USC: Ward makes two major changes

USC: Ward makes two major changes

COLUMBIA, SC ( South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is still trying to find the right personnel combination to have success on defense.

Senior defensive back Brison Williams There are two major changes this week on his side of the football as he tries to combat a Florida offense that has found its quarterback and power running game identity. Ward's solution is to get his best athletes on the field.

Sophomore Skai Moore, who missed the Tennessee game two weeks ago with an ankle sprain, has been shifted to middle linebacker. Sophomore Jonathan Walton, who started at weakside linebacker in Moore's place, will hold onto that position.

Moore is the fourth different starter at the MIKE position this year with Marcquis Roberts, Kaiwan Lewis and T.J. Holloman previously starting games this year.

"(Moore) is going to start at MIKE linebacker," Ward said. "You're playing against a team that very athletic and you want to get your most athletic guys on the field."

He's not the only change though as senior Brison Williams will move back to safety against the Gators (5-3, 4-3), a team that needs a win to have a shot at taking the SEC East.

"They do a lot of shifting with the tight end and stuff," Ward said. "Get guys lined up. Brison has played well for us at corner but I think he's played better in his career at safety when you get him tighter to the box."

Williams, according to Ward, will start alongside either Chaz Elder or T.J. Gurley.

"You want leadership and you want guys who are going to communicate and talk," Ward said. "We get a lot more communication and talking when Brison is playing safety."

Williams started the Vanderbilt game at safety this year and also played a large chunk of the fourth quarter at the position against Tennessee. He has 25 career starts at safety and eight at cornerback.

With Williams moving to the safety position, there will be a new starter at cornerback. Sophomore Rico McWilliams and freshman Chris Lammons will team up for the first time this season at the position. This will be the sixth start of McWilliams' career and the fourth for Lammons.

"They all need to make more plays," Ward said. "Chris has done well. Rico had the chance to make some plays against Tennessee. He batted the ball down rather than intercept it, but he's played well."

NOTES: Defensive end Cedrick Cooper is still out of practice. Ward said that he is still in a walking boot. "That ankle must have been really, really bad," Ward said. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network with Dave Neal and Andre Ware in the booth and Laura Rutledge on the sidelines. The Gamecocks will practice briefly on Friday before flying to Gainesville, Fla.

Copyright 2014 and WIS. All rights reserved.