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Blog Entries posted by FeatheredCock

  1. FeatheredCock
    An early look at 2019 Gamecock Football Schedule plus where the program stands as of 2018 and beyond under Coach Muschamp
    December 30, 2018, Gamecockfanatics Corner by Henry Fusco
    An early look at South Carolina’s tough 2019 football schedule
    The Gamecocks’ 2018 season is now in the books With a disappointing 28-0 loss vs Virginia in the Belk Bowl, (shut out for the first time in bowl history)has been ten years since the Gamecocks the last shutout. Gamecocks finish the season 7-6. Now let's look ahead to 2019, a season in which South Carolina will play Alabama, Georgia, and Clemson, all of whom could be ranked in the top five at the time of the game. It would mark the toughest season on paper since South Carolina played No. 1 Florida, No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Ole Miss in the 2009 season. Here’s a look at each game of next year’s regular season:
    North Carolina, Aug. 31, Charlotte, N.C.
    The Tar Heels will be coming off a 2-9 season but should be energized by the re-hiring of head coach Mack Brown, at least for one game. The Gamecocks are 3-1 all-time in Bank of America Stadium with only loss to Virginia in the Belk Bowl. Gamecocks will be playing their second straight game in the home of the Carolina Panthers coming off the disappointing loss in Dec. 29 Belk Bowl.  Early Prediction Win
    Charleston Southern, Sept. 7, Columbia
    The Buccaneers finished 5-6 this season. This is a paycheck game for them and a win for South Carolina.  Early Prediction Win
    Alabama, Sept. 14, Columbia
    South Carolina is the last SEC East team to beat the Crimson Tide. That victory came on Oct. 9, 2010 in Williams-Brice Stadium. Alabama was the defending national champion and on a 19-game winning streak entering that game. The Tide is expected to be the defending national champion and on a 19-game winning streak coming into this game. Early Prediction Loss
    Missouri, Sept. 21, Columbia, Mo.
    The Tigers probably will start Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant at quarterback. Bryant threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-10 Clemson win over South Carolina in 2017. That will make what has become one of the Gamecocks’ weirdest rivalries interesting for another year. Early Prediction Loss
    Kentucky, Sept. 28, Columbia
    Five. That’s how many consecutive games the Wildcats have now won over the Gamecocks. South Carolina has beaten Tennessee and Florida three times each in that same time span. It’s an unfamiliar world in which the Gamecocks are above the Volunteers and Gators in the SEC East but being dominated by Kentucky. The good news is tailback Benny Snell will be gone (and the Wildcats just lost a commitment from a four-star running back). Early Prediction Win
    Georgia, Oct. 12, Athens, Ga.
    This rivalry seems like it’s going to be very little fun for South Carolina or anybody else in the SEC East for a while. The Bulldogs are on a 13-game winning streak against the rest of the division and figure to be stronger in 2019 than they were in 2018. Early Prediction Loss
    Florida, Oct. 19, Columbia
    The Gators probably will have found a quarterback that Dan Mullen likes by this point, and it probably will be Emory Jones. Mullen has proven dangerous when he has the right quarterback in place, but the Gamecocks have won three of their last four against Florida in Williams-Brice Stadium. Early Prediction Loss 
    Tennessee, Oct. 26, Knoxville, Tenn.
    The Gamecocks have beaten the Volunteers three straight times for just the second time in school history. Another win would establish a record winning streak against Tennessee and keep South Carolina a step ahead in the competition to challenge Georgia in the division. Early Prediction Loss
    Vanderbilt, Nov. 2, Columbia
    The Gamecocks are on a 10-game winning streak in this series. The Commodores are expected to again be the Commodores in what will be the latest-in-the-season meeting ever between these teams. Early Prediction Win
    Appalachian State, Nov. 9, Columbia
    It’s possible, if only slightly so, that this will mark a reunion with former USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott. Elliott is now the head coach at Georgia State and his alma mater is looking for a new head coach. There’s no evidence that Elliott wants the job or would get it if he did, but his name will be mentioned. Early Prediction Win
    Texas A&M, Nov. 16, College Station, Texas
    The Aggies are 5-0 all-time against South Carolina, and this game won’t be any easier. Quarterback Kellen Mond, a junior next year, will be in his second straight season with Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, and Kyle Field is an intimidating environment. Early Prediction Loss
    Clemson, Nov. 30, Columbia
    South Carolina is making progress against its in-state rival, but the hard facts are that the Tigers have won five in a row, the most recent by 21 points in a game during which the Gamecocks offense could not have played much better. Will Muschamp eventually will have to turn this rivalry around, but it probably will not come in this game. Early Prediction Loss
    What to expect

    This slate probably makes a 9-3 season the best case scenario for South Carolina, which would have to turn around its fortunes against both Texas A&M and Kentucky and beat Florida and Tennessee again just to make that happen. At this time I can not see that scenario working out. Worst case 5-7 most plausible 7-5. Would need wins on the road against Mizzu, Texas A&M or Tennesse would be the best cases for this to play out. Florida will be a home game vs Florida. But you will be looking at another top 10 teams to face off again.
    My outlook will be a Georgia and Florida runs for the east title. With a much improved Tennessee team and Mizzu battling for 3rd and 4th place, While South Carolina, Kentucky & Vanderbilt jocking to stay out of the cellar.
    1 Florida
    2 Georgia
    3 Tennessee
    4 Mizzu 
    5 South Carolina
    6 Kentucky
    7 Vanderbilt
    My outlook for 2019 wins & loses 
    2019 Schedule
    UNC- W
    Charleston Southern- W
    Alabama -L
    Mizz- L
    UGA- L
    Florida -L
    Tenn- L
    Vandy- W
    App St- W 
    Texas A&M-L
    5-7 could happen easily, optimistically with improvements along the lines OL and DL plus Linebacker and a much-needed running game to help out with QB play will make the difference from a 5-7 to a possible 9 win campaign. Good chance this year Gamecocks beat Kentucky because of all the losses on offense and defense should be enough to break that losing streak. But the others for the most part no. Only other the Gamecocks can break another losing streak would be Texas A&M. But we will all have a better feel when spring practice arrives and get to see where the Gamecocks improved on. This is really just a very early glimpse for 2019 season. 
    Will Muschamp's first 3 years were better than Steve Spurrier's, but can he keep it going?
    Will Muschamp is comfortably in his second stint piloting a program that Steve Spurrier once led to some of the best seasons in program history.
    On the surface, it might seem that Muschamp is struggling to keep up with Spurrier’s accomplishments, both in recruiting and on-the-field results, overall and against the likes of rivals like Clemson. Spurrier’s South Carolina tenure is perhaps most known for the three consecutive 11-2 seasons, the 2010 SEC East title and a 5-0 stretch of double-digit wins against Dabo Swinney and Clemson. Not to mention four consecutive bowl victories. But all of that success started well into Spurrier’s stay in Columbia.
    So, how to Muschamp compare to Spurrier’s first three years coaching the Gamecocks?
    For starters, Muschamp recently received a contract extension, and his top assistants received raises.
    With the Belk Bowl against Virginia on tap in Charlotte on Dec. 29, Muschamp is 22-16 and is the first Gamecocks coach to make a bowl game in each of his first three seasons.
    You remember Spurrier with a slew of program-defining stars, like in-state recruits Stephon Gilmore, Alshon Jeffery, Jadeveon Clowney, D.J. Swearinger, Marcus Lattimore, A.J. Cann, DeVonte Holloman and Bruce Ellington. Or even out-of-state recruits-turned stars like Melvin Ingram, Connor Shaw, Ace Sanders, Mike Davis and Pharoh Cooper.
    But for Spurrier, the groundwork was laid by the likes of Jared Cook, Kenny McKinley and Ryan Succop, who were some of the notable recruits in Spurrier’s first class in 2005. That first team under Spurrier made a name for itself with a 5-game winning streak midway through the season, all in conference play, punctuated with a win against No. 12 Florida, coached by Urban Meyer.
    Similarly, but not quite to the same level, Muschamp’s first season featured wins over Tennessee and Missouri with new QB Jake Bentley. Bentley was part of a first recruiting class with other notable prospects like WR Bryan Edwards and RB Rico Dowdle, DE D.J. Wonnum and LB Javon Kinlaw. Each has made big plays already in their still blossoming careers.
    Muschamp delivered a better second season than Spurrier in 2006, though the Head Ball Coach beat Clemson, the Gamecocks finished 8-5, with three SEC wins, and a win over Houston in the Liberty Bowl. Muschamp in 2017 finished 9-4 and 5-3 in the SEC, including a win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl. But aside from the ongoing issues with Kentucky, South Carolina again lost to Georgia and Clemson, a hill that will likely define Muschamp’s tenure in Columbia.
    The topsy-turvy Spurrier tenure included QB Blake Mitchell being suspended after he was arrested for punching a bouncer in a Five Points bar, but he became one out of three quarterbacks in Gamecocks history to beat Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and Clemson in his career. Spurrier also brought in the others: Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw. Bentley still has plenty of work cut out for him in those areas.
    In Spurrier’s third season, there was a glimpse of a troubled ending. The Gamecocks started 6-1 but lost five straight down the stretch and missed a bowl game. Muschamp, meanwhile, landed a 5-star defensive end and a quarterback for the future as the crown jewels of a solid recruiting class. The Gamecocks drew national attention with their performance at Clemson, though it didn’t deliver a victory, it showed optimism for the coming years.
    Here is a breakdown of how Spurrier and Muschamp compare in their first three seasons:

    Spurrier: 21-16 (1-1 in bowls)
    Muschamp: 22-16 (1-1 with Belk Bowl pending)
    Recruiting rankings (247Sports Composite)

    Spurrier: 18th overall, 6th in SEC (2005), 33rd overall, 9th in SEC (2006), 7th overall, 4th in SEC (2007).
    Muschamp: 25th overall, 10th in SEC (2016), 21st overall, 8th in SEC (2017), 18th overall, 7th in SEC (2018).

    The one difference Muschamp must contend with is the consistent recent dominance of Clemson being in the top 5 nationally, something Spurrier never had to contend with, partially to his credit. Muschamp has yet to come within striking distance of beating Georgia, while Spurrier beat Mark Richt in his third season, in Athens, no less.
    There have only been four times since Spurrier took over that South Carolina beat Clemson and Georgia in the same season. Even before Spurrier’s retirement season when he registered 2 wins, he averaged 7.2 wins in his non-11-2 seasons. Interestingly, Muschamp is averaging 7.3 wins per season, with the Belk Bowl pending.
    Sure, Muschamp could pull off the rare double dip of beating Clemson and Georgia in the same season, likely on the strength of big games from Zacch Pickens and Ryan Hilinski. But the more likely scenario is a string of seasons with win totals in the 7 to 10-win range.
    Spurrier set the highest bar any coach in program history has. Muschamp cleared it through 3 years, but the challenge is about to rise.
  2. FeatheredCock
    Where do South Carolina coaches stack up salary-wise with other football programs
    December 05, 2018
    With the release of USA Today’s database of college football assistant coaches, the magic number for South Carolina seems to be 15.
    The Gamecocks rank 15th nationally on the list in staff pay and have the coach listed as the 15th-highest paid in the country.
    Gamecocks offensive coordinator Travaris Robinson leads the way for USC with a $1.2 million salary. He’s one of 21 assistants to cross the $1 million threshold. He’s listed at No. 15, although that’s tied with the coaches at No. 13 and 14.
    USC’s assistant total is $5,050,000, which is just behind Oklahoma and ahead of Ole Miss. South Carolina is seventh in the SEC in staff salary behind, Texas A&M, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. The top three are Ohio State, Clemson and Texas A&M.
    That’s a bump of about a million dollars in total assistant salaries and moves USC up from 10th in the conference.
    Gamecocks offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon is in a tie for 64th in the country at $650,000, and offensive line coach Eric Wolford is tied for 85th at $600,000
    Let's take a look below:
    .ms-elegant-main { border: 2.25pt double black; background-color: white; } .ms-elegant-tl { font-family: small-caps; font-weight: normal; color: black; border-left-style: none; border-right: .75pt solid black; border-top-style: none; border-bottom: .75pt solid black; background-color: white; } .ms-elegant-left { font-weight: normal; color: black; border-left-style: none; border-right: .75pt solid black; border-top-style: none; border-bottom: .75pt solid black; background-color: white; } .ms-elegant-top { font-family: small-caps; font-weight: normal; color: black; border-left-style: none; border-right: .75pt solid black; border-top-style: none; border-bottom: .75pt solid black; background-color: white; } .ms-elegant-even { font-weight: normal; color: black; border-left-style: none; border-right: .75pt solid black; border-top-style: none; border-bottom: .75pt solid black; background-color: white; } .auto-style1 { border-style: solid; border-width: 1px; } Coach
    T-13th Travaris Robinson (Def. coord.)
    T-64th Bryan McClendon (Off. coord.)
    T-85th Eric Wolford (O-line)
    T-134th Lance Thompson (D-line)
    Dan Werner (QBs)
    T-158th Coleman Hutzler (LBs/ST)
    T-218th Bobby Bentley (RBs)
    T-352nd Mike Peterson (LBs)
    T-352nd Pat Washington (TEs)
    T-754th Kyle Krantz
  3. FeatheredCock
    Did the Gamecocks take a step forward or one step back after the very disappointing loss to Florida?
    By Henry Fusco
    November 12, 2018
    Gamecock will go bowling should be 6-4 going into the Clemson game. But really Clemson game will be the last chance for the Gamecocks have to but a positive spin on the season by beating Clemson. Which in itself will be like David and Goliath. David did take down Goliath. Gamecocks will need help just like David did. The Gamecocks will need help in ways like turnovers by the Tigers, off night by Clemson's mighty defense and there very potent offense. Gamecocks defense will have to show up, something they have not shown the past three years. Bently must play lights out, the running game will have to play a crucial part in time procession and the receivers catching in the clutch. Will take a perfect game by the Gamecocks and that still might not be enough. Clemson is that good. I figure Gamecocks will be double-digit underdogs. It could be a very ugly game. I could see Clemson beating Gamecocks by 27 plus. The game is at Death Vallery and they are playing for a natty. In closing a 7-5 season really is a step back. and with the 2019 slate looking even tougher with Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia looming for the 2019 season. All three are contenders to win the natty this year and next season as well. That means Gamecocks 2019 season could be more of the same maybe even worse win-wise.
    I still feel strongly good about Coach Muschamp and is staff. Top to bottom the staff is solid X and O plus they can recruit with the best. With Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia getting the cream of the crop of players makes it much harder for Muschamp and staff to be more successful. Other words they need help and sadly it is up to the staff to get the players to compete with the teams on the Gamecock schedule. Gamecocks need to beat one or two of the top teams on their schedule, somehow the staff has to be able to get the players to play at a higher level to have a chance for a breakout game. Just one win over any of the three  Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia would boost the program help in turning the table in recruiting. Gamecocks have to win more battles with top recruits, give them a reason to come here compete for SEC division titles, SEC championship titles and to play in the playoffs, goals that can be reachable. But will take hard work from all. Need to lay the foundation need to be the A&M'S, Kentucky and keep on beating Tennessee and not losing ground to Florida. 
    This season fans will have to settle for 7-5 and a low bowl along with a recruiting class closing out around 17 to 19 in the rankings. Not bad just not good enough to get where the fans can see championship play on the field of play. Good news talent is on the way in the 2019 class and will help in that direction, even better is the red-hot start they have for the 2020 class. Gamecocks are in on a lot of talented player for 2020. They have a chance to get a few 5-star players which are much needed. Yes, we are coming out of the tunnel and the Gamecocks will see daylight. It will just take time to get a solid base of talent that will compete with the top teams on the Gamecocks schedule year in year out.
  4. FeatheredCock
    The feeling is back In Gamecock Football
    Nov. 08, 2016
    Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
    When South Carolina’s football program finally turned the corner somewhere around 2009 or 2010, you could feel it. It was hard to put your finger on exactly, but it was there. You could sense it in the team, the fans, the feeling you got in the pit of your stomach on Saturdays – something had changed. It was as if Spurrier’s first few years of being a middling 6 or 7-win SEC team had been ripped away like a band aid, and suddenly, everything was fresh and new. What a glorious feeling it was.
    We, as a fan base, got to ride that wave of change to the best stretch of football in the history of our program over the next three seasons. We always found ways to win. We thrived in big games. We owned our neighbors to the north. There was a quiet confidence that permeated our fan base which had never been seen before. Simply put: it had finally happened. We had arrived. Things were good and they were going to keep being good.
    Until, of course, they weren’t.
    Like Icarus, who, filled with hubris, flew too close to the sun and paid the price, South Carolina’s football program basked in the red-hot glow of success for too long instead of doing everything it could to stay there. Slowly, over the next two years, we watched in horror as our worst fears were realized from week to painful week. The program became complacent, and as a result, imploded from the ground up; everything that was built seemingly destroyed. That palpable feeling that had lived in the air for Gamecock fans over the last few years suddenly vanished and all that was left was the ashes of a once-promising program now sentenced to what felt like eternal mediocrity. Losses mounted, changes had to be made and in December of last year, after a month-long search, the Gamecocks hired Will Muschamp.
    Much like the South Carolina football program, Muschamp had seen the face of the sun. At one time the hottest name in coaching, Muschamp had seen it all come crashing down at Florida and was left to pick up the pieces. Detractors hated the hire, while our rivals and the national media laughed at it and labeled the Carolina coaching search an epic failure. And yet, for most Gamecock fans, there was something familiar about Muschamp. He was blue-collar. He was gritty. He was determined to come back stronger despite having fallen from the top. From the get-go you could see it: he was one of us.
    And so we got behind him. We pulled for him. We cheered for him and his staff as they made huge strides in recruiting despite having a bare cupboard to sell. Optimism rose. Things began to look up. Something was stirring in the ashes. Then the season began.
    Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
    Not everything was bad – our defense had improved dramatically, players were more disciplined and we did win a couple games. But still, old worries began to rear their ugly heads. The offense struggled, as we knew it likely would, but even worse than expected. Losses to Mississippi State, Kentucky and a beatable Georgia team stung, as we all began to strap in for what looked like a long and strenuous road back to relevancy.
    Doubts crept into the psyche of our fan base as our record sank to 2-4. Muschamp’s baggage came to the forefront of our minds. The optimism and hopeful glimmer that had highlighted the offseason was suddenly in jeopardy of being swallowed up by the dark cloud that had plagued our program since 2014. No one expected much, but we were struggling and you couldn’t help but wonder, would we ever, truly, find our way out of this? Had the best that Gamecock football had to offer already come and gone?
    The 2016 season was at a crossroads. As a team, fan base and program, we needed a spark.
    Instead, we got a perfect storm.

    Rico Dowdle has been key to a Carolina program that has gained momentum headed into the latter part of 2016 - and beyond. Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
    It’s hard to put into words how massive the last three weeks have been for South Carolina football. More has gone the Gamecocks way in the past 21 days than in the previous three years combined. The rapid, and still-building, groundswell of momentum is staggering: We got two SEC wins, including one over the most talented team in our division. We got a quarterback the likes of which we’ve never seen before. We got a tailback who brings back memories of You-Know-Who. We got a healthy Deebo coming into his own. We got a defense that defies the odds over and over again. We got a team on the edge of bowl eligibility.
    And to top it off, we got all of it at the same time.
    Suddenly, the cloud that hovered over Columbia for the last three years has been drowned out by an influx of young talent so bright, you can’t help but look ahead; young talent we haven’t seen since the last time we were about to turn a corner.
    From the ashes of what once was, we’ve begun to see a glimpse of what will be. We’re light-years from where we want to go, but also light-years from where we were and, by all accounts, where we should be at this point in the post-Spurrier era. The rebuild isn’t over, but it’s been accelerated. People are talking about the Gamecocks again and they should be.
    The last time we were turning the corner you could feel it. This time is no different.
    South Carolina has finally found its way out of the college football wilderness. The feeling is back and it’s rolling in like a flood.
    Get on board, everybody. The Gamecocks are coming.
  5. FeatheredCock
    What USC needs in its new head football coach
    Oct. 20, 2015
    Meg Whitman would make a great college football coach.
    She’s the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and the former boss at eBay, and she’s good enough at her job that her net worth begins with the letter “b.”
    Carly Fiorina might work, too. She’s the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and she’s sure to be through the state soon as she campaigns for president, so she can interview then. Since she’s unlikely to win the presidency, she’ll need a job. Even better.
    Which idea seems more shocking to you: That a woman might be hired to coach an SEC football team? Or that someone with zero background in football would get the job?
    Neither matters that much, frankly.
    South Carolina needs a new football coach because Steve Spurrier stepped down Monday. If schematic knowledge of football was the most important factor in head football coaching these days, the Gamecocks wouldn’t be 2-4 and Spurrier wouldn’t be unemployed.
    Spurrier lived in the Xs and the Os. If you have to fight your way out of a dark alley using nothing but schemes sketched out in the dirt, Spurrier is your guy every day of the week. When he was scoring tons of touchdowns and stepping on tons of toes in the 1990s, that was enough.
    It’s not enough anymore. On the “must haves” list for major college football coach in 2015, knowledge of “ball plays” is about fifth. Out-scheming the other guy is where Spurrier got his thrill. Out-recruiting him never seemed as much fun, but the game is about out-recruiting now. A head coach in the SEC has to be able to attract talent and hire the right assistants, and if he (or she) can do that well enough, they don’t have to know an X from an O.
    In fact, if a head coach did the job right Sunday through Friday, he (or she) wouldn’t really need to show up on Saturdays. They could stay home, get some chores done.
    Show me a great salesman with great organization-building and consensus-building skills, and I’ll show you a great football coach. Show me a CEO, in other words.
    Which brings the discussion back to South Carolina’s vacancy. Gamecocks athletics director Ray Tanner has a job to fill, and he’s known since the day he took his job that his legacy, and maybe his job itself, rests on who he picks to fill it.
    It’s got to look like a daunting task from his chair. Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley is considered one of the wise old veterans of SEC leadership. He’s batting about .500 on coaching hires. Foley hired Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer. He also hired Ron Zook and Will Muschamp.
    Hiring a new head coach is at its core a roll of the dice. There are no easy answers.
    Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is the “hot young assistant” of the moment in this part of the country, but the “hot young assistant” has never been a sure thing. Smart might be Mark Richt, but he might be Brad Scott, too.
    Tanner is aware of the needs of the modern coach. He was talking about it Tuesday just moments after Spurrier stepped down.
    “It’s not like it was 20 years ago,” he said. “It is important to engage, whether it be the media or your fan base. A head coach at a major university has to be multi-talented and multi-faceted. It’s a position that is different than it ever was before. Winning games is not enough. Winning games is important, but it’s also important that you are a part of the community. It’s not a hat that fits for everyone.”
    But it is a hat that can fit anyone if they can hold their own on the recruiting trail.
    (I hear all of you screaming Joe Moglia’s name, but he’s not a perfect analogy of the point because he had an extensive football background before joining the business world, and at 66 years old, he’s probably too far outside the age range in which the Gamecocks will operate for this hire.)
    “Young, energetic coach, maybe a coach who has not been a head coach, maybe a guy who is anxious to make his mark,” Spurrier suggested Wednesday. “Shawn (Elliott), he’s got a shot at it.”
    As he should. As should anyone who can recruit good football players and hire good football coaches. It doesn’t have to be an offensive coach. Or a defensive coach. It doesn’t have to be a “this” or a “that.”
    It doesn’t have to be just the next man on the list. It has to be the right man. (Or woman.)
    Job: Head football coach, University of South Carolina
    Salary range: $2 million - $4 million
    Age range: Not specified, but must have plenty of youthful energy and vigor.
    Experience: Head coaching experience preferred, but not required; coordinator position at another high-profile school or pro team would be considered
    Skills required:
    1. Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting. Must rebuild talent base.
    2. Wear lots of hats like any good CEO: Unite fan base; good public relations with alumni, faculty, community and media.
    3. Be able to hire and supervise a strong staff of assistant coaches.
    4. Winner.
    5. Know your Xs and Os.
    Deadline to apply: ASAP
  6. FeatheredCock
    What's the biggest reason for Steve Spurrier's decline at South Carolina?
    In 1995, Steve Spurrier was in the midst of a record-tying stretch in which his Florida teams would win four straight SEC titles. That season, Florida played Georgia in the Peach State for the first time since 1932. Spurrier celebrated the opportunity by hanging"half a hundred" on the Dawgs. The Gators scored 52 points, to be precise.
    Twenty years later, Spurrier was back in Athens. Same guy, same white visor, white golf shirt and khakis, different team, different result. This time, it was his South Carolina team allowing 52 points.
    Spurrier's career has often been defined by his games against Georgia. He won the Heisman for Florida in 1966, but his Gators' unbeaten season was ruined by a loss to the Dawgs. Georgia then overlooked him when it made the decision to replace Vince Dooley with Ray Goff, despite the fact that Spurrier was winning at Duke. Spurrier punished the Dawgs for their decision, beating Georgia 11 out of 12 times, with nine of the wins by double digits.
    While Spurrier has not had the same success since moving to South Carolina, he also moved to a school without Florida's assets. His 5-5 record against Georgia since moving to Columbia is quite an achievement, especially when one considers Georgia was 42-13-2 against the Gamecocks before Spurrier arrived.
    The apex for Spurrier at South Carolina was the 2012 game against Georgia. South Carolina entered at No. 6, Georgia entered at No. 5, and the Gamecocks put together an impeccable performance to thrash Georgia, 35-7. That was the Bulldogs' only loss of the regular season.
    So what has changed in three short years that South Carolina would go from crushing an excellent team by 28 to losing by 32? How does a team fall so far so fast? And what is the implication for the future of a 70-year-old coach?
    1. Is it recruiting?
    Fixing a program that lacks talent is a long-term undertaking. However, if we compare the recruiting profiles of the 2012 team that thrashed Georgia and the 2015 team that got clobbered on Saturday night, the number of blue chip players on the two-deeps is a wash.

    Unit Five-stars Four-stars Three-stars Two-stars Unrated2015 offense 0 6 9 1 42012 offense 0 7 12 2 12015 defense 0 10 14 0 02012 defense 1 6 12 2 1
    Unless one attributes magical effect to Jadaveon Clowney, the 2015 defense ought to be at least equivalent. And while the 2012 offense had a better recruiting profile, the gap is not so significant that South Carolina should not break 100 yards passing despite trailing all game long, even with an injured quarterback.
    It's possible South Carolina was just lucky that three-star players like Shaq Wilson,Devin Taylor and D.J. Swearinger turned out to be above-average SEC players. It's also possible that Spurrier and his staff scouted better when they signed older classes. It's possible recruiting did play a role, but there's got to be more to it.
    2. Is it quarterback play?
    South Carolina's quarterback in 2012 was Connor Shaw, a three-star recruit whose teams produced a record of 33-6 in his three seasons as a starter. The Gamecocks' starter this season was supposed to be Connor Mitch, a four-star recruit. Mitch is now hurt and his replacement, Perry Orth, is one of four unrated players on South Carolina's depth chart. Orth was plainly overmatched against Georgia and yielded to true freshman Lorenzo Nunez, another four-star recruit.
    Spurrier's team is experiencing a post-Shaw dip reminiscent of his struggles to replace Danny Wuerffel at Florida. Wuerffel was a lightly recruited prospect, but by the time he left, he had a Heisman Trophy and a national title. Florida's offense regressed, as Doug Johnson and Jesse Palmer failed to play up to the same level. It was only when Rex Grossman took the job in 2000 that Florida's offense returned to the stratosphere.
    So despite Spurrier's reputation, there is a precedent for droughts at quarterback.
    3. Is it defensive coaching?
    At Florida, Spurrier could cushion the fall after replacing Wuerffel with a talented defense coordinated by Bob Stoops. He's failing to do something similar at South Carolina. A defense full of four-star recruits allowed Greyson Lambert (who transferred to Georgia after losing the starting job at Virginia) to set an NCAA record for completion percentage one week after Lambert was briefly benched and went an entire half against Vandy without completing a pass.
    Whether South Carolina's defensive woes are the result of scheme, player development or both, Spurrier has to diagnose the problem and find a solution.
    The good news for South Carolina is there is a viable path forward. If Nunez can be the modern-day Grossman and Spurrier can find the right coaches on the defensive side of the ball (maybe not Stoops, but something in that direction), then there's no reason why this dip needs to be permanent. Some assume Spurrier cannot save himself because he's 70, but there is at least one recent example of a coach in his 70s engineering a major turnaround.
    The danger for South Carolina is that Spurrier's age and possible retirement have become toxic in recruiting, which motivated Spurrier to a bizarre press conference performance this summer. Even if Spurrier can solve the problems at quarterback and on defense, he is digging a hole that will affect depth in the next couple years and the starting lineup a year or two after that. In other words, he doesn't have the margin for error that he did at Florida.
  7. FeatheredCock
    Muschamp had to make a move at offensive coordinator
    Dec 06, 2017
    You have to wonder if Kurt Roper would still be South Carolina's offensive coordinator had star receiver Deebo Samuel not broken his leg in the third game of the season.
    If starting running back Rico Dowdle had been healthy. And if starting offensive linemen Cory Helms and Zack Bailey had not missed part of the season with injuries.
    Those are the type of questions Roper must be asking himself after being relieved of his duties Wednesday.
    Outback Bowl a 'great reward' for improving Gamecocks
    Roper is a good guy and a high-character coach, but the Gamecock offense has struggled for two seasons now under his direction. And, really, he and head coach Will Muschamp had not had much success offensively in their last three years together, which is part of what led to their departures at Florida in 2014.
    Muschamp had to make this move. He is in the middle of a major rebuilding project at South Carolina and took a big step forward this season with an 8-4 record. He has convinced many fans that he was the right man to succeed Steve Spurrier and that he has the program heading in the right direction.
    But a big setback this season was the performance of the offense, which was expected to be the strength of the team but underachieved, averaging just 24 points per game and ranking 108th nationally in total offense.
    While the defense, a major question mark entering the season, made significant progress, the offense did not. The defense was instrumental in several big wins for the Gamecocks. But the offense sputtered in losses to Kentucky, Texas A&M, Georgia and Clemson. And it needed a miracle, last-minute comeback to get by Louisiana Tech.
    Michigan's Jim Harbaugh has high praise for Muschamp
    Things like red-zone efficiency and third-down conversions were problems all season. The running game didn't get going until the second half of the season, and even then, it was inconsistent. And highly regarded quarterback Jake Bentley did not play as well as expected in his first full season as the starter.
    The struggles led to a disgruntled fan base, which questioned the play-calling most of the season and grew discouraged watching the offense sputter week after week.
    Muschamp had to make this move to not only provide some new direction and hopefully a spark to the struggling offense, but to show the fan base he is willing to make whatever moves are necessary to keep the program moving forward.
    "We need to be more productive offensively, there is no doubt about that," he said Sunday. "And I think that is the first thing [Roper] would tell you as well."
    In Roper's defense, all of this might not have happened had it not been for injuries.
    The offense seemed poised for a breakout season with Bentley at quarterback and a host of playmakers at the skill positions. And it showed that in the first two games of the season.
    South Carolina beat a quality NC State team 35-28 in the season opener behind its explosive offense. Samuel provided a huge spark by returning the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and then caught two touchdown passes, including a spectacular grab for the game-winner.
    A week later, the Gamecocks won at Missouri 31-13 as Samuel scored two more TDs, including another kickoff return.
    The offensive momentum continued in Game 3 when Bentley and Samuel hooked up for a 68-yard touchdown on the first play of the game.
    That's when the offensive woes began. The Gamecocks missed scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity against Kentucky, including three missed field goals and getting stopped on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Then, in the fourth quarter, Samuel went down and the problems mounted.
    Without its top playmaker — and one of the best players in the country — the Gamecocks struggled to beat La. Tech 17-16 and lost a road game to Texas A&M after leading in the fourth quarter.
    A week later, South Carolina produced its most points of the season in a 48-22 win over Arkansas, but the defense was responsible for half of that by scoring three touchdowns off turnovers.
    The offense was stagnant again the following week in a 15-9 win at Tennessee. It put up good numbers in wins over Vanderbilt and Florida — thanks partly to Bentley's new-found running ability — but the struggles continued in losses to Georgia and Clemson. Had the offense been able to move the ball consistently and make a few plays, it might have left Athens with a win over No. 1 Georgia. It was completely overwhelmed by Clemson, the avalanche beginning with Bentley's early pick-6.
    With the offense producing just 10 points and 207 yards of total of offense, South Carolina suffered a blowout loss to its archival for the second straight season. That was the final straw, forcing Muschamp to make a move.
    Without Samuel, the Gamecocks were never able to get into a rhythm and find any consistency. Bentley was inconsistent, the running game was inconsistent and the offensive line was inconsistent.
    Other injuries hurt as well. Dowdle was never healthy and missed half the season with a broken leg — the same injury Samuel suffered — and the offensive line was in a constant state of flux due to injuries. The struggles on the offensive line forced their second-best offensive player — tight end Hayden Hurst — to have to spend too much time blocking.
    The absence of Samuel's explosiveness put too much pressure on the running game and Bentley could never develop good chemistry with a host of young receivers, forcing him to rely too much on Hurst and sophomore Bryan Edwards.
    It was not all the fault of Roper, who was a successful offensive coordinator in six seasons at Duke before joining Muschamp at Florida and following him to Columbia. Injuries were a big factor, as was an anemic kicking game.
    But Muschamp had to make this move. South Carolina could not go into the Outback Bowl against one of the best defensive teams in the country in Michigan without a better offensive game plan and better execution and production on that side of the ball.
    And it could not go into next season with big question marks on offense. With Bentley and Samuel returning, plus a host of other offensive starters, it must build an explosive offense with the ability to put up big points in every game. Like it was supposed to do this season.
    Without that, Muschamp runs the risk of the program he is rebuilding taking a big step backward.
  8. FeatheredCock
    38-3 Clemson vs Miami Wow sounds a lot like Gamecocks lose
    December 03, 2017
    Well as you can see blaming everything on one coach like OC Roper fault for the offensive problem is not the only reason the Gamecocks keep losing to the Tigers. Goes deeper. Talent and Clemson has it they are on top of the world. How did they get there? Simple keeping the staff together and getting the talent the 4 and 5 stars. Yes stars do matter. prof is in the pudding Just look at the Schools who will be playing for the Natty. All have the talent to make it.
    You cannot make a salad with chicken shit. Instead of attacking the coaches all the time help giving your all to get the talent here like the tater fans do. Until then it will be a swinging door on asst. and head coaches. So the reasons the Gamecocks could not move the ball is the same problem Miami among others who have faced off against Clemson.
    Enjoy the Bowl season cause the Gamecocks are going bowling!!
  9. FeatheredCock
    Hard work on the recruiting trail paying dividends for Gamecocks
    Sept. 12, 2016
    South Carolina did not have the on-field result it was hoping for over the weekend, but the Gamecocks continued to build momentum in recruiting, landing the top player in the state in wide receiver OrTre Smith.
    The Wando star chose USC over Clemson, North Carolina and Georgia and marked the fifth-straight four-star commitment for South Carolina.
    The Gamecocks landed Smith thanks to a relentless pursuit from Will Muschamp and his staff, despite Smith’s mom being a former student-athlete at Clemson.
    The Tigers’ interest in Smith wavered at times with Clemson making a hard push late, while Muschamp and USC recruited Smith constantly after arriving in Columbia.
    “Things fell in place the right way for them,” Woody Wommack, a Southeast recruiting analyst for Rivals, said. “It doesn’t really matter what the factors are as long as you end up winning it, and South Carolina gets the win on this one and that’s all that matters... That’s a credit to the South Carolina staff for identifying him and really making him a priority as soon as they got there.”
    USC’s commitment to working hard on the recruiting trail is a big reason why the Gamecocks are beating programs that are currently in the top 25 and expected to compete for conference and national titles this season.
    Since Aug. 1 South Carolina has landed commitments from five of the top 250 players in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, which consists of rankings from all of the major recruiting services.
    South Carolina’s recruiting class is ranked 11th in the nation, ahead of ranked SEC teams such as Tennessee, Florida, Texas A&M and Ole Miss.
    “Bringing a new vibe and hunger spills over to recruits. They really like to see that,” Wommack said. “They have some young guys on the staff who have really been able to connect well with the players. Travaris Robinson is a dynamic recruiter. People love him. And a lot of the kids love Muschamp too.”
    In addition to OrTre, South Carolina has the No. 2 player in the state committed in receiver Shi Smith of Union County.
    Landing OrTre and Shi could help the Gamecocks with some of the top players from South Carolina in 2018, including the No. 2 overall player in the country in defensive lineman Xavier Thomas, as well as four-star quarterback Dakereon Joyner, who attended OrTre’s announcement ceremony on Sunday.
    “OrTre has been to national events. He went to the (Rivals Five-Star Challenge) twice. He was at The Opening. His team was playing in the finals at both of those events and he was a big reason why. Guys know him. They know that he can play,” Wommack said. “Some of the young guys like Xavier Thomas, Joyner and some other playmakers really like South Carolina.”
    In total the Gamecocks have eight in-state commits for 2017, as well as five commits from Georgia, five from North Carolina and three from Florida.
    USC has landed the No. 5 player from Georgia in Jamyest Williams and the No. 2 player from North Carolina in Hamsah Nasirildeen in addition to the top two players from South Carolina.
    “When we saw South Carolina having success they were getting the top players in the state and beating out other SEC teams. That’s what they did with (OrTre) Smith,” Wommack said. “When you can get some good in-state guys and more importantly go out-of-state and get some talent, I think that’s the key… It’s not just numbers but there’s a lot of talent there as well.”
  10. FeatheredCock
    It's Time for Steve Spurrier to Retire
    Oct 4, 2015
    The Head Ball Coach is fun to watch and has led South Carolina to unprecedented heights. But he's not what the program needs anymore
    For the last few years, as the South Carolina Gamecocks football team rose to heights that the program hadn't experienced in more than a century of history, there was one
    specter that haunted the dreams of Gamecock fans: When would Steve Spurrier retire?
    After all, no one else has ever been able to do what Spurrier has done in Columbia. And the track record of programs that hire head coaches to replace legends has been mixed at
    best. It seemed inevitable that the end of Spurrier's tenure would be a negative for South Carolina, something that the Gamecocks should try to push as far into the future as possible.
    But as Kentucky won in Columbia for the first time in 16 years -- the first time since South Carolina went 0-11 during Lou Holtz's first season -- it became clear that Steve
    Spurrier leaving his position as head coach of the Gamecocks would not be the worst thing that could happen to the program. It became clear, at least to this me, that it is time
    for Steve Spurrier to retire. If Kentucky starts to consistently beat South Carolina and the Wildcats pass up the Gamecocks in the SEC East, Spurrier's program will be falling
    behind where it once was. Kentucky has now defeated South Carolina in back-to-back years for the first time since 1998-99, when the program went 1-21. South Carolina has come
    too far to return to that level.
    A 24-10 loss to Missouri a team really hurting on offense. Last season a loss and now make it two in a roll that the Gamecocks have loss to Missouri.
    I don't type those words with any joy or even any anger, though there was certainly some of the latter as I watched South Carolina once again fall victim to the kinds of
    mistakes that have led a program that went 42-11 over a four-year span from 2010-13 to slump to 9-8 since the beginning of last season. I have always thought I would be one of
    the last South Carolina fans to abandon Spurrier or even suggest that he should go, because I have such a deep appreciation for what he has done in Columbia and because I like
    his attitude and outlook on college football. I love the fact that he's able to keep football in perspective and have fun both with the game and his comments about it.
    At this point, though, the only way for Spurrier to preserve his legacy and allow someone else to build on what he leaves behind is for him to quietly tell Athletics Director
    Ray Tanner that he will retire at the end of the season. Otherwise, he risks doing the kind of damage to South Carolina's program that Jackie Sherrill did to Mississippi State
    in his last few seasons, or that Bobby Bowden did to Florida State before finally giving way to Jimbo Fisher. And given the lack of a head-coach-in-waiting and the similarities
    between their places in the recruiting world, a messy denouement for Spurrier is more likely to lead to the decade-plus of recovery that Mississippi State faced after Sherrill's
    tenure than the relatively quick bounce-back we've seen in Tallahassee since Bowden's departure.
    Recruiting is one of the major reasons that it is best if Spurrier retires now. Given his infamous two-or-three-years comments and how those remarks have wreaked havoc on the
    Gamecocks' recruiting class in 2015 and are likely to do the same in 2016, there is no longer any way that the Head Ball Coach can undertake the rebuilding process that is
    needed in Columbia. I am not one of those who believes that recruiting is destiny; if it were, then Missouri would not be the two-time defending champions of the SEC East and
    Ron Zook could start working on his remarks for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. But it is vital to the success of any program, and if you can't recruit
    well in the SEC, you're losing ground.
    And losing ground is the thing that worries me the most about 03 SEC record a team that could go winless in the SEC and a another loss to Clemson which program is growing by
    leaps & bounds,just think a total record 3 -9 .
    The only plausible case that could be made for Spurrier staying around is the notion that, despite all appearances to the contrary, the Kentucky loss was a fluke or that
    Spurrier can find some MacGyver-esque way to squeeze seven or eight or even nine wins out of this team. Even if he can do that, though, it seems more like a way for him to exit
    gracefully than a reason for him to stick around. Because this team as it is currently constructed cannot consistently win 10 games, or get to the SEC Championship Game, or
    achieve any of the other goals that have come to define success at South Carolina over the last few years.
    The choice for South Carolina now is between two or three lost recruiting classes for no purpose other than seeing if Spurrier has another magical season in him, or taking a
    risk on hiring a new coach and giving him two or three season to try to rebuild the program. Steve Spurrier will not stick around Columbia for a five-year rebuilding plan, or
    likely even a three-year renovation. A new coach would. Lorenzo Nunez could be a quarterback of the future for a team that has a future; but he will need a team around him, and
    it's increasingly unlikely that Spurrier can recruit the players needed to build that team.
    Who could take over for Spurrier? There are candidates out there. South Carolina alumnus Mark Dantonio will turn 60 before the next football season and has a nice set-up at
    Michigan State -- but despite his health issues, Dantonio might be able to coach another eight or ten years, and as Bear Bryant famously put it, coaches react differently when
    mama calls. Tanner could use the influx of cash from the conference's new media deals and play on Dantonio's sentiment for his alma mater and perhaps make a compelling pitch.
    And there are others, I'm sure; young coordinators or head coaches at mid-major programs that deserve a chance to prove what they can do at an SEC program. Those hires aren't
    sure things, but no hire is a sure thing. And at this point, sticking with Spurrier might be the biggest gamble of all.
    If Spurrier leaves now, the next coach will not have to deal with the kind of issues that Spurrier faced when he came into Columbia. Lou Holtz built a program on the cheap, then
    let it decay over the last few years of his tenure, culminating in an on-field fight with Clemson and players stealing things from the athletics department. Spurrier had to
    institute a nutrition plan at the program because players saw nothing wrong with walking across the street to a fast-food restaurant after practice. Having put in a decade at
    South Carolina, Spurrier has gone a different route than Holtz. He's actually built a modern SEC program. He should leave before he squanders that achievement in an increasingly
    hopeless pursuit of glory.
    Spurrier is still a great coach. But he is no longer the coach that South Carolina needs. The greatest remaining service he can perform for South Carolina is to retire at the
    right time.
    That time is now.

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