Talking linebackers with video Ernest Jones & Rosendo Louis Jr.
August 08, 2019
Rosendo Louis Jr. Media Availability — 8/8/19
Ernest Jones Media Availability — 8/8/19
The Gamecocks linebackers coach said if the season started today, Jones, a second-year player, would be in the starting lineup, with two-year starter T.J. Brunson moving to the weakside spot. The caveat is that last year’s starter, Sherrod Greene, is out with a concussion, but Hutzler said his confidence in Jones was “through the roof.”
“Right now, it’s Ernest Jones and TJ Brunson to start at linebacker,” Hutzler said, “if we had to play game a game tomorrow. Those guys are having a great camp and doing a great job. Ernest has stepped up, man. He’s had a great spring. And I’m excited man.”
Through spring, Jones played in the middle, while Brunson, who started there, was hurt. Will Muschamp said a move to the weakside was at least possible during the offseason.
Hutzler confirmed that would be the arrangement if Jones broke into the lineup. The move mirrors one in 2015 when Skai Moore, then a multi-year starter in the middle, moved to weakside. Moore ended up an All-SEC player twice at the new spot. During the offseason, South Carolina linebacker signee Jahmar Brown said adding weight wasn’t a concern coming from the South Carolina football staff. They had faith in their weight program to bulk up the South Florida prospect who was listed at 195 pounds on National Signing Day. Brown was listed at 205 when South Carolina’s roster first came out, and it turns out the faith was well placed.
“Twenty pounds is pretty incredible,” USC linebacker coach Coleman Hutzler said. “You know, that’s a testament to Kristin (Coggin) and her staff and (Jeff) Dillman.The sky’s the limit with him and he’s gonna be he’s gonna be everything we want.” Coggin runs the nutrition side for the Gamecocks, while Dillman heads up the strength program. The gain puts him in the 215-225 pound range depending on when he was weighed for that 205.
Hutzler said Brown still has to get stronger, but it’s not as if the weight he’s added in all of two months is bad weight. “He’s doesn’t have an ounce of fat on him,” Hutzler said. “I wish I looked like that with my shirt off. But, you know, he’s doing great things.”
At the moment, the staff is working him at two spots, the weakside spot, which is always out on the field and comes with a good amount of coverage responsibilities, and the strongside spot, which sometimes falls to a pass rusher but can also be a hybrid sort of role (it’s also not heavily used).
Brown was a star at Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. He had 56 tackles, four sacks and three defensive touchdowns his final year in high school.
Hutzler also mentioned Brown’s classmate Derek Boykins, a more powerfully built backer who came in during the spring. The coach said Boykins had been a little inconsistent and is at a spot with a lot of depth in T.J. Brunson and Ernest Jones. That could mean more special teams work for the 6-foot-1, 226-pounder.
How much either plays is unclear as USC returns its top five linebackers in terms of tackles. But Brown, at least early in camp, is making a case.
“He’s flashing,” Hutzler said. “He’s doing a good job. He’s playing playing Sam playing Will, Dime, you know, and so we’re training him up at two spots. And he’s a guy, obviously, that athletically did a lot of great things when he came to camp. We’re excited.”