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Gamecocks tweaking defense for Iowa, Greene

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson knows a little something about drawing up a plan to defend good running backs.

Some of the guys he's faced in the last two years include Darren McFadden, Peyton Hillis, Knowshon Moreno, Charles Scott, C.J. Spiller, James Davis, Steve Slaton, Percy Harvin and Kevin Smith.

Sounds like a who's who of running backs.

The next guy on the list is Iowa's Shonn Greene, who won this year's Doak Walker Award as the top running back in college football.

Johnson said Thursday the Gamecocks were tweaking their scheme for the Outback Bowl and would go with a traditional 4-3 alignment. They used a 4-2-5 scheme most of this season, although the extra defensive back was more like a smaller linebacker.

The guy playing that position, junior Darian Stewart, will shift back to safety to take Emanuel Cook's spot. Cook, one of South Carolina's top tacklers, is ineligible for the bowl game

Senior Marvin Sapp will step in at one of the outside linebacker spots along with Eric Norwood. Jasper Brinkley will play in the middle.

"We're just going to play three linebackers, a 4-3 scheme, and go on with it," Johnson said. "That will probably be good for Iowa because they're so big and strong."

The 5-foot-11, 235-pound Greene rushed for 1,729 yards this season and averaged 6.2 yards per carry. He rushed for 100 or more yards in every game.

Only two players rushed for 100 yards against the Gamecocks this season. One of those was Harvin, and he had an 80-yard run for a touchdown. The other was North Carolina State's Andre Brown, who had 101 yards in the opener.

A year ago, as the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State, Johnson came up with a plan that held Davis, the nation's leading rusher, to 70 yards below his average in the Bulldogs' Liberty Bowl win over Central Florida.