Gamecocks Begin Preparations For Furman

The South Carolina football team returned to practice under the lights Monday night coming off a thrilling 17-6 win over their SEC East rival Bulldogs. After practice, some members of the Gamecock defense met with the media to discuss the Georgia victory and look forward to the Furman game.

Obviously, most of the talk since Saturday's game has been the play of Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore got most of his yardage off one play; the inside zone. Georgia never appeared to be willing - perhaps more so able - to stop the inside zone. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing explained the inside zone from a defensive perspective.

"If you don't have enough people in the box, you can't defend it," Lawing said of the play. "Defensive theory: When the quarterback is not a runner, you count the amount of blockers and you have one more than they have. When the quarterback can run with the ball, now you have to have an extra guy. When you do that you're vulnerable in the passing game. So you've got to come up with some unique ways where sometimes you do have the extra guy and sometimes you don't. It's basketball on grass. It's tough."

The players seemed very happy with their effort against the Bulldog offense. The Gamecocks held the Bulldogs to 253 total yards of offense, only 61 on the ground. The Gamecocks also held the Bulldogs out of the end zone and the 6 points allowed was the lowest the Gamecocks allowed against the Bulldogs since a 2-0 victory back in 1904.

"I was satisfied with our performance," defensive lineman Ladi Ajiboye said. "We can do better, but overall I'm satisfied."

Ajiboye, who continues to play with an injured left hand, says it's getting better, but it's not up to him on whether or not he has to play with the "club" on his hand against the Paladins.

"I'd say it's about 85%. It's not up to me. It's up to the trainer manager. I want it off, but I really don't have a choice in the matter."

Defensive end Cliff Matthews echoed Ajiboye's sentiments.

"We played ok," Matthews said. "We played good enough to win, but we're always looking for ways to get better. There's still a lot of stuff we can do to get better. We can improve on all aspects of our game - pass rush, coverages, getting off blocks, tackling - there's a lot of stuff we can be doing to get better."

Safety Chris Culliver agrees that, despite how good the defense has performed, it can still get better.

"We've done good. We've corrected a lot of mistakes we had - missed assignments and things like that. We still have to cut them down like Coach Johnson says. I feel like guys were focused today in practice. Georgia was a big win for us, but now we're moving on to Furman."

Now the Gamecocks must now turn their attention towards Furman. Coming off a big win over a top 25 SEC rival with a trip to the Plains looming next week to face what will likely be a top 15 Auburn team, the Furman game appears to be the typical "trap game." What makes this game even more dangerous is that Furman appears to like to run the option, an offensive style that Carolina has traditionally struggled with.

"We haven't gotten to watch too much film yet," Ajiboye said. "But Furman is like an option team from what they're telling us. We'll probably get more into that tomorrow."

With Kansas' loss to North Dakota State and Ole Miss' loss to Jacksonville St. in week one, coupled with Minnesota's loss to South Dakota and Virginia Tech's loss to James Madison this past week there's plenty of opportunities for the coaches to remind the players that it's important not to overlook the Paladins. They just need to ask offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, who was on the sidelines at the "Big House" when Appalachian State shocked the college football world with its win over Michigan in 2007. Matthews was quick to remind everyone that this is not Kansas, Ole Miss, Minnesota, Virginia Tech, or Michigan.

"We're Carolina," Matthews said. "We just try and prepare ourselves for what's coming up next. We know what we can do, we just gotta come ready to play each week. We can't overlook Furman because they're a Division II (FCS) team. We just gotta come ready to play like we did against Georgia."

On an injury note, Kenny Davis injured his hand on the helmet of a Georgia player according to Lawing. Lawing hopes to have Davis ready to play against Furman.

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