October 16, 2006

Mid-Season Report Card: Defense

Analysis and commentary and by Keith Allsep.

Entering the 2006 season there was much uncertainty surrounding the South Carolina defense. Gone were 10 starters from the 2005 season, including All-American safety Ko Simpson and cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who both departed early for the NFL Draft. Through the first half of the season, defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix and staff have done an excellent job with an undersized unit up front, and a depth chart loaded with first-and second-year players.

Carolina's defense ranks near the top of the Southeastern Conference in a number of statistical categories. Perhaps the most surprising of which is that the Gamecock defense is allowing just 14.3 points per game, which is fourth best in the SEC.

One area of major improvement has been opponents' third-down conversions. This season the defense is allowing the opponents to convert on just 32.9 percent of third downs.

Inside this report, we will grade each unit and provide an outlook of what to expect in the second half of the season.

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