Gamecocks' defense making more progress as season opener draws n - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Gamecocks' defense making more progress as season opener draws near

(Source: TheBigSpur.com) (Source: TheBigSpur.com)

Coaches always look for growth in their players' abilities from the start of camp up to the final game.

For the South Carolina Gamecocks, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is starting to see some improvement as USC gears up for their season opener on August 28 against Texas A&M.

"I think (the defense) is close," said Ward. "I think we've gotten better. We had one of our better practices yesterday than we did this morning, but that goes a little bit to the offense, too. I think they picked it up and we didn't totally respond like I would like us to, but we didn't do bad. We're getting better."

The Gamecocks have not begun installing a game plan for the Aggies up to this point, but that, according to Ward, will change soon.

"We'll start 10 days out," Ward said. "So, Monday will be the day that we'll start practicing for Texas A&M."

Despite not having to deal with the likes of former Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, the Gamecocks will still have their hands full since there is some uncertainty regarding which quarterback the Aggies will start. However, the Gamecocks know they'll have to rely on a deep linebacker corps to help keep the Texas A&M offense contained. 

"We feel like we've got a pretty good two-deep depth chart right now, three deep in some places," Gamecocks linebackers coach Kirk Botkin said. "Marcquis Roberts has been a guy who's been very flexible being able to play Mike (middle) and Will (weakside). He's been out a little bit with a strep throat. T.J. Holloman's a guy who's been doing really good. We've got great competition at every position and that brings out the best in some of the football players."

The Gamecocks will return to the Bluff Road practice field at 10 a.m. on Friday.

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