Norwood Pleased With Freshman Season

South Carolina defensive end Eric Norwood has had an outstanding freshman season with the Gamecocks. The 6'2, 260 pound Norwood has totaled 29 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and a team leading 7 sacks on the year, and he was recently rewarded for his play by being named to the Sporting News' First Team Freshman All-American squad. spoke with Norwood after a recent bowl workout, and he shared his thoughts on his freshman campaign.

Question: You always seem to play with emotion and a confident swagger out there. How would you describe the way you play?

Answer: It's intensity. It's intensity and playing with emotion. I just play hard, and I try to get my teammates to follow.

Question: Have you been surprised by how well you've played as a true freshman this season?

Answer: To a certain extent. When I came in, I thought I was going to do good, but as far as playing as many snaps as I did, I think I was like third of fourth on the D-line in snaps with 300 or more.

Question: What kind of expectations did you have for yourself this year, and have you surpassed those expectations?

Answer: I'm close to being on line with my expectations. At the beginning of the year, I set my goal for eight sacks. I'm one away right now, so once I fill that (I'll have met my goal.)

Question: You certainly make the most of the snaps you are given. What kind of urgency do you have in the snaps that you play?

Answer: Just to go do my best.

Question: Would you describe yourself as a pass rush specialist this year?

Answer: Yeah, right now, but in the offseason I plan on getting better and working on my run game.

Question: What's your secret to being a good pass rusher?

Answer: The key to a pass rush is just film and watching the little things the guys do like footwork and stuff like that.

Question: Was generating a pass rush something that Coach Nix and the defensive coaches really stressed in the pre-season?

Answer: They always want us to play to stop the run and pass, but getting to the quarterback was a good thing.

Question: Are you enjoying the college football experience?

Answer: I love it. I love every part of it. Sometimes practices get to you, but you just come back the next day and go hard.

Question: Are you expecting to earn more playing time in the bowl game?

Answer: I really play a lot. People tend to think I'm a situational guy, but I'm in there a lot. It's just when I make the plays, it always seems to be on third downs.

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