Welcome everybody to our weekly live chat with Gamecocks reporter Ryan Wood.
I'm here, ready to go. Big game this week for the Gamecocks against a Vanderbilt team that has played USC tough in recent years. Gamecocks trying to get back on track after loss at Georgia. Looking forward to your questions.
So far, they've tried to move him around at different positions along the defensive line. JD Clowney played both end spots, as well as nose guard, in USC's first two games. This week, I think you're going to see the Gamecocks defense overload the side opposite Clowney, almost daring Vanderbilt to run plays at him. Spurrier hinted to that earlier this week. At this point, I'm not sure there's anything else left to do.
Ryan, how outrageous is the thought of putting him at linebacker?
Jordan Matthews seems to have a big game against just about every defense now. He's a balanced receiver, so Vandy can get the ball to him in several different ways. That means there isn't one coverage that will work. The Gamecocks secondary will have to show multiple looks Saturday, a mix of zone, double coverage, single man.
I think it's pretty outrageous Clowney is a defensive end, the best one in the country. Not sure about his linebacker credentials. I think USC will keep him in a three-point stance.
I would say it's overblown, but for different reasons. I'm not sure enough attention is being made to North Carolina and Georgia playing keep-away with Clowney. It looked like Aaron Murray simply audibled away from Clowney every play. (BTW, not a lot of quarterbacks are able to do that.) That's the difficulty with a defensive player winning the Heisman. You can avoid a defensive player. A quarterback has the ball in his hands every play.
Honestly, I haven't been covering this landscape long enough to have a credible opinion about it.
Yes, to say he's "better" is premature. Mike Davis is different, though. He's certainly faster than Lattimore. His home run speed has been the biggest, pleasant surprise for this offense.
I still like South Carolina. I still think the Gamecocks are one of the 10 best teams in college football. Vanderbilt has top 25-caliber talent, but it can't match USC. That said, as Spurrier talked about earlier this week, the Commodores have played the Gamecocks tough in recent years. This isn't the automatic win maybe it used to be against Vandy. It still should be an easy victory.
That's a good question. There didn't seem to be a solid answer this week. Several players were asked if there would be any changes with the process, and they said no. Players said plays were called in faster in the second half, particularly in the early three-and-out. Still, we'll have to see Saturday how much of an issue this remains.
I picked Texas A&M to win the SEC West, and the SEC title game. Now, there have been a lot of distractions in the past month-plus, and that has me worried about my pick a little bit. But, in front of the 12th man, I'm staying with the Aggies. I'm not sure Alabama's defense has an answer for someone with the improvisational skills of Johnny Manziel.
It should be fine. Clowney returned to the game after he was seen limping on the sideline Saturday. No injury issues with Clowney were discussed this week. I expect he's healthy and ready to go.
Each year, the SEC is following the rest of college football and turning into more of an offensive league. With Alabama owning the SEC recently, defense has still won the day. But at some point offense is going to break through in this league. When you look at Texas A&M, Georgia (and even Alabama), there are some explosive offenses in this league. South Carolina and LSU don't trail by much on that side. Whoever the SEC winner ends up being, you're probably going to see an explosive offense.
I don' t think that's going to happen. At least, let's say, I don't think it should happen. The no-huddle adds another dimension to football. It's up to defenses to adjust. That's just my opinion. A lot of no-huddle offensive coaches (Auburn's Gus Malzahn comes to mind) would prefer to see rule changes to prevent defensive players from "faking" injuries. I don't think that'll happen either. To me, it's an interesting tug-of-war.
Seems like a good place to end today's chat. Thanks to all who participated. I enjoyed the conversation. See you at halftime of Saturday's game for another live chat, as well as next Thursday. Until then, take care.