Auburn Football: Scouting the South Carolina Defense and Special Teams

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Oct 18, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; Furman Paladins tight end Duncan Fletcher (17) is brought down by South Carolina Gamecocks safety T.J. Gurley (20) in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backs

The 2013 South Carolina defense excelled defending the pass. The Gamecocks held opponents to fewer than 200 yards passing, which ranked third in the SEC and 12th nationally. Following the departure of three starters and forced to play a handful of true freshman this season, this year’s group has been much worse.

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  • Safety TJ Gurley has been one of the most active defenders on the roster this season. Gurley’s 42 tackles are just one behind the team leader and he is one of four players to intercept a pass this year. Because the coaching staff has struggled to find the right mix of players in the secondary this season, Gurley has floated from strong safety to fess safety and back this season.

    Brison Williams is the best defensive back on the roster. He is a natural safety, and started at strong safety in 2013, but has started six games this season at cornerback out of necessity. Williams has 20 tackles and an interception and leads the team with five pass breakups.

    Sophomore Rico McWilliams, and true freshmen Al Harris, Jr. and Chris Lammons have attempted to stabilize the other corner for the Gamecocks. Chris Moody, Chaz Elder and DJ Smith have all taken turns opposite Gurley at safety.

    As of last week, the secondary situation still hadn’t fully finalized itself, which is a big reason opponents have had a lot of success through the air this season.

    Next: South Carolina Gamecocks Special Teams