injury. In an effort to create more of a pass rush, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward has moved true freshman linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams to defensive end.

    Next: South Carolina Gamecocks Linebackers