Brad Edwards: Defensive Analysis

Former Gamecock and NFL great Brad Edwards analyzes the USC defense for GamecockAnthem members in his weekly column. Nothing can compare to the analysis of one who has played the game, and Brad has played the game at the highest levels, first at USC, followed by a sterling nine year career in the NFL. This week Brad analyzes the Gamecocks' defensive performance in their loss to Florida.

Saturday's game against Florida was a lot of things, but pretty wasn't one of them. When you line up against one of the best teams in the country (maybe The best), you sure better bring your 'A' game and hope it's mistake free. As we all know, that wasn't the case Saturday in Gainesville as the Florida Gators were given just too many opportunities, and they made the most of them.

Certainly the defense was put in too many bad situations early in the game, and when you give a superb team like Florida momentum and couple it with excellent field position, the only result is going to be points, and a lot of them. The cycle then turns into players trying too hard to make plays, which in turn causes them to get out of position and results in additional opportunities for the opposition.

As the game neared the middle of the second quarter, Florida found themselves in the enviable position of having their entire play book at their disposal. They could take significant chances that they might otherwise not have the liberty of doing so. Clearly the Gamecocks committed a number of busted assignments and were bruised time and time again in the running game, particularly with the cutback run, which caused them, to no surprise, to fall prey to the dreaded play-action-pass as a result.

Overall, the Gamecock defense yielded a total of 519 yards with 346 of them coming in the running game. Surely had the USC offense put pressure on Florida, this game would have been different, but this Florida team was destined to score 30 point regardless of the offensive effort. Sometimes though, you've got to win a 30 point game against an exceptionally fast team that executes. USC obviously was out of that game plan from the get go.

The bright spots were that the USC defense played with a lot of heart and a great deal of intensity for most of the first half, and they forced 6 punts by Florida. Other than those few items, it is real hard to find a silver lining in this defeat.

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