The South Carolina soccer team gets a lot of help, especially defensively, from players who just haven’t given much before. The players on the periphery have become reliable starters, the starters have become actors of the difference and there are guys who have been practically written off and are playing quality football.

Four games in the season, there are a handful of Gamecocks (2-2) who have really improved their game over previous years and helped the team win with game-changing games, or at least one game. stable and reliable.

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Looking at the defensive side of the ball, the linebackers Brad johnson and Damani staley play by far the best football of their respective careers. The same can be said of securities Jaylan foster and RJ Roderick with the fourth year cornerback Darius Rush. Defensive tackle Jabari Ellis is more productive than ever.

Offensive side, wide receiver Josh Vann is one of the best players in his role at this early stage of the 2021 season.

There has to be a reason for the game’s rise, especially when it comes to the defensive side of football when so many guys have gotten so much better, so quickly. First year head coach Shane projector says there is experience there now, and credits the fact that players have had a full spring and preseason this year, unlike the 2020 Covid season.

But there’s more to it, he says. The coaches trust the players, the players trust the coaches, and that has allowed the guys on the pitch to play with more confidence.

“Belief on our part as coaches, instilling confidence in these guys and making them realize how talented they are and how good they can be,” Beamer said, assessing why many guys have years of career.

“The guys you’re talking about are off to a great start, and that’s how we want this program to be, that’s a great belief in every player in this program. A great love for them, building them and raising them to what they can be and not to what the past is. The past doesn’t dictate the future and the player you can be. Credit to these guys; they would be the first to tell you that they have a lot to do to keep improving.

Foster leads the Gamecocks in aggregate with 28 tackles, but his four interceptions lead the nation. He’s gone from Gardner-Webb to a walk-on in South Carolina to a sometimes-maligned starter at the end of the 2020 season. Now he’s playing at least at an All-SEC level.

Johnson is the team’s best in loss tackles with 3.5 over the season and also recovered a fumble. Staley is tied for second on the team with 24 tackles and has an interception return for a touchdown that turned the game against ECU for the Gamecocks.

Roderick is fourth on the team with 19 tackles and forced two fumbles with big hits on the ball carriers. Ellis is seventh on the team in tackles with 14, which includes 2.0 tackles for a loss. Rush already has an interception this season and has retained his starting spot at the cornerback, even with the return of Cam Smith.

“These guys are gamers, man. They’ve been hungry since the moment we came here with Coach Beamer, we told them we wanted to play with a chip on our shoulder from day one, ”defensive coordinator Clayton White noted.

“Put a bullet on your shoulder now and we’ll see what happens. We just want to keep playing team defense, team football and see how it goes at the end. It’s a race to improve right now, and we’re on the right track. We must continue, we cannot stop.

Vann has 13 catches so far this season for 298 yards, which gives him an average of 74.5 yards per game and two touchdowns. He’s averaging 22.9 yards per take, which is the SEC’s third.

Former Head Coach Will muschamp was fired for not winning enough matches. The perception for many was that the level of talent was low, but many veteran players, especially in defense, show that they are capable of playing high-caliber football.


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