July 28, 2014
By Brad Muller | More Features
Former Gamecock Shaq Wilson wasn't the biggest or the fastest linebacker to play at South Carolina, but he always knew how to get to the football. Now he's passing on that knowledge as the quality control coordinator for South Carolina's defense where he'll spend a great deal of time watching game film.
"I'm looking for tendencies with the quarterback, running backs, o-line and receivers," Wilson said. "Sometimes you can tell by their stances or the way they come out of the huddle. These are things you don't see in the statistics. You know when they're at a certain point on the field that they like to do one thing or if they come out in certain formation, they like to do another type of thing. There is a lot that goes into it, but it's a lot of fun."
After leading the team in tackles as a senior in 2012 and then serving as a graduate assistant last year, Wilson's full-time role will assist the defensive and special teams' coaches by studying a lot of game film throughout the year, charting breakdowns, scouting and personnel management. Wilson can't be on the field on game day, but defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is excited to have him help out in game planning for the next opponent.
"He'll also work with the linebackers in the classroom," Ward said. "Shaq's a smart guy, and he knows our system. As a player he was always disciplined and took care of his assignments. He proved that he could play in this league, and I think the players have a lot of respect for him."
Wilson says his interest in coaching started while in high school and carried over to his playing days with the Gamecocks. He also claims that the shift from being a player on the field to a coach off the field hasn't been too difficult.
"The coaching staff made it an easy transition because they treated me like a coach right away," Wilson said. "My high school coach got me very interested in studying film, so it's something I've always liked. So when I came to college, it was an easy transition to do it as a player here."
Ward never had a doubt that Wilson would fit right in with the staff.
"Shaq was always a student of the game," Ward said. "It's a natural fit for him to be a coach. He wants to be good, and he's always looking for things to do. When you get a guy who comes to you looking for more work, then you know you have a guy who wants to be a good coach."
Wilson's experience of playing in the SEC will help him to talk to current student-athletes about watching film and how to balance football and life off the field at the same time. When not doing anything football related, Wilson simply enjoys being with his family, including his five year old daughter.
His best memories as a player include winning the SEC East in 2010, 11-win seasons, and beating Clemson. Now he's ready to create some new memories with his new career.
"I think coaching is something I want to do for the rest of my life," Wilson said. "It's just another way to make a positive impact and have fun while I'm doing it."
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