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Found 46 results

  1. POSTED ON MAY 21, 2019 | by THESPURSUPSHOW Schedule Be Damned: Will Muschamp Needs To Find A “Signature Win” In 2019 Anybody else sick and tired of hearing about how tough South Carolina’s 2019 football schedule is? At this point, the difficulty of the schedule this fall has been pounded into our skulls. The schedule consists of four pre-season Top 10 teams, an upstart Texas A&M team, a Kelly Bryant led Mizzou team and a Kentucky team that the Gamecocks haven’t beaten since 2013. Still, the schedule feels like it’s getting a little too much play in my book. To hell with the schedule. It’s hard EVERY year. “Well, this schedule is brutal. I’ll be happy with 6-6.” Stuff like that is very easy to say now and use as a crutch to deflect on what most expect to be a disappointing season. It’s a completely different thing, however, to keep that sentiment in December after the Gamecocks have again gone winless against ranked competition. Every great coach/player/program has had one or two “signature wins” – games that mark the beginning of a run or show signs of progress and promise for the future. Just look back at the Gamecocks last two head coaches and the runs that followed after their signature wins… Lou Holtz Signature Win: 2000 vs. UGA Lou Holtz was hired in 1999 to revitalize a Gamecocks football program that struggled to find winning ways. Holtz’ first year was abysmal, going 0-11 due to a multitude of injuries on both sides of the ball. Not much was expected out of the Gamecocks in 2000. South Carolina beat New Mexico State week one to end a nasty 21 game losing streak. Still, not much was expected for South Carolina, especially against the Bulldogs. UGA rolled into town with Heisman candidate Quincy Carter at quarterback and a plethora of talent all over the field. All the Gamecocks did was pick off Carter five times, en route to a 21-10 win over the Dawgs. The win sparked a run of back to back Outback Bowl wins over Ohio State. Steve Spurrier Signature Win: 2009 vs. Ole Miss While there were many big wins, along with some firsts in Steve Spurrier’s first couple of seasons, the Ole Miss win (along with another major win mentioned below) truly showed true promise of things to come for the Gamecocks football program. South Carolina was in year five of the Spurrier era and many in Gamecock Nation were starting to question whether or not the HBC still had it. Ole Miss rolled into Williams-Brice Stadium ranked 4th in the country, with hotshot Jevan Snead leading the Rebels at quarterback. The Gamecocks defense suffocated Ole Miss and Stephen Garcia led the USC offense to muster just enough points to pull the massive upset at home. The night also signified the birth of sandstorm, a tradition every fan is familiar with to this day. Signature Win: 2010 vs. Alabama The biggest win in South Carolina football history. The stage was set. #1 Alabama rolled into town, winners of 29 straight regular season games. That would end on a Saturday afternoon in Williams-Brice Stadium. Stephen Garcia had one of the best games at QB in USC history and South Carolina’s “goon squad” defense came up with big timely turnovers when they needed it most. This is the game in my opinion that single handedly led to the best run in school history. A SEC East Title, three straight 11 win seasons, three straight bowl wins, the highest ranked finish in school history, etc. Will Muschamp Signature Win: N/A So now, the question remains: can Will Muschamp and company find a way to lead the Gamecocks to a signature win this season? Will it be between the hedges when USC travels to Athens to take on the Dawgs? Do the Gamecocks finally snap the five game losing streak to their hated rivals in the Upstate? Do we see a repeat of 2010 when the Crimson Tide come to town in early September? Or does it come elsewhere? Possibly against a highly talented Texas A&M team in College Station or Dan Mullen’s Gators. Simply put, this schedule can’t be used as a cripple as Will Muschamp heads into year four of his tenure at South Carolina. I’m not saying fire the guy if he wins less than 8 games. But a .500 season beating only the teams you’re “supposed to beat” won’t be good enough. Only time will tell if this team and this team and coaching staff can step up to the challenge come this fall.
  2. Welcome To The Offseason, Where Hope Springs Eternal For The Gamecocks SPURS UP SHOW Practices have concluded, workouts are being attended and spring games have been played. Another spring has come and gone and all eyes are towards the summer. Football fans are left in a daze, watching an endless slew of baseball games while counting down the days until the pigskin will fly through the air again. Despite our passion for the fall and the spirit football season brings, this is a time that shouldn’t be rushed. Nothing beats being part of the Williams-Brice Stadium crowd in September. However, in all honesty, the time between now and kickoff comes in at a close second. There’s simply something special about the offseason. It’s the eternal optimism you feel. The dreams of the season to come and what it could be. Knowing your team is 0-0 and has just as good a chance as everyone else. It’s going on vacation during the summer, seeing another donning your school colors and knowing in just a few months, they’ll become your best friend on a Saturday. It’s riding by the stadium and having visions of 80,000 screaming fans filled to the brim of the upper deck. The offseason is watching re-runs of your favorite games on ESPN and YouTube, reliving moments of seasons past, both good and bad, and wondering what a new year might bring. It’s trying to predict what player is set for a breakout year while hinging on every piece of news you hear over the spring and summer, hoping you don’t hear much at all. It’s trash talk with your rivals. It’s trying to predict preseason rankings and overall records. It’s enjoying the “talking season” of player banter, promises of victories and coaches tales of players giving “championship effort!” in summer workouts. It’s throwing the football with your friends and envisioning your team scoring the go-ahead touchdown late to win it all. It’s uniform threads and finding ways to kill time. It’s feeling like the season is never going to get here, then realizing fall practice is right around the corner. It’s media days and closely breaking down every word the coaches and players have to say. Lastly, it’s great memories with those you love the most. The friendships made that will last a lifetime. It’s thinking about the bond football builds and how the sport brings us together as one. It’s looking ahead to what you’ve built and cherishing the people you’ll never forget. So when you find yourself in the dog days of summer, having a cold beverage and counting down the days until football season finally arrives, take a moment and soak it all in. Hope springs eternal in the offseason. There truly is nothing like it.
  3. LB Rosendo Louis, Can he help USC in 2019? May 14, 2019 Rosendo Louis’ first season as a Gamecock started with promise. Looking forward to his second, a larger question looms. The Gamecocks staff spoke highly of what he’d be able to contribute as a true freshman through last offseason. He played the first two games, then didn’t get off the bench in four of the next five contests. Then he missed the entirety of spring with an injury. Now, the coaching staff and Will Muschamp have a decision to make when he next takes the field. “We think he can do some different things for us as far as playing outside and playing inside,” Muschamp said. “So I think we really need to drill down on a spot for him as we get into fall camp.” The 6-foot-2 South Florida product played last season at 242 pounds and is now listed at 247. He was listed as the No. 2 middle linebacker at the end of August. Louis was a four-star inside linebacker recruit who flipped from Florida State on the early signing day in 2017. Gamecocks linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler called him a tackling machine in high school and when he got on campus. He was eventually forced into action, moved to strongside linebacker as injuries knocked out Bryson Allen-Williams and Daniel Fennell (Allen-Williams was also playing a lot of end). He made 12 total tackles, five in a blowout win against FCS Chattanooga. He missed the bowl game with a lingering shoulder injury, which meant walk-on Spencer Eason Riddle ended up playing 32 snaps in his place. The Gamecocks linebacker corps has continuity this offseason, returning nearly everyone, but is looking for more play-making. They’re led by starters T.J. Brunson and Sherrod Greene and adding freshmen Derek Boykins and Jahmar Brown. But no one has stood out enough to be secure in their position, and if Louis can get right in terms of his health, he might be able to deliver on the promise coaches saw from him before last season. “He had shoulder surgery, so he didn’t go through spring,” Muschamp said. “So he’s got to really make up some time as far as summer is concerned. We need to make sure he’s in physical condition, and then obviously get his shoulder right. We think he’s on track as far as those things are concerned.”
  4. Will Muschamp believes South Carolina’s quarterback room has a bright future May 08, 2019| THE STATE South Carolina football will get one more year with Jake Bentley under center. The sometimes inconsistent signal caller has nevertheless been a steadying hand for the Gamecocks offense, starting all but one game since the middle of his freshman year. Even when a backup won a game in his stead, the staff went back to him with little question. But that is set to come to an end soon. When he’s gone, the current staff loses the only constant presence at quarterback it has had for four seasons. Earlier this week, the team’s succession plan and its future at the position was called one of the best in the country by CBS writer Barton Simmons. And Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp likes what he sees there. “Dakereon (Joyner) from Year 1 to Year 2 really improved,” Muschamp said. “I really liked some of the things he’s bringing to the table for us. Ryan (Hilinski) had a really good spring. And Jay Urich is a guy that athletically is going to do some other things for us. But is a guy we’ve got confidence in in the quarterback room. We feel good about our future there.” Joyner and Hilinski both came to Columbia as four-star prospects. They got the lion’s share of the work in the spring game, while Urich split time at wide receiver. That trio will be joined by Luke Doty, a 6-foot-1, 193 dual-threat passer who led Myrtle Beach to a state title in his first season as starter. Hilinski and Doty are both top-100 recruits and are expected to contend for Bentley’s spot. Bentley has thrown for more than 7,000 yards in his career and sits less than 2,600 yards short of the school record. Assuming he’s healthy, he’ll almost assuredly leave Columbia with the program record for touchdowns. It’s a far cry from where things stood in 2015 when Muschamp and his staff arrived. The staff had to scramble to hold onto Elite 11 QB Brandon McIlwain and added Bentley in the summer after he decided to skip his senior season. Former four-star recruit Connor Mitch transferred after the staff’s first spring, and Michael Scarnecchia was sidelined by a shoulder injury. That meant the Gamecocks started former walk-on Perry Orth, transitioned to McIlwain, who posted a 99.2 rating, and finally had Bentley step in and stabilize things. And with a completely new set of faces after the 2019 season, they’ll aim to continue that. “We’ve changed the room and feel really good about the future at that position at the University of South Carolina,” Muschamp said. “There’s no doubt about it. Feel really comfortable.”
  5. He caught passes from most of South Carolina’s QBs. What he’s seen from them, Joyner May 05, 2019 Bailey Hart has caught passes from just about every quarterback on South Carolina’s football roster. Such is life for a reserve walk-on quarterback-turned receiver. He works with the second team and often the scout team. That means plenty of footballs from the hands of Ryan Hilinski, Dakereon Joyner, Jay Urich, Jake Bentley land in his own. In that, he’s got a front row seat to some of the development of those passers, including third-year Gamecock Dakereon Joyner. “He’s progressed really well,” Hart said. “I think all the guys have. They’ve all taken it really seriously. And I know they’re competing and having a good spirit of competition while all just being good teammates to each other.” The third-year player with two more years of eligibility said this spring saw a mix between that batch of quarterbacks, with Bentley getting more of the work with the first team and the rest of the reps split more evenly. As a receiver, Hart said he felt comfortable with all the QBs and didn’t really prefer one to the other, as all of them showed improvement. Joyner was a prolific high school player, throwing for nearly 10,000 yards and nearly running for 1,000 yards in the final three seasons of his career at Fort Dorchester High. He played in one game last season, running for 24 yards and completing his only pass. South Carolina’s coaches all said Joyner’s play was world’s different than it had been when he got to campus, especially in terms of his passing and in controlling the offense. With his skillset and mobility, questions have long circulated about his potential at another spot, but Joyner said definitively he’s a quarterback through and through. “That’s cool to see,” Hart said. “I know he knows that he can help the team and he’s got great confidence and that’s something that you admire as a teammate.” Hart and Joyner both hail from the Charleston area, separated by a couple years. Hart’s senior season, when he was throwing passes to four-star receiver and future Gamecock OrTre Smith, Joyner was in the process of leading Fort Dorchester to an undefeated season and a state title. “We didn’t know each other well in high school,” Hart said. “But coming from the Lowcountry, we obviously kind of bonded over that in the locker room. We’ve gotten a lot closer this past year.”
  6. South Carolina linebacker Eldridge Thompson granted another year with the Gamecocks by NCAA May 02, 2019 South Carolina senior linebacker Eldridge Thompson has been cleared the NCAA to play in 2019. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Houston native went through spring practice with the Gamecocks not knowing if he would be awarded an additional year of eligibility due to injuries that cost him most of two collegiate seasons. “We felt really good about it going into it,” Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said. “It was basically just going through the step, and I appreciate the NCAA.” Thompson played in only three games last year due to a shoulder injury. He has 15 tackles in 15 career games with South Carolina, but he is expected to contribute this year in a linebacking corps that lacks veteran experience. Thompson can play the SAM linebacker position or even nickel back for the Gamecocks, Muschamp said. “I think he’s a really good football player,” Muschamp said. “He’s a guy we certainly missed last year. He brings a lot of athleticism to that group. He’s a guy who can go play in space.”
  7. Let’s face it: USC’s ‘absolutely brutal’ schedule is THE topic of the offseason May 02, 2019, | THE STATE South Carolina’s schedule started another stir on Tuesday. This is where some readers will stop and say, “No, you started a stir on Tuesday.” We can agree to disagree there, but here’s the background: I was interviewed on Paul Finebaum’s show and was asked about South Carolina’s 2019 football schedule and the general state of the program. Here’s what I said. (I have transcribed the most pertinent parts below.) I believed then and believe now these are all reasonable comments. Here’s the part of what I said the Finebaum show tweeted out Tuesday afternoon: “2020 is the big year for Will Muschamp. 2019 is about survival on the field to set up what in 2020 is kind of a prove it year for Muschamp.” That set off, as these things often do because of the reach of Finebaum’s show and the nature of football in the South, social media reaction that kept my Twitter notifications number tilting all afternoon. (Related: Does anyone know how you extricate yourself from a Twitter conversation that devolves into an argument between two competing camps? Thanks in advance.) As is usually the case in these situations, the eventual argument had nothing to do with the original point. The first statement just becomes the launching point for what college football fan bases love the most: Mocking their rival and shaking their fist at imagined enemies. See also: November’s Muschamp voting question debacle. (Related, part two: I’m never going to engage in these debates on Twitter but feel free to reach out via email or say hello if you see me on the street.) The reality is the South Carolina’s 2019 schedule — which includes Alabama, Georgia and Clemson — is going to be THE topic of the offseason. Here’s Finebaum on the subject: “It is absolutely brutal. There is just no getting around it.” It’s a topic. It’s going to be a topic. Even if Will Muschamp doesn’t want it to be a topic. Muschamp doesn’t want it to be the biggest story of the offseason, but it’s going to be the biggest story of the season. Here’s a transcription of the exchange between Finebaum and me about USC’s schedule, among other things: Finebaum: I’m interested in the two biggest jobs on campus, the basketball and football coach. We’ll start with Frank Martin, where is he contractually? And then we’ll get to Will Muschamp. Me: I don’t deal day-to-day with basketball so I don’t know where Frank is. I know he’s not near the end of his deal, but I think this is important time for Frank Martin. He doesn’t have a tournament appearance aside from the Final Four. Now, you just can’t say ‘Aside from the Final Four.’ That’s big doings at South Carolina, but you see where Lamont Evans, a former assistant whose name has been brought up, if that eventually tracks back to the point where the NCAA says that South Carolina used an ineligible player and that banner comes down. ... It never comes out of memory banks but if the banner comes down that’s a psychic blow for the university and I think that retroactively affects Frank’s footing here. He needs to win games. Will Muschamp is under contract until 2024, and I think everybody, certainly Ray Tanner, understands what 2019’s fall looks like for Will Muschamp, so I think 2020 frankly is the big year for Muschamp. 2019 is about survival on the field to set up what in 2020 is kind of a prove-it year for Will Muschamp. Finebaum: We’re talking about three years since (Steve Spurrier) walked out. [Muschamp is] 22-17 overall. He’s .500 in the SEC. You tell me: How does that play in a community and a state where the guy down the road who Spurrier at one time beat five straight times is a regular appearer in the national championship tournament and has won two of the last three? Me: Whichever side of the Will Muschamp debate you are on you can put out a pretty good case. He’s won 22 games. That’s more than anybody has ever won here in their first three years. Spurrier had the previous record at 21. He did that after inheriting what Spurrier has acknowledged was not an SEC roster. He has improved the infrastructure of the program. He has modernized a program that Spurrier ran in a very 1990s style. … So Will has done a lot of good, but you mentioned that they’ve now lost five in a row to Clemson, which is on an unprecedented roll, and they haven’t been really close. South Carolina is not close to Clemson at the moment and that wears on the Carolina people so that’s a problem for Will. It’s not an immediate problem but it’s a problem in the future getting that thing turned around. No matter what else he does, if that thing extends to a seven-game losing streak, an eight-game losing streak, etc., etc., that’s an anchor around a coach’s neck at South Carolina. Finebaum: You alluded to the schedule. I don’t think anyone could argue against the following statement that South Carolina has the hardest schedule in the country. It is absolutely brutal. There is just no getting around it. So knowing that you have Alabama, knowing that you have Georgia and Clemson. By almost everyone’s projections, those are the No. 1, 2 and 3 schools in the country. You also have the normal lot of Florida and Tennessee and North Carolina to begin. Florida is a potential top 10 team. A&M is not far outside the top 10. We already mentioned the other three. What are fans saying? What’s the expectation for 2019? Me: Well, fans are fans. What they’re saying right now is, ‘That’s a tough schedule man. I’ll be happy with 7-5.’ And then … you finish 7-5 people when the season is over and people are not going to be happy. I think that people understand right now, as we sit here in May or April in non-football season, and everybody says, ‘We understand what’s in front of us,’ but then you get in the fall and you finish 6-6 and folks are not going to be happy. Will could have a good, solid football team and finish 6-6 without any problem. Finebaum: Let’s just say he does and goes to a bowl game and maybe has a better result than last year or doesn’t, who knows, 7-6, 6-7, because it would take an enormous effort to win more than seven games. You kept mentioning next year. So, what happens then? Let’s say it’s six straight losses to Clemson. Georgia, I’ve lost track of what it is, but I know Spurrier beat Georgia at some point but that has not gone well since then. What are people going to be saying? I realize I’m jumping ahead a year, but it’s a pretty important jump ahead. Me: That’s fair. That’s year five, patience kind of runs out. I think at the salaries they are paying these coaches now — this is not Will Muschamp specific — but at the salary you are paying in the SEC now, it is fair for these folks to say, ‘OK, we want results now.’ Alabama cycles off the schedule in 2020 but the core problem doesn’t change, which is that South Carolina is stuck geographically and otherwise right between Georgia and Clemson who are on monster rolls right now. The team that they have to beat to make every fan in their state feel good is the defending national champion. The team that they have to beat to win their division and get back to Atlanta for the second time in history is on a roll that is not quite as good as Clemson but is getting there. That’s a problem. Those guys are still around in 2020. I think that next fall (2020) you will hear a lot of, ‘Big year for Will Muschamp,’ ‘Is Will Muschamp on the hot seat?’, ‘It’s time for Will Muschamp and South Carolina to show some progress.’ Finebaum: You said some very kind things about Muschamp in terms of the infrastructure. Spurrier was a different breed. … What do people think of Will Muschamp? He was hired at the same time as Kirby Smart. They come from similar trees. The results have been dramatically different so far. Me: Nothing is really 50-50, but you’re real close to 50-50 in Columbia at this point (on Muschamp). When the news of his hiring broke, he had an uphill battle PR-wise because of what had happened at Florida. He pretty quickly climbed that hill because of the way he talked, the things he did, the fact that they won nine games in year two. He endeared himself to the South Carolina people well, but that only lasts the blink of an eye in the SEC, especially when you’ve got the Clemson problem staring you in the face. So I think that folks now have settled into sides. … They’ve settled into their camps. You’re either for Will Muschamp and you see the things I was talking about earlier or you’re against Will Muschamp and you see the reality that your two biggest rivals are beating your doors in and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to that.
  8. Senior LB T.J. Brunson moving to a different Position on the field? April 30, 2019 Coming out of spring practice, South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp was high on his second-year linebacker Ernest Jones. His staff had also just brought in a freshman who looks ready to do something in Derek Boykins. The only hang up is both are exclusively middle linebackers, a spot currently occupied by two-year starter T.J. Brunson, the team’s returning leading tackler. But that apparently might not be the biggest hang up. “T.J. can play both,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. “T.J. came in and played the Dime and Will for us as a freshman. T.J. understands those positions fine.” A move from that middle spot to the weak side would not be unprecedented in the program‘s recent history. Skai Moore had started in the middle for two years heading into his junior campaign. But the talent behind him had shown well, and he moved over, earning all-SEC honors as a senior. That weakside spot is currently held by rising junior Sherrod Greene, who had an up-and-down first season as a starter in 2018. There is no immediate indication of any change coming, but it is an unusual situation with a group that returns everyone but also had its share of struggles last season. The staff has never been shy about saying it will play the best players regardless of seniority, and if the situation dictates, the team has the flexibility to do some shuffling. “Sherrod could play both,” Muschamp said. “Ernest, we’re going to keep him primarily at the Mike, but you’ve got to create depth on your team, with guys being able to cross-train and play other positions.”
  9. Muschamp hoping to get these freshmen in a few weeks early April 30, 2019 The University of South Carolina’s schedule offers the particular quirk of the Maymester, a three-week period of classes between the end of the spring semester and the star of full summer classes. The Gamecocks football team is hoping to take advantage of that and get a few more players on campus a little early. USC coach Will Muschamp said the staff is working through details of possibly getting a pair of 2019 recruits on campus soon for the Maymester set to start in two weeks. “We’re still working through that right now,” Muschamp said at a Spurs Up tour stop. “There’s some possibilities there. Jammie Robinson is a possibility. We’ll kind of see. Shilo Sanders is a possibility. We haven’t finalized that yet.” Robinson is a versatile defensive back from South Georgia who committed to the Gamecocks on the February signing day. Sanders is a talented corner out of Texas and the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. Robinson is expected to help at either safety or nickel, while Sanders is a bit of a wildcard as to where he’ll end up in the secondary. Muschamp said it’s “very seldom” freshmen enroll at this juncture just because of getting semesters and graduation to line up. It’s happened with a few junior college players, including Javon Kinlaw.
  10. Linebacker rundown for 2019 April 29, 2019 • The absence of Brunson this spring allowed for sophomore Ernest Jones to get reps with the first team at middle linebacker, a position he admits requires a lot of him but that he's feeling more comfortable with now. Jones should help provide depth at a position that lacked it last season. • If there's one word that linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler harped on for his group this spring it's "consistency." Hutzler didn't mince words when he met with the media this spring and talked about challenging his group. • Senior linebacker Eldridge Thompson has yet to officially be cleared by the NCAA for his sixth season of eligibility, but the coaching staff remains confident that he has a good case to get one. • Also returning from injury is senior Danny Fennell, who missed the spring after tearing his ACL late last season. Fennell has been one of the Gamecocks' most consistent under-the-radar players during his three seasons of contributions and should have the edge to start at the SAM position, which is on the field whenever Carolina is in its base 4-3 set. • Look out for two true freshmen that the staff is high on in Derek Boykins and Jahmar Brown. Boykins, a heavy hitter who enrolled early and went through spring practice, is working at middle linebacker where he's already made his physicality known. Brown, who will enroll for the summer, is slated to play the WILL spot where he brings excellent coverage ability for a linebacker. • Junior Damani Staley and redshirt freshman Rosendo Louis, who also missed the spring with a shoulder injury, should also provide depth at the position. Staley saw his playing time increase as last season progressed. "We've just got to be more consistent as a group, that's the bottom line," he said. "We were very inconsistent [last season], as a group, as linebackers, and we've got to do that. Sherrod and T.J., they made a handful of plays and did a lot of good things for us, but at the end of the day, we were not consistent enough in playing both the run and the pass. We've got to do that. "That's been my challenge to them and our challenge to the group. We talk about that every day." • South Carolina's linebacking corps will no doubt be led by senior T.J. Brunson, who missed the spring while rehabbing a couple of different injuries, but will be back at 100 percent for fall camp. Brunson was the defense's leading tackler last season and has started every game for the last two seasons. Brunson has collected 206 career tackles including 15.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks. • The Gamecock staff will look for WILL linebacker Sherrod Greene to take a big step forward in 2019. Greene was highly coveted by the staff as a recruit, quickly becoming one of their top targets at the position out of high school, and has shown flashes, but will look to become more consistent this season.
  11. Will Muschamp comments on two key aspects of his South Carolina program that have improved April 24, 2019, | SDS At this time last year, South Carolina had a ton of hype surrounding the program. A new, exciting offense was being installed in Columbia and the Gamecocks were set to return a ton of weapons on offense that left many Gamecock fans envisioning scoreboards lighting up all season. We all know that never materialized and the Gamecocks finished the season with a dud of a bowl game, losing 28-0 to Virginia. The Belk Bowl loss dropped the team to 7-6 on the season. Following those results, the hype surrounding the program is minimal exiting the spring but that may not necessarily be a bad thing as South Carolina fans found out just how much value there is in offseason hype. Looking ahead to the upcoming season, two aspects of the South Carolina program have improved since last season according to Muschamp, but neither one is going to generate much offseason hype — line of scrimmage depth and leadership on the roster. “At this time, there are some things to be excited about. The competitive depth we have on our team. We have a deeper roster than we have had before, especially on both lines of scrimmage, which excites you because I know this league very well and you have to be strong there,” Muschamp recently said in a YouTube video posted by GamecockCentral.com. “I think we have good leadership, we have three players on our team that previously in their careers have been voted team captains.” Having greater depth and improved leadership isn’t going to make for any exciting offseason hype reels but it’s the type of improvement Muschamp’s program desperately needed to make in order to push forward. If these areas are truly improved in Columbia, the Gamecocks are much more likely to exceed expectations next fall after failing to meet them in 2018. One other aspect of the team Muschamp was asked to discuss was the backup role behind Jake Bentley. The Gamecocks have two talented prospects competing for the job, which is just another example of the competitive depth Muschamp discussed in his program this offseason, as redshirt freshman Dakereon Joyner and true freshman Ryan Hilinski both looked the part this spring in camp. However, according to Muschamp, neither player has done enough at this point to be anointed the program’s backup signal caller. “There’s not enough separation from that position as far as naming a second guy at this time but I think both of them bring really good things to the table,” Muschamp noted. “I think both guys progressed really well. Dakereon from Year 1 to Year 2 and Ryan being a high school senior coming mid-year, did some really nice things.”
  12. Gamecocks newest tight ends April 22, 2019 South Carolina’s Bobby Bentley had already gotten his hands on freshman tight end Keshawn Toney and was just starting to work with Traevon Kenion. And he liked what he saw. “Keshawn has done a really good job picking the system up,” Bentley said during spring practice. “He is really going to be a really good player “Tre Kenion just got in. We’ve got to get him out to practice now and get him up to speed.” Kenion missed the start of spring practice because of an admissions issue. He was on campus at the start of last week and working his way through the acclimation process. Toney spent much of his recruitment as one of the lowest-rated prospects in South Carolina’s class, but after enrolling made a jump of nearly 350 spots in the national rankings. As a senior, he caught 51 passes for 750 yards and nine touchdowns, despite dealing with injury and playing defense. He checked in at 6-foot-2, 236 pounds, and his coach likes his potential as a playmaker. His teammates like his approach, how he put in extra time behind the scenes. “I think he’s a wide receiver that can play tight end,” Bentley said. ”When you look at his tape from high school. He’s a guy that’s splitting guys down the middle and he can really run. He’s a big guy, 245, 250 pounds and can really motor.” If he is up to that weight, it could mean a good bit more work in the box. At 236, he might be in line for the H-back slot position filled last year by K.C. Crosby and Kiel Pollard. If Toney is a receiver who can play tight end, Kenion is a tight end who actually played wide receiver. The 6-foot-3, 242-pounder moved there in a three-back offense after transferring to Wake Forest High School his senior season. “Just going back and looking at his video from high school, he’s really talented,” Bentley said. “So I can’t wait to get him out on the field and see him running around in the grass.” His team only threw 10.5 passes a game, completing 5.6. He accounted for more than half the team’s receiving production, with 43 receptions, 834 yards and 15 of the team’s 20 passing scores. Losing the first few months of the semester will likely leave Kenion a bit behind, but getting the next few weeks of practice and more time in the weight room could pay off down the line. “A guy can come in in the spring and not have to worry about a game, not have to worry about all the academic pressure of being here,” Bentley said. “Now he can come in, a little more relaxed. Practice is every other day. Got a gap in between them. “I think it’s going to help Tre tremendously this time next year.”
  13. ‘You can call it swagger,’ the big turnaround USC expects in 2019 April 19, 2019 THE STATE In three seasons at South Carolina, Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson haven’t fielded a defense that finished ranked in the top six in the SEC. Muschamp was hired as the Gamecocks head coach, and in turn hired Robinson as his defensive coordinator, in 2015 in part because the team’s defense had ceased to exist as a deterrent, and both coaches have a track record of putting very good defenses on the field. They haven’t done that yet at South Carolina, but one of the behind-the-scenes stories from spring practice this year is that they think they might be able to this year. Neither Muschamp nor Robinson has said as much publicly but they’ve said enough to show they’ve quietly got high hopes for this group, and South Carolina’s offensive players can see that. “Most definitely,” wide receiver Bryan Edwards said. “The defense just looks really good honestly. They play with confidence. They create turnovers. They are running to the ball. They play with excitement, they play with urgency. We have a really good defense in my opinion.” The Gamecocks were 12th in the SEC in total defense last year, allowing 424.4 yards per game, and 11th in scoring defense, allowing 27.2 points per game. Even considering the daunting 2019 schedule, everyone involved with South Carolina’s defense seems to believe it will be significantly better this fall. “You can definitely see it, and I think it starts with guys on the (secondary) and kind of trickles its way through, down to the d-line,” quarterback Jake Bentley said. “I think everyone on defense has that confidence about them that they want to go win every play. That’s going to make our whole team better. It definitely makes us a lot better on offense.” The defense often got the better of the offense throughout spring, several offensive players said, and they weren’t shy about letting their teammates know about it. “When one unit is struggling and the other is flourishing, it encourages you to pick it up,” Edwards said. “You see one unit having fun, it makes you want to get back in your playbook and tighten up the things you need to do to make our offense look better. When you see the defense getting riled up and making plays, it frustrates you so you want to get out there and make plays. It kind of puts that little oomph in your step to say, let’s get it done and get this right.” Bentley credited the attitudes of starting cornerbacks Jaycee Horn and Isreal Mukuamu for the defensive resurgence. “Jaycee and Israel want me to throw it at them on every play,” Bentley said. The Gamecocks also except to have a healthy D.J. Wonnum, Javon Kinlaw, T.J. Brunson and Jamyest Williams in 2019, which should help a defense that struggled with depth a year ago. “You can call it swagger, you can call it what you want,” defensive ends coach Mike Peterson said. “When you get some guys who are playing with a lot of confidence, you get positive things going and your whole organization starts to change, and I think that’s where we are at. Guys are playing with confidence. We have some guys who played ball last year and they know what to do.”
  14. I have my thoughts on the 2019 outlook but before I write it down I want to hear what all the members feel. Can the Gamecocks win 8+? Tell me why you feel can they if so how what key games will need to beat in a winning season? What players on offensive & defense you think that will surprise of 2019? The Freshman who will have the biggest impact. transfers from last year Redshirt freshman that will make their presence known? LETS HERE IT FANATICS LETS TALK 2019 GAMECOCK FOOTBALL!! Date Opponent Location Time 8/31 vs N. Carolina Ch., N.C. 9/7  Charleston S. Col., S.C. 9/14 Alabama Col., S.C. 9/21 at Missouri Col., Mo. 9/28 Kentucky Col., S.C. 10/5 Open date - - 10/12 at Georgia Ath., Ga. 10/19 Florida Col., S.C. 10/26 at Tenn. Knox., Tenn. 11/2 Vanderbilt Col., S.C. 11/9 Appalachian St. Col., S.C. 11/16 at Texas A&M Col.St.Tex. 11/23 Open date - - 11/30 Clemson Col., S.C.
  15. Spring review: Offensive tackles rundown FROM GAMECOCKCENTRAL South Carolina put a bow on spring football last Saturday with the Garnet & Black Game inside Williams-Brice Stadium. In this series, GamecockCentral.com takes a look at where things stand at each position now that spring ball is over. Today focuses on the offensive tackles. • While it appeared that left tackle may be a position that was going to feature a spring position battle, Sadarius Hutcherson locked down the first-team spot pretty early in camp and never looked back, solidifying the position for this season. Hutcherson came to South Carolina as a tackle, but was a starter at guard last season, before moving back to left tackle this spring. • Sophomore Dylan Wonnum, a former four-star recruit, took over as the Gamecocks' starting right tackle midway through the 2018 season and returns as the starter there this season. • Hutcherson played a team-high 896 snaps on offense last season.Wonnum played 506, giving the Gamecocks two experienced starters at tackle. But there's virtually no experienced depth behind them, making it one of the key positions on the roster that the Gamecocks can't afford injuries. • Freshman early enrollee Jaylen Nichols caught the attention of head coach Will Muschamp and earned the praise of offensive line coach Eric Wolford this spring. He's big and athletic at 6-foot-5, 315-pounds. While Nichols, like most freshmen at the position, still has plenty to learn, he could be forced into action this season. He worked as the backup right tackle in the spring game. • Redshirt sophomore Jordon Carty has yet to see action in his career but offers massive potential. The 6-foot-7, 327-pounder was banged up at times this spring but worked with the second team at left tackle in the spring game. • Redshirt sophomore Eric Douglas could be a wild card at tackle. A sharp, versatile player, Douglas spent time this spring at center, guard, and tackle, filling in at center during the spring game due to injuries to Hank Manos and Chandler Farrell. Douglas could serve the all-important role of swingman this year, providing depth at every spot on the O-line. • Keep an eye on freshman offensive lineman Jakai Moore this fall. Moore isn't on campus yet, but has similar athleticism to Nichols and could factor into the offensive tackle conversation as the season progresses.
  16. Post-spring practice 2019 offensive depth Projections April 09, 2019 Now that spring practice is over, it’s time to take a look and see at South Carolina’s post-spring depth chart for the fall of the 2019 season. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW ARTICLE)
  17. Gamecocks areas of most need after spring practice April 09, 2019 Spring practice is when a college football team starts to get a sense of the kinds of answers it will have for the big questions going into the next season. And South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp pointed to the most vital question his team will have in the transition from spring to the next time his team hits the practice field in summer. “Probably the most pressing thing, maybe, is to have some young secondary guys step up,” Muschamp said in an interview with 107.5 The Game. “Because right now, Jaycee Horn and Isreal (Mukuamu) would be our starting corners. A.J. Turner is your third corner right now. He’s also playing running back for us. His primary position is going to be running back for us.” In the spring game, the backups at cornerback were two walk-ons, as Turner was mostly playing offense. Horn was a true freshman starter from his first game. He played at nickel, but the staff likes his length on the outside. Mukuamu stands at 6-foot-4, and after starting last year as a reserve he grew into a staple on the defense as injuries mounted. Muschamp praised Mukuamu late, especially as he went against Clemson’s talented receivers. The Gamecocks will have reinforcements, and talented ones, too. When Cam Smith finally enrolls (he was supposed to be in for spring), he’ll add another long, taller corner, one who was a top-150 recruit in the 247Sports Composite rankings (top-40 by one rating). Beyond him, South Carolina’s coaches were high on Tampa corner John Dixon’s man-to-man skills, and Shilo Sanders could perhaps find a home at that position. The Gamecocks went into last year with only two veterans at corner and went through some ups and downs as Rashad Fenton and Keisean Nixon were inconsistent. USC’s front line on the outside could be better in the coming season. But that doesn’t mean their coach isn’t a bit worried about the guys behind them. “We’re just a little thin there,” Muschamp said. “Extremely talented. I like our ability. “So that, to me, on defense is going to be a huge part.” A few other topics worked to the forefront of the coach’s mind, questions that will need answers coming out of spring: ▪ The quarterback situation: “We’ve got to continue to iron that out.” ▪ “See who emerges in fall camp at the running back position.” ▪ “Continue to step forward at the receiver position.” ▪ “We probably need two of these offensive linemen to come in and help us on the offensive line and continue to develop the quality depth.”
  18. Mirror mirror on the wall who is South Carolina’s fastest quarterback? April 05, 2019 As South Carolina football takes the field Saturday for the spring game, many eyes will be on the legs of Dakereon Joyner. After all, the dynamic former four-star prospect was 20 yards away from posting three 1,000-yard seasons to close out his high school career. He brings the promise of a dynamic runner behind center. But he’s not the fastest passer on the Gamecocks roster, according to quarterbacks coach Dan Werner. That’s Jay Urich. “He’s actually the fastest one of all of them,” Werner said. “We put these GPS systems on them during practices, and sometimes, there’s been a couple practices he’s had the fastest one on our team.” Urich is sometimes a bit overlooked in South Carolina’s quarterback room. He was lower rated than Joyner and Hilinski, the first quarterback recruited in a full cycle by Will Muschamp’s staff (and now-departed offensive coordinator Kurt Roper). But no matter where the 6-foot-5 Wren High School product ends up in the QB pecking order, he’s a player who can move. He played wide receiver as a high school freshman, then ran for 1,000 yards in each of his final two high school seasons after transferring. The Gamecocks have him work on special teams fundamentals during practice, as he volunteered for emergency duty at those spots last year. Asked if he might be a candidate for another position, Werner said no. But that kind of speed could be an asset if the staff could find some way to get it on the field. Right now he’s battling Joyner and polished freshman Ryan Hilinski for the backup spot. And while there’s some temptation for some to write off the three-star QB competing with a pair of blue chippers, the team isn’t doing so publicly just yet. “He’s really athletic,” Werner said. “He knows the offense. I think he’s come a long way too.”
  19. Post Spring Game Observations 1. Number two QB is in good shape. Joyner looked the part, not great but man does he have wheels. Hilinski is 15 practices in and can zip it. Should be no reason to not take chances with Bentley. Hilinski slings the ball quicker and better than any QB I've seen in a Gamecock uniform in a long time, maybe forever. Doesn't seem to be rattled even for an upperclassman. Joyner had some nice plays and some not so nice. Both had a couple of seriously high overthrows. I keep hoping Bentley will show some serious progression beyond his freshman year.. Many of the first stringers were held out which was to get a better look at the new guys and backups. Good thing I expect. The rules and tactics of the spring game don't do it for me but probably better for the coaches evaluations. Only hurt player I saw was Stanley and hopefully not serious. Our spring game doesn't appear to encourage lots of fans to fill the stands. Hard to follow and get a good impression of the players and their abilities. Attendance may be free but 300 miles and other costs just doesn't get me to go. 2. Enagbare looks like another player. Fast and lean. 3. Kevin Harris is a man, another few months in the weight room and he’ll look like a Junior. Don’t think he has the elite ability to make somebody miss, but maybe we’ll finally have somebody that isn’t afraid of contact. 4. Jamal Cook layed the wood. Can only be an upgrade from Montac. 5. Bailey and Urich got a lot of targets. Hopefully will be used, seemed to get open but need to hold onto the ball. Idk what is up with the rest of the WR outside of Shi and Edwards, maybe poor recruiting eval? Overall defense looks like they have a lot of talent. Should be improved. Offense still struggling to catch the ball, and didn’t focus on the run at all, but it’s a Spring game. Attendance looked horrible.
  20. An early season look at the Gamecocks 2019 April 03, 2019 South Carolina will be a really, really good football team with a really, really brutal schedule that’s going to nearly impossible to navigate. Even North Carolina under Mack Brown is going to be dangerous, but that should be a win, and so will the game against Charleston Southern. And then where’s another win? Vanderbilt? Okay. Kentucky? Probably. Appalachian State? Sure. The Gamecocks will get to six wins, but even some of the home games – Alabama, Florida, Clemson – are brutal. 2018 Record: 7-6 Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4 Realistic Worst Case Record: 5-7 2019 Prediction, April Version: 6-6 2020/2019/2018/2017/2016 Date Opponent Location Time 8/31 vs N. Carolina Ch., N.C. 9/7  Charleston S. Col., S.C. 9/14 Alabama Col., S.C. 9/21 at Missouri Col., Mo. 9/28 Kentucky Col., S.C. 10/5 Open date - - 10/12 at Georgia Ath., Ga. 10/19 Florida Col., S.C. 10/26 at Tenn. Knox., Tenn. 11/2 Vanderbilt Col., S.C. 11/9 Appalachian St. Col., S.C. 11/16 at Texas A&M Col.St.Tex. 11/23 Open date - - 11/30 Clemson Col., S.C. Schedule preview It’s a rough non-conference slate, considering the Gamecocks are opening things up against Mack Brown’s North Carolina team in Charlotte to kick things off. Charleston Southern is the break, but Appalachian State in early November is certainly no peach, and then there’s that massive matzo ball at the end of the regular season when Clemson comes to Columbia. Not only do the Gamecocks have to face the defending national champs, but they get the brutal break of dealing with Alabama from the West to kick off SEC play. At least that’s at home, unlike the road game at Texas A&M to close out the conference season. The aren’t a slew of good breaks against the East, either. Florida is a home game, but so are the Vanderbilt and Kentucky games, meaning USC has to go on the road to play Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee. Out of the final ten games, the Vols are the only team that didn’t go bowling.
  21. Coach Muschamp talks quarterbacks, defense and injuries for this weekend annual spring game April 04, 2019 For South Carolina football fans hoping to see a lot of the triumvirate of young quarterbacks in Ryan Hilinski, Jay Urich and Dakereon Joyner, Will Muschamp has some good news. (Click to read on)
  22. This time next week the annual spring game will be in the books. Hope we can have 40K plus this year.
  23. Position coach Kyle Krantz talks secondary with video & more April 02, 20 South Carolina nickels coach Kyle Krantz talks about some of the players he been working with. Jaycee Horn and R.J. Roderick. Others have chipped in here and there, some Israel Mukuamu, a little Jamyest Williams has he comes back off injury. But mostly it’s those first two, and the staff has already said Horn would play outside corner. (Click to video & article)
  24. Carolina secondary lacking depth but still promising for the 2019 season April 01, 2019 Some of it is the nature of the position. There are a lot coming in each spring. In South Carolina’s case, none of the four recruits are yet on campus. But even so, USC is a bit stretched when it comes to scholarship players. Yet the ones that are on campus are showing coach Will Muschamp a lot of progress. “Those guys are playing really well,” Muschamp said. “(Israel Mukuamu) and Jaycee (Horn), Jaycee can play corner and nickel. To me, competitive edge is a talent. You like to compete. And R.J. (Roderick) I would throw in that category, those guys like to compete. They like to practice. They like to come out, practice and they like to compete. I’ve been very pleased with where they’ve come as far as the spring is concerned.” That trio — Mukuamu, Horn and Roderick — were all thrown into the fire last fall at various points as true freshmen. If things go the way the staff seems to prefer, the first two would be South Carolina’s top two corners and Roderick would end up at nickel. But at the moment, they represent nearly half of the eight true defensive backs the staff has available this spring, one of whom (Jamyest Williams) isn’t healthy. Beyond those four, USC has Southern Cal transfer Jamel Cook, former grad transfer J.T. Ibe, third-year sophomore Jaylin Dickerson and redshirt freshmen Jonathan Gipson, all at safety. “J.T. Ibe has had a very good spring,” Muschamp said. “J.T. continues to improve in his coverage, which is something we’ve worked on a lot as far as man coverage and situations. Jaylin Dickerson has done some nice things.” Ibe missed the final nine games of last season, part of a rash of injuries that forced the freshmen in and knocked out Williams with five games to go. Muschamp said Williams has been kept out of contact but has done everything else in practice. Perhaps USC’s biggest concern will be finding consistency at safety, especially if Roderick is to stay at nickel, where he started working this spring. Last fall, the Gamecocks threw every body they had at that position and still found themselves lacking. South Carolina’s coaches haven’t been shy about relying on a core group, as Muschamp’s first two teams rarely went deeper than six players at five spots for long stretches. Horn and Mukuamu seem like good options on the outside and Horn or Roderick could end up in the slot. But even with that reality, they’ll need at least one more option in the back end. “We’ve got to be able to train one of the freshmen to be a dependable guy before our first ballgame,” Muschamp said. Those candidates include four-star Cam Smith, John Dixon (a pure corner), Jammie Robinson (a safety or nickel) and Shilo Sanders (a bit of a wild card). USC has been working the players it has at multiple spots and likely will do the same with most of the newcomers. The group will be looking for a bounce back after last fall’s injury-ravaged campaign. The group was in the top 30 in yards allowed per pass attempt against FBS opponents in 2016 and 2017, but fell to 54th in 2018 as the run defense also dropped off. For now, South Carolina’s secondary is still working thoough, playing more walk-ons at more spots than one might like, but all the while, showing a little something. “We may be numbers-wise thin, but we’ve got some quality players,” Muschamp said.
  25. Saturday's scrimmage report with Video HC Will Muschamp March 30, 2019 Saturday's scrimmage report with Video - CLICK HERE TO VIEW ARTICLE & VIDEO
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