Practice report: Defense looks to rebound

South Carolina's defense did not play well in Saturday's 23-21 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge. Carolina must now rebound and take on Florida in the Swamp Saturday knowing that they must win in order to keep their hopes alive for an SEC East title.

Week in and week out in the SEC, games are won in the trenches. In Saturday's 23-21 loss to LSU, South Carolina was dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball in a way they have not been beaten in quite some time. LSU rushed for 258 yards, the most Carolina has given up since the triple option attack of Navy ran for 274 yards last season. For a traditional offense to rush for more yards you would have to go all the way back to the 2010 regular season match-up against Auburn when Cam Newton and the Tigers rushed for 334 yards.

"They just outplayed us," defensive line coach Brad Lawing said. "Their guys played better than ours did. As a defense we didn't tackle as we needed to and they got some movement. They just played better."

Carolina had to feel good about its chances to beat LSU up front with a patchwork offensive line. That turned out to be the biggest weakness as LSU lined up in the I-formation and ran it right at the Carolina defense.

"Nobody played well on defense to give up those kinds of yards," Lawing said. "We didn't play well collectively as a defense and that's how you get beat.

"We tried to impress that upon them all week and made special cut-ups to show them what LSU can do," Lawing continued. "My hat's off to them. They really played well and knocked us around."

As with any physical game there were some casualties on the defensive front for Carolina. Defensive tackle Byron Jerideau played with a sprained ankle that he suffered in the Georgia game, but did not injure it further and was at practice Monday. Fellow tackles Kelcy Quarles and J.T. Surratt were both injured in the LSU game and did not practice Monday according to Jerideau. Jerideau said he believed both would play Saturday, but they are day-to-day.

"We'll know at the end of the week," Lawing said. "We were kind of dinged up last week but we made it to the game."

It is certainly a concern that you could potentially be without a starting defensive tackle and his back-up against a Florida team that is second in the conference in rushing, but Lawing said you have to play with what you have. Gerald Dixon Jr. and Phillip Dukes could potentially share the role if Surratt and Quarles are not able to play.

"It's a concern, but you take who you have and you go play ball games," Lawing said. "We've got six defensive tackles so I have to find at least two to go in there."

In any game as big as Saturday's game, there is a fair share of fireworks and the Carolina/LSU game was no different. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger said after the game that Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowny told Mettenberger prior to the game that he would not last until the end of the game. Lawing did not deny what was said, but he did say that it was a flat out lie that Clowney was the one that said it.

"Somebody told me that, but it was impossible for that to happen," Lawing said. "Clowney was down there warming up with me. That's a lie. I heard somebody said it, but for it to be Clowney is impossible because he was down there in the end zone warming up with me."

There is also a video circulating on youtube of Quarles punching LSU center P.J. Lonergan in the helmet (click). From the beginning of the clip Lonergan had he left hand around Quarles' facemask as he drove him to the ground and still had it in his hand when Quarles rolled over on top of Lonergan and threw his right hand at Lonergan's facemask to make Lonergan release his grip. The SEC stated that they have seen the play, but no disciplinary action has been taken and it could be left up to the coaching staff. In Lawing's case he didn't even seem interested in hearing it.

"I haven't seen it," Lawing said. "I go with what I watch on tape and I didn't see it."

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories