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Practice report - Taylor most productive
Posted Sep 4, 2012
In last week's 17-13 victory in the season opener, the defensive line enjoyed another dominant performance against Vanderbilt. Kelcy Quarles seemingly had the best game, but after watching film it was Devin Taylor who was the most productive lineman.
Kelcy Quarles garnered a lot of attention after Thursday’s game against Vanderbilt after tying for a team-high eight tackles. After reviewing the film defensive line coach Brad Lawing has some advice for the Vanderbilt spotters.
“The stat sheet you see after the game, I don’t know who does that, but Kelcy had two tackles and one assist,” Lawing said Tuesday following practice. “Don’t believe all that stuff.”
As it turns out Devin Taylor was the one that deserved the most attention. After reviewing game film each week Lawing grades out his players in terms of production. It was Taylor that was most productive, not Quarles.
“Devin Taylor was most productive. Devin was six (tackles) and one (assist) with a tackle for loss and didn’t get credit on hardly any of them. Devin played better than anybody, then probably Clowney, then probably Kelcy.”
To those that follow the South Carolina team, mistaking Taylor for Quarles is unfathomable. Taylor is a 6’8, 267-pound freak of a defensive end while Quarles is a 6’4, 286-pound defensive tackle. However, to opposing spotters whose only job is to find numbers of the player making the tackle, Taylor’s 98 and Quarles’ 99 can be easily confused.
Though Quarles did not have the game everyone thought he had, he was still productive. The second-team Freshman All-American from a year ago helped clog up the middle and was able to get to quarterback Jordan Rodgers for a sack.
“Kelcy has the ability to make plays for us,” Lawing said. “He made some plays, got his first career sack which is a big thing for him.”
Byron Jerideau, who started alongside Quarles Thursday night, did not have a great game statistically with only one assisted tackle, did his job clogging up the middle and forcing the Vanderbilt running backs to bounce outside.
“Jerideau did a good job holding up in there,” Lawing said. “Jerideau has to learn to keep inside contain; whenever the quarterback broke he was breaking up inside. We have to do a better job with that and we addressed that this week.”
While many FBS teams were beating up on smaller schools in the opening week (see Oklahoma State’s 84-0 beating of Savannah St.) South Carolina was facing off against a formidable opponent in Vanderbilt, so much so that it was the most-watched Thursday opener on ESPN since 1994. Vandy had experience on the offensive line with a graduate student, redshirt senior and redshirt junior among the five starters.
“Any time you can play against better plays it makes you better,” Lawing said. “Vanderbilt had a lot of redshirt juniors and redshirt seniors.”
It doesn’t get much easier for the Gamecocks this week. One of the things the defensive line did well against Vanderbilt was getting to Rodgers. Carolina registered five sacks, four by four different linemen, and rushed Rodgers all night. That likely won’t happen against East Carolina. The Pirates did not give up a sack in Saturday’s win over Appalachin State and did not give up a sack last season against a Carolina defense that finished the year with 31 sacks.
“East Carolina will be a challenge for us; they didn’t give up a sack last week,” Lawing said. “We have our work cut out for us. Just like last year they like to catch and get rid of it.”
The mark of any good team is its improvement from week to week. While it will be nearly impossible for the Carolina defensive line to top its sack total from last week against ECU, they will be looking to improve in other areas. An improvement in run defense and getting their hands up to knock down the short passes ECU likes to throw is among them.
“We have a good group; they work hard and had a good practice today,” Lawing said. “If you work hard and improve during the season you have a chance of being a better team.”
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