South Carolina comes to Lexington as the fifth-best pass rushing team in the nation. The Gamecocks’ defensive line has gotten home 15 times in their first four games, an outstanding number to begin the season with. That’s almost four sacks a game, letting you know the Gamecock defense is relentless in their efforts to get to the opposing quarterback. But it gets more impressive. USC has only blitzed two times this season, in achieving that sack total. TWO. Basically, the old ball coach knows he can get to the quarterback in either a three or four-man front and is calling defenses accordingly. USC’s beat writer, Darryl Slater, recently talked to USC’s defensive line coach, Brad Lawing about the lack of blitzes, and here’s what he had to say:
Because USC’s front four has been so good this season — with Sutton and Fordham playing in the rabbits package — the Gamecocks haven’t had to blitz often.
“Let me define blitz,” Lawing said. “We’ve only blitzed twice this year. A blitz is an overload. We blitzed once against Vanderbilt and I think we did once against UAB. When you bring five people, that’s a pressure. Six is a pressure. Sometimes seven is a pressure. A blitz is a true overload. We’ve only blitzed twice.”
As a football nerd, I found this to be a truly outstanding feat. Even with losing such a dynamic pass rusher like Melvin Ingram, USC’s pass rush has not missed a beat. What’s more impressive is they aren’t really blitzing linebackers during all of this, they are dropping them. Passing rushing is the most taxing thing to do all game, and for these guys to do with no added pressure is extremely impressive. For Kentucky to be successful on Saturday, the offensive line has to play maybe its best game of the season.