Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Gamecocks prepare for Worley
By Edward Aschoff
South Carolina met a nice surprise following its bye week.
Monday, Tennessee announced that true freshman quarterback Justin Worley will make his first start for the Vols against South Carolina Saturday.
Facing a defense like South Carolina's probably won't be the most comforting experience for the freshman and what will make things even more difficult is that one player in particular will be looking to make Worley's day that much more difficult.
See, Worley is from Rock Hill, S.C, and was the Gatorade National Player of the Year his senior year of high school after throwing for 5,315 yards and a state-record 64 touchdowns, while also rushing for six touchdowns. He also attended the rival high school of South Carolina freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Worley went to Northwestern High, while Clowney attended South Pointe High. Worley and Northwestern beat South Pointe 42-20 last year and went on to win the state championship.
South Carolina defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Lorenzo Ward said Monday that he's been in Clowney's ear about losing to Worley last year and the success that Tennessee's quarterback had before getting to Knoxville.
“The young man is obviously a good football player,” Ward said. “He was the PARADE Player of the Year at Northwestern and won a state championship. I told Clowney that he beat him, so we’re going to take it a little personal. We’ve got to go play and play to get better as the Gamecocks. Tennessee is going to give us their best shot. It boils down to how we play.”
Making plays against this South Carolina defense will be a tall order for Worley. The Gamecocks are giving up a league-low 134 passing yards a game and have 14 interceptions. South Carolina has already forced 24 turnovers this season.
South Carolina also expects to get another body back in the defensive backfield, as cornerback Victor Hampton should be ready to go this weekend after bruising his leg against Mississippi State.
“We think he’ll probably get some reps tomorrow in practice and be full speed on Wednesday," Ward said. "He did a good job running today.”