Just when I was getting ready to write a blog post about how South Carolina hadn't lost any assistant coaches for the first time in eight years, word came out on Sunday that defensive line coach Brad Lawing is leaving Steve Spurrier's staff to be the defensive line coach for D.J. Durkin's defense at Florida. (By the way, D.J. Durkin played a wedding I was at last weekend, and it was awesome.)
The move comes off as especially strange considering that Lawing had carved out a role as something of a Gamecock lifer, having a pair of lengthy tenures at South Carolina from 1989 to 1998 and again from 2006 to 2012 and that he had an opportunity to coach Jadeveon Clowney during a potentially unprecedented Heisman Trophy campaign in 2013.
Obviously, any time that a high status assistant departs this close to signing day, it can create a certain amount of anxiety amongst a fan base, but I would be truly surprised if Lawing's defection from the coaching staff resulted in any decommitments at this point. As respected as Lawing had become as a defensive line coach, it seems pretty clear that the two main selling points on this defense right now are the opportunity to play for Lorenzo Ward and the opportunity to play alongside Jadeveon Clowney.
It would be almost silly to speculate as to who Lawing's replacement might be at this point other than to say that the new defensive line coach could already be on the staff. Linebacker coach Kirk Botkin was an All-SEC defensive end at Arkansas and special teams coach Joe Robinson was a defensive line coach at North Carolina in 2011. This isn't to say that either of these two will necessarily fill the vacancy, but their breadth of experience does allow for some flexibility.