Defense having fun

It'd be beneficial for the South Carolina Gamecocks if they could pin point what exactly was done differently in their domination over Vanderbilt last Saturday. This way, they could multiply that sort of result. They'll hope to do just that this weekend against Auburn.

It'd be beneficial for the South Carolina Gamecocks if they could pin point what exactly was done differently in their domination over Vanderbilt last Saturday. This way, they could multiply that sort of result.

But assistant head coach Ellis Johnson insists it was the same base defense used with only slight alterations.

The players generally maintained that they simply focused on pursuing the football and wrapping up. But one more distinct variable was present: they seemed to be having a heck of a lot more fun than in any other game this year.

Of course, any defense would seem to be enjoying themselves while sacking the quarterback six times and limiting the offense to less than 100 total yards. But perhaps they saw that type of success from their new found mentality.

Senior Melvin Ingram has probably had more fun than any other defensive lineman in the country, finding the end zone a remarkable three times this year.

"I love football," Melvin said after the Vanderbilt game. "God put it here, and I love to do it so, why not have fun while you're doing it?"

Sixth-year senior linebacker Rodney Paulk thinks that outlook on the game is contagious. Once the players' faces start lighting up, the same happens to the opposing quarterback.

"It's a lot of fun. Everybody's flying around. Everybody's making plays. It;s tremendous. It's things you dream of," Paulk said.

Based on the outcome of the two times USC faced off against Auburn last year, the Gamecocks have plenty of "fun" to make up for this week when they host the Tigers.

A couple of things line up in Carolina's favor that have changed since last year.

Obviously, not many defenses enjoyed themselves against Cam Newton last year. Barrett Trotter has seen some success as a replacement, but a young offensive line for the Tigers might have the first-year starter taking some heat.

But the mentality must be the same as last week.

"Like it's just another Saturday and we're just happy to be out there," Paulk said.

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