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 COUNTDOWN TO KICK-OFF "2019" GAMECOCK FOOTBALL

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Cack

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  1. From what was being talked about when he left, he was going to become a truck driver.
  2. Of course everybody has their thoughts on the game, so I'm no different. I was finally able to sit down and watch it and here's what I took from it. Bentley - he's going to be our starter, he's pretty dang good, but he's going to make mistakes. On the play that Sterling batted down at the line, the back came to the bottom of the screen and the 3 WRs went out to block for a screen. Jake turned to the top of the field to the WR doing a curl, double clutched, and then hit Sterling in the numbers. Maybe it's designed as a fake screen, but it just looked very bad. Hilinski - goes through progressions very well and extremely quickly. Quick release. Basically the same stuff everybody else he saying. There were a few plays that when pressure got there he didn't panic, but he also didn't react. Joyner - you could tell he wanted to show off his arm and all of the work he's put into passing. Early on when a pass would break down you could physically see him almost say "damn it, I wanted to throw." The pass to Pollard that nearly went for a TD was absolutely beautiful. The issue I'm seeing with him is, he's not seeing the underneath defenders. Cook batted one down (which would have been thrown into a very tight spot) and then intercepted one when he did nothing but spy. The other "near interceptions" were on the receivers so I'm not putting that on him. He made some great passes but drops just absolutely killed him. Harris - is going to be really good at carrying the rock. Carroll - if we're honest with ourselves. He should be the starter. Sterling - looks healthy and made some great plays. Pickens - is HUGE. Cook - he is going to be an absolute beast. Boykin - made some great plays down on the goalline. Last season other teams knocked a ton of passes down and Kinlaw was about the only one to do it for us. There were hands constantly in the air knocking balls down or getting in the way. I also liked that the defense did blitz some. Usually the QBs just sit back and sling it, but we brought pressure to see how they'd react. Of course the backup QB debate was the leading story, so I'll just say one thing about that, whether it's Joyner or Hilinski, I think we have the best stable of QBs we've ever had and I would trust either of them out there. I believe Joyner will get the nod, but you still have 4 games that you can use Hilinski. I know Coach Muschamp doesn't mind using young guys if he's the best, but unless there's something major with the season, I can't see burning the redshirt just to be a backup.
  3. My 2 options are ... he's out the door now and you hand the key to the bank vault to Greg Marshall, OR you give him one more year to see if this young talent can grown, and if not, he's out the door and you hand the key to the bank vault to Greg Marshall.
  4. Let me start off by saying, I love Coach Martin. I love his coaching style. I love his fire. I love his passion. I love that he won't hesitate to get in somebody's ass when it's needed. However, are we seeing the improvements we expect to see, or should be seeing at this point of his tenure at SC? Coach Martin started at South Carolina in 2012 14-18 4-14 T12th 14-20 5-13 13th 17-16 6-12 T11th 25-9 11-7 T3rd (NIT) 26-11 12-6 T3rd (NCAA bid) 17-16 7-11 T11th 16-16 11-7 T4th Overall 129-106 .549 Conf 56-70 .444 Looking at just the numbers I see a few things. The most success the program saw was Sindarius Thornwell's Junior and Senior seasons when he just went off. When he left, the program took a major hit. Of course, Dozier left and I don't think a lot saw that coming, but at the same time he wasn't exactly tearing it up (outside of the NCAA tourney). I also see this program struggling when it comes time for Conference play. Now, are we finding a way over that hump? This season was actually the exact opposite. We struggled mightily out of conference, but then turned it up when conference play began, or did Silva just show out in a couple of games to take us to another level at times? Now, if you want to take a look at the top teams in the conference to see when things took off for them. Rick Barnes took over for Tennessee in 2015 and Bruce Pearl took over at Auburn in 2015. Tennessee since 2012 Auburn since 2012 19-13 11-7 T5th (NIT) 9-23 3-15 14th 24-13 11-7 4th (NCAA bid) 14-16 6-12 12th 16-16 7-11 10th 15-20 4-14 13th (Bruce Pearl's first season) 15-19 6-12 12th (Rick Barnes' first season) 11-20 5-13 13th 16-16 8-10 T9th 18-14 7-11 11th 26-9 13-5 T1st (NCAA bid) 26-8 13-5 T1st (NCAA bid) 29-5 15-3 T2nd (NCAA bid) 26-9 11-7 T4th (NCAA bid) In 4 or fewer seasons, Bruce Pearl and Rick Barnes have taken their programs from the same levels, if not lower, than ours, and have been at the tops of the conference and in the dance in back to back seasons. At what point do we starting asking more from Coach Martin? At what point is one magical run just not good enough? We're playing in the SEC in Basketball. It's not the same as it is in Football or Baseball. At this stage in his tenure, we should not be finishing any lower than middle of the conference, at a bare minimum. Why aren't we further along by now? There were some injuries this season, but we were full strength early in the season when we were dropping games we shouldn't have. Games that kept us out of any post season play. Has Coach Martin just been snake bitten with injuries and/or unforeseen departures that have held us back? Personally, I'm at the point of "put up or shut up." Coach Martin sat in front of the microphone before the SEC Tournament and preached about why we deserve to be in the dance and it would be an absolute rip off and something would be fishy if we didn't make it in. The team responded by going out and just looking ugly in a loss. You can't tell everybody how good you are and how much you deserve to be there, and then have a game like that. Losing Chris Silva is going to be a major blow to this program next season. I think we have some talent in the program with Lawson, Bryant, Haase, Minaya, and Frink. We have some talent in this young guys, but every single one of them have work to do to get better before next season. A lot of consistency issues for every one of them. Lawson is probably the most polished. Bryant by far has the most upside, but needs to find a jump shot to be able to incorporate a head fake to his game. Do we accept .500 records and a post season birth every now and then?
  5. I told y'all he looked like an absolute monster ... well ... over the weekend he hit an absolute monster shot. Wish we could see where it landed. https://twitter.com/GamecockBasebll/status/1104846317027766273
  6. The day I was born my dad left to play in a softball tournament. The weekend I was sent home, I was in the stands. I played all through little league and through school. I've won divisions, conferences, districts, states, and even had a walk off my final at bat at home my senior year. Most of my life has been spent on, around, or watching Baseball. I say that, to say this ... I believe Coach Kingston will force the University to expand the trophy case behind center field at Carolina Stadium (don't you dare try to tell me it's got a new name either) before he retires from Baseball. I remember during the Women's Basketball game against Kentucky a few years ago, sitting in Coach Tanner's suite and turning to Coach and saying, "How could you let Monte Lee go to Clemson?" I was trying to be polite and not call out Coach Holbrook, knowing he was hand selected, but was also trying to pry a little. Of course he didn't give me any juicy details but just said, "It was a chance of a lifetime for him." (or an offer he couldn't turn down. Something like that). Fast forward a few years, I really expected Coach Holbrook to get one more season, I wasn't a big fan of his, but just didn't see getting let go happening just yet (I thought 1 more year). Coach Tanner surprised us all, gave him the boot and made a hire that made most, if not all, Carolina fans scratch their heads. After some research it started to look like this wasn't that bad of a hire. Young guy that's made some stops at some major programs at peak points in those programs past. I'm ok with this experience. I'm a firm believer in "looks". Under Coach Holbrook, we didn't "look" like an SEC caliber Baseball team. We had a lot of undersized guys that, in the new bat era, just couldn't produce enough at the plate. The moment Coach Kingston stepped behind the mic to be introduced as the new head coach I said, "Damn, he looks like a ball player." Some people are athletes and can play anything you put them on the field for. Some people just "look" like they were born to be Baseball players/coaches, and Coach Kingston is the exact definition. You put a ball cap on him, and it's like it was invented to be on someone's head like his. Now, you look at the guys we have in our lineup. We have guys that "look" like ball players again. Even our smaller guys, have size to them. Not including pitchers, we have 5 guys on the entire roster that are under 6 foot, and 2 of those are 5'11". If I didn't just look it up, I would have never guess Ian Jenkins was sub 6 foot after seeing him last night. Dude looks like a middle linebacker as we speak. We finally "look" like a damn Baseball team again. It's still early on in his tenure at South Carolina, but you can start to see the type of team(s) he's going to put on the field. He's going to have guys on the mound that are going to pound the strike zone. He's recruiting top tier guys that can not just do that, but are going to have some really good pitches and velocity. Coach Meade I've really been impressed with as well. That's one that I hope we can hold on to. There's going to be games that pounding the strike zone is going to give up hits and runs, and that's why he's building this Offense. Them bringing the bats back a bit is perfect timing for all of this to come together too. Coach Kingston teaching controlled aggression at the plate. We're not seeing guys going up swinging for the fences the first and every pitch of the ball game anymore. We have guys that are waiting on good pitches, no matter when they come in the at bat, and jumping on them with clean and powerful swings. We're not going to get cheated on a lot of our hacks at the plate. Before last season everyone asked, "What's your expectations for this season?" My response was simple, I wanted to see good Baseball again. You don't have to win every game, but if you're playing good Baseball you're giving yourself a chance to win. I believe I heard that we finished the season with the highest fielding percentage in a couple of decades? If true, that's saying something since a number of Coach Tanner's teams lead the SEC and even the country in fielding percentage. I was as happy as everybody to reach the post season, and then to make a Super was just icing on the cake. For me, year 1 was a success and then some. Before this season the same question came up. I felt a post season birth and making a little noise would be a great bar to reach for, but last year when we lost, we just got throttled. When we played bad, we played BAD. Record and outcome, I would be ok if they were similar if we could be more consistent in the "off" games. I still post season and see what happens is a realistic expectation for the season. We've looked great so far, but if we're going to continue winning through the SEC the starting pitching and Sawyer Bridges (if he's going to remain the closer) is going to have to get better. Way too many walks that have come back to haunt us. Just a glance at the schedule and not knowing what exactly everyone is going to have this season, it looks like most of our toughest opponents are at home, which will help tremendously. We start with Georgia at home and also have Auburn, aTm, Vandy, and Kentucky. On the road we have Tenn, Bama, Florida, Mizzou, and Miss St. Florida and Miss St on the road is going to be tough, but the others, I wouldn't trade out for a home series. We have 43 games left on the schedule with 10 mid week games (including tonight against Gardner-Webb), and we're sitting at 10 wins already. If we at worst split the midweek games (looking at them I don't see that happen, but still) that puts us at 15 wins, and if we go .500 in conference (I don't see that happening either) that would be another 15 wins which one put us at 30 (which is where you need to be for people to believe your ball team is pretty good). That's also not including the Valpo series this weekend that we should take the series or any post season games. We won 32 during the regular season last year, and then 5 more in the post season for a total of 37. This team is every bit capable of matching and then some to that record if they continue playing the way they are. I'm still not raising the bar to 40 wins and an Omaha visit ... BUT ... I would not be surprised if they really flirted with those goals. When we all turn gray(er) and look back at things, I think we'll look at the Coach Kingston hire as being one of the best things Coach Tanner did for this University, it's sports programs, and the fans.
  7. Saturday's game is what non-Baseball fans hate when you say "that's Baseball." It was a case of every single bounce going in Clemson's favor. I've never seen someone picked off twice at first and the ump called him safe both times. I rode his ass for the rest of the inning. Got a good glare from him after I screamed SAFE when a guy got back to the bag standing up. Then I got a laugh when they hit the ball way out of play and I screamed FOUL! I'm ok if you miss a close play, but neither of those were close. Cullen came up on the first one and basically pushed Coach Kingston out of the dugout to challenge it. Of course, 2 pitches later ... 2 run bomb. We also missed our opportunities at the plate. Basesloaded with no outs and only got 1 run. The 3rd basemen could have actually gone home on that play and we wouldn't have gotten anything. We need to tidy up in areas. A lot of that will come once guys start getting used to their positions and rolls. If the bats stay hot like they've been, this could be a fun season.
  8. It sucks that the weather is what it is for this weekend. These are two really good Baseball teams and they're not going to get the opportunity to really show what they're capable of. I'd be surprised if tonight or Sunday is played. Tomorrow's game in Greenville looks like decent weather so far.
  9. I haven't watched the taters any this season, but until proven otherwise, Monte Lee is a helluva coach and has them playing really good Baseball. I believe Coach King is going to get us back to the level that we were spoiled with under Coach Tanner, but we're still young. Baseball is a numbers game, and looking at the numbers early on ... it looks like Clemson's pitching may be sub-par or just not awake yet this season. There's been some games that they've left a number of runners on and that they've had a number of errors. If we can get those games from Clemson, I really like our chances. I have watched numerous games of ours so far this season, and I'm really liking the team that we're running out on the field right now. We're still fairly young, but damn we have some young guys that absolutely crush the ball. Our starting pitching has calmed down since opening weekend. Morgan is straight dealing on the mound early on. I'm a bit concerned with Sawyer coming in late in games right now. He seems to be just off on some pitches that are finding bats. We've also gotten "that hit" when we've needed it so far this season. Clutch hitting has been one of the main things that's been costing us games. We've handed them the series the past few seasons, but we're very young this season so it's hard to go in expecting to take the series. It's Baseball though, so go out, make the routine plays, don't hurt yourself, and get that hit here and there.
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