In the wake of Tyrone Nix’s odd departure for Ole Miss, South Carolina needed to fill a void at defensive coordinator.
They got their man in Brian VanGorder.
While early whispers had the Gamecocks targeting longtime Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster, the hiring of VanGorder seems like the right move.
The Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, said VanGorder was the clear choice after interviewing four other unnamed candidates.
South Carolina got off to a great start defensively this year—highlighted by a dominating performance against the Georgia Bulldogs’ high-powered offense...in Athens no less.
As the season went on, however, injuries and youth seemed to take their toll—and the defense all but fell apart, surrendering gaudy numbers to opponents like Arkansas and Florida down the stretch.
Ironically, VanGorder’s last gig in the SEC was at Georgia, where his units were regularly ranked in the top 10 nationally for scoring defense. VanGorder also won the 2003 Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant.
This will be VanGorder's fifth move in as many years, but he's excited about the opportunity the Gamecocks have presented him. As it stands, the coach has a three-year contract, 10 starters returning from last year’s defense, and a head coach who should be able to keep the defense off the field—which was a big problem for this year’s team.
In VanGorder, South Carolina gets a proven commodity with SEC and NFL experience. While the Gamecocks took a big step backward this year, the VanGorder hire should help solidify their defensive unit.
Spurrier, meanwhile, will finally get to see his offensive recruits play bigger roles in 2008.