By Wes Mitchell
November 19, 2010
The South Carolina Gamecocks may be SEC Eastern Division Champs for the first time in school history, but now is no time to be acting like they've arrived and can afford to overlook non-conference opponents.
Saturday afternoon Troy brings its fast-paced, no-huddle offense, which includes the nation's No. 13 passing attack, to Williams-Brice Stadium.
The Gamecocks can't afford to not be ready, according to assistant head coach in charge of the defense Ellis Johnson.
"They're very good, very good," Johnson said. "They put 38 on Oklahoma State, the No. 10 team in the country; they've had one game they've scored under 30 points the whole year. It's speed, that's the name of the game."
While the Trojans have a future NFL pick in wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, quarterback Corey Robinson distrubutes the ball around in a fairly balanced offense. Jernigan leads the offense with 58 catches while Tebiarus Gill and Jason Bruce have 30+ catches a piece. Running backs DuJuan Harris, Shawn Southward and Chris Anderson, and Jernigan have each rushed for 250+ yards on the season.
"They execute some elements a lot better than some of the teams we've faced that had better athletes," Johnson said.
The Gamecocks already have experience against a similar attack earlier this season. In the opener, Southern Miss brought an offense with nearly identical concepts to Williams-Brice and the Gamecocks held it to 13 points.
Johnson says that's a feat that may be difficult to reproduce.
"The spread with four-wides out there and going to the five-wides, and even when they've got two backs in there, they've got three-wides. [They're] spreading the field in order to try to get you spread out, to run the football. If you don�t spread out with them, they throw the quick passes extremely well.�
The Gamecocks will have to find a way to defend all elements to slow down the Trojans Saturday.