Gamecocks shaking up secondary


Ellis Johnson, South Carolina's assistant head coach for the defense, didn't hide his disappointment Saturday about all the Gamecocks' busts and missed opportunities to make tackles in their 45-42 win at Georgia.

He's obviously not waiting around to see if it improves this week against Navy, which runs the always difficult to defend triple-option and leads the country in rushing offense with an average of 400.5 yards per game.

The Gamecocks, in an effort to get more physical and get better tacklers on the field, have moved DeVonte Holloman back to strong safety from the hybrid spur position and D.J. Swearinger from strong safety to free safety. The odd man out is sophomore Jimmy Legree, who had a tough outing last week against Georgia.

Holloman, who's pushing 230 pounds, started 10 games at strong safety last season, but Johnson was hoping to be able to play Holloman at spur this season. Holloman was suspended for the opener against East Carolina and backed up Antonio Allen at spur in the Georgia game.

South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, who also oversees the cornerbacks, said getting Holloman into the starting lineup ensures getting the Gamecocks' best 11 tacklers on the field, which is a must when you're going against the Midshipmen's option.

It's going to be a wait-and-see deal as to whether Holloman stays at safety. Allen has good tackle numbers through his first two games, but South Carolina's defensive coaches would still like to see him play with more consistency at spur.

Senior cornerback Akeem Auguste isn't expected to play against Navy after re-injuring his left foot against Georgia. The Gamecocks hope to have him back for Vanderbilt on Sept. 24.

One of Johnson's biggest concerns coming into the season was depth at safety, and he said back in the preseason that the Gamecocks may have to play Holloman there even though he's closer to a linebacker in size.