Intensity of Death Valley Not a Fear for Gamecocks
*Written by student assistant Kim Barrett
After practice Tuesday, defensive players and coaches talked with the media about the upset victory over Georgia, and how they are going to use that momentum as they head to Death Valley to take on LSU.
Players realize the nighttime atmosphere in Baton Rouge is intense, but are excited and prepared to play the 9th-ranked LSU Tigers. When asked his feelings on playing in Death Valley, senior defensive end Devin Taylor shared, “This is going to be my first time playing in Death Valley so I’m excited to experience it. We play with crowd noise, and go to other places with crowd noise so that shouldn’t affect us at all.”
Defensive Line Coach Brad Lawing was quick to defend his players’ abilities while playing with the noise in Death Valley. Lawing stated, “It’s loud. When you play in the SEC you play in loud venues every week.”
After an emotional victory over Georgia, the media asked the players how tough it would be regroup and play the same tough defense against LSU. Devin Taylor responded, “We take it one week at a time. We take whatever we learned off of last week and use it this week, and just keep focused throughout the season.”
Older players on the team realize the emotions of an upset victory can have an effect on the next game and aren’t ready to let that happen this week.
Senior Spur DeVonte Holloman discussed how two years ago after the Gamecocks had a huge upset win over Alabama, they went on the road and lost at Kentucky. Holloman shared with the media, “With everyone that is here that was there for that, it is something that has been talked about, and we are not going to let it happen again.”
Much of the media focus on the Gamecocks has been dedicated to the team’s defense. Coach Grady Brown discussed how with a combination of a good defensive system and great players, the team hasn’t made any critical mistakes this season. Coach Brown stated, “We have not made critical mistakes that cause touchdowns. We make mistakes, but have cut down on the critical ones.”
In order to keep his players in check, and not let the attention the team has earned affect the way they play, Coach Lawing plays the role of “bad cop.” Lawing shared with the media, “I learned a long time ago that’s the way you have to train defensive linemen. You have to be tough and hard on them, and the good ones appreciate it.”
Sophomore defensive end Jadaveon Clowney has earned a significant amount of attention for the big plays he has made and appreciates the advice his coaches have given him. Clowney said that Coach Lawing’s style helps the team from not getting “hard-headed.”
When asked about the advice that Coach Spurrier specifically gave him in order to stay grounded, Clowney shared, “He told me that all these guys are going to come in and try to blow you up into this big shot, but don’t let it get to your head.”
Watch full videos featuring players’ and coaches’ interviews here and make sure to check back to GamecocksOnline.com tonight for more interviews after Wednesday’s practice.