2008 South Carolina Gamecock Season
South Carolina LB Jasper Brinkley
South Carolina LB Jasper Brinkley
Posted Feb 4, 2009

2008 South Carolina Gamecock Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 South Carolina Gamecocks

Jan. 1
2009 Outback Bowl
Iowa 31 … South Carolina 10

Iowa's defense forced five turnovers and Shonn Greene ran for three scores in a surprising rout. The Hawkeyes came out with a 13-play drive that ate up the first 7:21 on the clock finishing with a Trey Stross touchdown catch from six yards out, and then Greene went work with two one-yard scoring runs and an 11-yard dash, to go along with an 18-yard Daniel Murray field goal, on the way to a 31-0 lead after three quarters. South Carolina got a few late scores highlighted by a 10-yard touchdown catch from Jared Cook, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Player of the Game: Iowa RB Shonn Greene ran 29 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Chris Smelley, 16-31, 179 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Stephen Garcia, 5-25. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 6-86
Iowa - Passing: Ricky Stanzi, 13-19, 147 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Shonn Greene, 29-121, 3 TD. Receiving: Brandon Myers, 4-49
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Outback Bowl …South Carolina starting QB Stehen Garcia completed 9-of-18 passes for 79 yards and three interceptions ... USC LB Jasper Brinkley came up with 11 tackles and an interception … Iowa's Tyler Sach made two interceptions … Rushing yards: Iowa 181 – USC 43 … Penalties: South Carolina 10-100 – Iowa 6-50 … Time of possession: Iowa 35:54 (11:09 in the first quarter) – South Carolina 24:06

- 2008 USC Preview
- 2007 USC Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2008 Record: 7-6

Aug. 30 NC State W 34-0
Sept. 4 at Vanderbilt L 24-17
Sept. 13 Georgia L 14-7
Sept. 20 Wofford W 23-13
Sept. 27 UAB W 26-13
Oct. 4 at Ole Miss W 31-24
Oct. 11 at Kentucky W 24-17
Oct. 18 LSU L 24-17
Oct. 25 OPEN DATE 
Nov. 1 Tennessee W 27-6
Nov. 8 Arkansas W 34-21
Nov. 15 at Florida L 56-6
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE 
Nov. 29 at Clemson L 31-14
Outback Bowl
Jan. 1 Iowa L 31-10

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2007 Record: 6-

Sept. 1 UL Lafayette W 28-14
Sept. 8 at Georgia W 16-12
Sept. 15
S Carolina St W 38-3
Sept. 22 at LSU L 28-16
Sept. 29
Miss St W 38-21
Oct. 4 Kentucky W 38-23
Oct. 13 at No Carolina W 21-15
Oct. 20 Vanderbilt L 17-6
Oct. 27 at Tenn. L 27-24 OT
Nov. 3 at Arkansas L 48-36
Nov. 10
Florida L 51-31
Nov. 24 Clemson L 23-21

Nov. 28
Clemson 31 … South Carolina 14
James Davis ran for three touchdowns and USC QB Chris Smelley was picked off four times as Clemson won with surprising ease. The Tigers got up 24-0 in the first half on a 20-yard Davis scoring dash, and after the Gamecocks started to make it interesting on two Smelley touchdown passes, including a 23-yarder to Weslye Saunders, the Tigers put it away with a two-yard Davis run. The two teams combined to convert 16-of-31 third down chances.
Player of the game: The tandem of James Davis and C.J. Spiller combined for 179 yards and three touchdowns on 40 carries.
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Chris Smelley, 22-47, 212 yds, 2 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Mike Davis, 17-76. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 7-56
Clemson - Passing: Cullen Harper, 12-17, 199 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: James Davis, 24-91, 3 TD. Receiving: Aaron Kelly, 4-76
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... This isn't exactly the way you end a regular season. The Gamecocks have lost their last two games by a combined score of 87-to-20 and struggled on defense in the loss to Clemson. By this point in the season, the mistakes should be slowing down, but instead, Chris Smelley threw four killer interceptions and the Gamecocks never got into the game. Now the rivalry is really on. South Carolina fans might be happy with the Steve Spurrier era, to a point, but the program isn't rocking like it's supposed to. Losing to Clemson 31-14 isn't a sign that things are going in the right direction.

Nov. 15
Florida 56 … South Carolina 6
Brandon Spikes returned a Chris Smelley interception for a touchdown, and the route was on. The Gators scored the first 28  points, helped by three Gamecock turnovers, with Percy Harvin running for a 26-yard score and Tim Tebow running for a one-yard score and throwing a 46-yard touchdown pass to Deonte Thompson. South Carolina managed two Ryan Succop field goals, but the defense couldn't handle the Gator attack with Harvin putting the game well out of reach on the first play of the second half with an 80-yard touchdown run. Florida outgained the Gamecocks 519 yards to 173.
Player of the game: Florida WR Percy Harvin caught one pass for six yards and ran eight times for 167 yards and two scores
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Chris Smelley, 13-24. 92 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Eric Baker, 6-23. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 6-37
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 13-20, 173 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Percy Harvin, 8-167, 2 TD. Receiving: Louis Murphy, 4-54
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... A Steve Spurrier coached team gained 173 yards of total offense and was beaten by 50 points. Granted, Florida is playing better than anyone in America, but the Gamecock defense was ripped apart both on the ground and through the air. It didn't help the cause to turn it over three times early on to get down big early; this isn't a team built for comebacks. Mistakes have been a problem all season long, and against the better teams, USC doesn't have a shot when it's turning the ball over.

Nov. 8

South Carolina 34 … Arkansas 21
South Carolina alternated quarterbacks on a regular basis, occasionally on every play, as Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia each threw a touchdown pass, and Garcia ran for one in the first quarter from 14 yards out. Arkansas hung around with a 70-yard touchdown catch from Jarius Wright and a four-yard grab from Mitchell Bailey, but Kenny McKinley put the Gamecocks up for good with a 15-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth. Mike Davis put the game out of reach with a 13-yard touchdown run with just over six minutes to play. Arkansas got a late one-yard touchdown run from Brandon Barnett, and a fight ensued after an onside kick attempt.
Player of the game: South Carolina WR Kenny McKinley caught seven passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Arkansas - Passing: Casey Dick, 16-26, 217 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Brandon Barnett, 7-45. Receiving: Lucas Miller, 5-57
South Carolina - Passing: Eric Baker, 9-59
Rushing: Eric Baker, 9-59. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 7-130, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... South Carolina might have shuffled its quarterbacks against Arkansas, but there was one constant: Kenny McKinley. The star receiver came up with a fantastic game in the crazy offensive game plan. While the results might have turned out fine, the alternating of quarterbacks didn't allow either one to get into a groove. Stephen Garcia was never right, completing just 4-of-11 passes for 71 yards with an interception and a touchdown. Defensively, Eric Norwood continues to have a phenomenal season. He was all but unblockable getting into the backfield.

Nov. 1
South Carolina 27 … Tennessee 6
South Carolina took a 24-0 lead late into the third quarter on two Stephen Garcia touchdown passes and a 68-yard Stoney Woodson interception return for a score. Tennessee struggled throughout with only an Arian Foster scoring a one-yard touchdown. The passing game didn't move the ball and the offensive line was under siege all game long. Garcia was strong until he hurt his knee. Ryan Succop added two 31-yard field goals in the second half.
Player of the game: South Carolina LB/DE Eric Norwood made six tackles and two sacks.
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Nick Stephens, 10-24, 134 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Arian Foster, 14-56, 1 TD. Receiving: Austin Rogers, 3-72
South Carolina - Passing: Stephen Garcia, 9-19, 139 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Mike Davis, 26-58. Receiving: Kenny McKinley 4-50, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... South Carolina still can't protect the passer and Stephen Garcia got banged up against Tennessee, but the defense is playing so well that the offensive problems don't appear to matter too much. Winning five of the last six games have made the Gamecocks a solid mid-tier SEC team, and now the chances are there to do more with Arkansas and Florida coming up next. To win those two, the offense has to get moving on a more consistent basis; Mike Davis isn't finding any room to run, and Garcia needs to get healthy in a hurry.

Oct. 18
LSU 24 … South Carolina 17
LSU got up 10-3 in the first half on the first of two Charles Scott touchdown runs, but South Carolina came up with a big late run before going into the locker room with a 26-yard Weslye Saunders touchdown catch and following an interception, got a one-yard Mike Davis scoring run with 22 seconds to play. But the second half was all LSU as the defense put the clamps down and while the offense came up with a seven-yard Richard Dickson touchdown catch in the third quarter to tie it and a two-yard Scott run to win. South Carolina had one last shot, but Curtis Taylor picked off a Stephen Garcia and LSU ran out the clock.
Player of the game: LSU RBs Keiland Williams and Charles Scott combined for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Stephen Garcia, 14-26, 215 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Mike Davis, 10-23, 1 TD. Receiving: Jared Cook, 5-74
LSU - Passing: Jarrett Lee, 16-26, 189 yds
Rushing: Keiland Williams, 15-72. Receiving: Brandon LaFell, 4-55

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Stephen Garcia is the quarterback. The offense sputtered in the second half against LSU, but Garcia showed enough promise and enough potential to grow into the job. He needs more seasoning, and he struggled way too much in the second half, but he has the mobility and the arm to build the offense around. The biggest problem at the moment is the running game' it doesn't exist. LSU didn't even think about Mike Davis and spent all its time on getting into the backfield. The USC offense has to figure out how to make teams pay for doing this by getting Davis rolling.

Oct. 11
South Carolina 24 … Kentucky 17
Stephen Garcia replaced a shaky Chris Smelley to throw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Weslye Saunders and Captain Munnerlyn returned a blocked kick 81 yards for a touchdown and set up another score on a kickoff return as South Carolina gave Steve Spurrier his 16th straight win over UK. The Wildcats got a pick six of their own from Trevard Lindley, but Smelley answered 20 seconds later, thanks to the short field provided by Munnerlyn, with a 16-yard strike to Kenny McKinley. Neither team could run the ball with USC gaining 74 yards and Kentucky being held to 62.
Player of the game: South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia came off the bench to complete 10-of-14 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown and ran six times for 22 yards
Stat Leaders: Kentucky - Passing: Stephen Garcia, 10-14, 169 yds, `1 TD
Rushing: Mike Davis, 14-27. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 7-88, 1 TD
South Carolina - Passing: Mike Hartline, 23-43, 152 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Derrick Locke, 15-51. Receiving: Derrick Locke, 8-57
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... And so it continues. Chris Smelley was great in the win over Ole Miss, but Stephen Garcia, who was great in the win over UAB a few weeks ago but was replaced against the Rebels, came in and saved the day against Kentucky. Now the quarterback rotation goes on, but Garcia is the better option. The USC offensive line is having a nightmare of a time in pass protection, and the more mobile Garcia helps the overall cause. The defense is playing extremely well, especially against the run.

Oct. 4
South Carolina 31 … Ole Miss 24
Chris Smelley threw three touchdown passes including two to Jason Barnes from 20 and six yards out, and he hit Joe Hills for a four-yard score midway through the fourth quarter for a comfortable ten-point Gamecock lead. Ole Miss could only manage a 37-yard Joshua Shene field goal in the second half after putting 21 on the board in the first half on short touchdown runs from Cordera Eason and Dexter McCluster and a 24-yard Brandon Bolden scoring grab.
Player of the game: South Carolina QB Chris Smelley completed 22-of-32 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Chris Smelley, 22-32, 327 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Mike Davis, 19-73. Receiving: Jason Barnes, 7-76, 2 TD
Ole Miss
- Passing: Jevan Snead, 21-32, 243 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Dexter McCluster, 8-40, 1 TD. Receiving: Dexter McCluster, 6-99

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Does South Carolina finally have its quarterback? After a seemingly strange decision to start Chris Smelley over Stephen Garcia against Ole Miss, Smelley came up with a brilliant game and a big road win. Somewhat quietly, the Gamecocks are on a three-game winning streak and can make some real noise with a win at Kentucky next week. First, the running game has to get going again, which might not happen against the Wildcats, while Kenny McKinley, who made four catches for 58 yards, has to get more involved as he gets healthier.

Sept. 27
South Carolina 26 … UAB 13
Stephen Garcia ran for a five-yard score and threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brian Maddox as South Carolina got up 26-6 before UAB finally got into the end zone on a one-yard Joe Webb run in the final seconds. Ryan Succop nailed four field goals for the Gamecocks, while Swayze Waters came up with two 38-yard field goals in the first half for the Blazers. The two teams combined for six turnovers.
Player of the game: South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia completed 13-of-20 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and he ran 18 times for 86 yards and a score.  
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Stephen Garcia, 13-20, 131 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Stephen Garcia, 18-86, 1 TD. Receiving: Jason Barnes, 3-46
- Passing: Joe Webb, 17-28, 140 yds, 2 INT
Joe Webb, 9-22, 1 TD. Receiving: Rashaud Slaughter, 6-39
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... South Carolina needs to sink-or-swim with Stephen Garcia at quarterback. He's young and he's going to make mistakes, but the coaching staff needs to give him time to develop. His mobility alone is worth keeping him under center, he ran for 86 yards against UAB, but the offense needs help from the supporting cast. RB Mike Davis was suspended, and his absence showed. He'll be back for Ole Miss.

Sept. 20
South Carolina 23 ... Wofford 13
South Carolina's offense struggled to score points with the game still in doubt late into the fourth quarter. Chris Smelley finally put the game away with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Dion Lecorn, but it was a struggle. Ryan Succop hit three field goals and Brian Maddox ran for a seven-yard score, but Wofford and its option attack stayed alive with a 50-yard touchdown run from QB Ben Widmyer and two Patrick Mugan field goals.
Player of the game: South Carolina S Emmanuel Cook made 10 tackles
Stat Leaders: Wofford
- Passing: Ben Widmyer, 8-13, 100 yds
Dane Romero, 17-75. Receiving: Andy Strickland, 3-25
South Carolina
- Passing: Chris Smelley, 23-33, 204 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Brian Maddox, 12-52, 1 TD. Receiving: Mike Davis, 6-51

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The offense moved the ball against Wofford, but it couldn't score. Three promising drives ended in field goals and if took a late touchdown to finally put away a vastly inferior opponent. Chris Smelley threw well, but once again interceptions are a problem as he got picked off twice. there's one more chance to get things working with a layup against UAB next week before diving back into SEC play against Ole Miss.

Sept. 13
Georgia 14 ... South Carolina 7
Georgia got two field goals from Blair Walsh in the second quarter and a four-yard Knowshon Moreno touchdown run in the third, and then held on for deal life. South Carolina had two deep drives late, but Mike Davis lost a fumble in the end zone and Reshad Jones snuffed out the final drive with an interception just outside of the goal line. The Gamecocks only gained 18 rushing yards on 16 carries, but the offense outgained the Bulldogs 289 yards to 252.
Player of the game: Georgia DB Asher Allen made six tackles, broke up two passes, and recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Stat Leaders: Georgia
- Passing: Matt Stafford, 15-25, 146 yds
Knowshon Moreno, 20-79, 1 TD. Receiving: A.J. Green, 3-61
South Carolina
- Passing: Chris Smelley, 23-39, 271 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Mike Davis, 12-22. Receiving: Moe Brown, 7-130, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Amazingly enough after the way the first two games went, there was only one interception thrown against the nasty Bulldog defense, coming at the very end. Mike Davis and the running game never got going, but Moe Brown and Jared Cook came up with fantastic games to help out the quarterbacks. Chris Smelley established himself as the best of the quarterback options, even if he wasn't always sharp, but he hung tough and led the offense on two great fourth quarter drives. After a 1-2 start, things ease up with Wofford and UAB up next, and Ole Miss and Kentucky to follow. In other words, this is when the team has to go on a run, and if the D plays like it did against Georgia, it will.

Sept. 4
Vanderbilt 24 ... South Carolina 17
Vanderbilt stunned South Carolina for the second year in a row as Chris Nickson threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Barden and ran for a one-yard score in the third quarter, and Jared Hawkins put the game away with under ten minutes to play on a 13-yard scoring dash. South Carolina's offense was fine at first, with Kenny McKinley catching a 19-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but only managed a 41-yard field goal and a fourth-quarter five-yard touchdown catch from Freddie Brown. The Gamecocks would get one late change, but were forced to punt and Vandy ran out the clock.
Player of the game: Vanderbilt LB Patrick Benoist made 15 tackles, a sack, and two tackles for loss
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Chris Smelley, 23-39, 233 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Mike Davis, 18-80. Receiving: Jared Cook, 8-111
Vanderbilt - Passing: Chris Nickson, 6-13, 90 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jared Hawkins, 17-84, 1 TD. Receiving: Jamie Graham, 3-21
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... South Carolina simply can't stop turning the ball over. The quarterback play was erratic against Vanderbilt, and it didn't help that star WR Kenny McKinley went out hurt, but the real issue was the play of Chris Smelley, who threw two interceptions to go along with 233 yards and two scores. At some point, the team has to be able to count on the quarterback. The one big plus out of the crushing loss was the emergence of tight end Jared Cook with eight catches for 111 yards.

Aug. 28
South Carolina 34 ... NC State 0
In an ugly game with eight turnovers and little passing production, South Carolina held the Wolfpack to 138 yards of total offense while the offense overcame four thrown interceptions from Tommy Beecher. The Gamecocks didn't pull away until the fourth quarter when Chris Smelley, who stepped in for an injured Beecher, hit Dion LeCorn for a 20-yard touchdown and Jared Cook for a 13-yard score. NC State starting QB Russell Wilson, who suffered a concussion and was carted off the field in the first half.
Player of the game: South Carolina S Emanuel Cook made nine tackles and forced a fumble
Stat Leaders: NC State - Passing: Daniel Evans, 4-12, 37 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Andre Brown, 21-101. Receiving: Owen Spencer, 3-27
South Carolina - Passing: Tommy Beecher, 12-22, 106 yds, 4 INT
Rushing: Mike Davis, 14-101, 1 TD. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 6-37
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... And the quarterback controversy keeps on chugging. Before getting hit in the head and being forced to leave the game against NC State, Tommy Beecher struggled too much to make the right reads and to keep from throwing picks, which was a problem this summer in practices. He was also too indecisive holding on to the ball and took too many sacks. Chris Smelley completed all five of his passes with two touchdowns, and now he appears to be the main man going into the Vanderbilt game. If the defense plays like it did against the Wolfpack, there won't be any problems no matter who's under center.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Charles "C.C." Whitlock - ATHLETE - 5-11, 172 - CHESTER, S.C. (CHESTER)
Graduated in December of 2007 from Chester (S.C.) High School and enrolled at Carolina in January... athlete who is capable of playing multiple positions, including wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner... led Chester to the Class AAA State Championship game as a senior... caught 23 passes for 418 yards, an average of 18.2 yards per catch, rushed 77 times for 266 yards with five TDs and completed 58-of-91 passes for 864 yards and 11 touchdowns for coach Victor Floyd... also had 38 tackles and four interceptions... was a first-team All-State selection by the Associated Press and The State, played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and also participated in the ESPN/Under Armour All-Star Game in Orlando where he returned an interception for a touchdown... as a junior, he starred at quarterback and cornerback, receiving first-team all-state and all-region honors after accounting for 26 all-purpose touchdowns... passed for 1,500 yards, rushed for 800 yards and logged five interceptions... Scout.com considers him the 10th-best cornerback in the nation and the third-best player in the Palmetto State... also ran the high hurdles and on the 4x100 meter relay team as a prep... a cousin of former Gamecock Jonathan Joseph, Whitlock also visited Alabama and North Carolina.

Potential Instant Impact Players

Antonio Allen
PREP SCHOOL: Enrolled at Carolina in January after spending the 2007 season at Fork Union Military Academy in Chatham, Va. HIGH SCHOOL: As a high school senior in 2006, earned first-team all-state honors after logging 126 tackles and four interceptions... helped Trinity Catholic High School to a 13-1 season... as a junior, he logged 114 tackles and two interceptions, helping his team win the Florida Class 2B title... a high school teammate of current Gamecock wide receiver Dion Lecorn, Allen was coached by former Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell... was the 75th-best safety prospect in the nation according to Scout.com and was rated the 91st-best player in the state of Florida by SuperPrep... originally signed with South Carolina in the Class of 2007.

Akeem Auguste - Cornerback - 5-11, 180 - HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (CHAMINADE-MADONNA/FORK UNION MILITARY)
PREP SCHOOL: Enrolled at Carolina in January after spending the 2007 season at Fork Union Military Academy. HIGH SCHOOL: Credited with 114 tackles and 10 interceptions in his final two seasons at Chaminade-Madonna High School playing for coach Mark Guandolo... as a senior, he logged 54 tackles and three interceptions, returning two for touchdowns on his way to first-team All-State accolades... was credited with 60 tackles and seven picks along with four touchdowns in the return game as a junior... was considered a four-star recruit and the 31st-best cornerback in the nation by Scout.com and was rated as the 41st-best player in Florida by SuperPrep... originally signed with South Carolina in the Class of 2007

Rest of the Class

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: It's now or never for the Steve Spurrier era. After a rough collapse over the second half of last year losing the final five games, the pressure is on Spurrier to finally show off some more of that magic that made him such a legend in the first place. If everyone stays healthy (a major problem last season), this could be a true SEC title contender with solid replacements for the losses on offense, and ten starters returning on defense, not including LB Jasper Brinkley, who chose to return for his senior year with a knee injury. The first three road games of the year, before mid-November, are at Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Kentucky, but ...
Why to be grouchy: ... the final two games of the year are at Florida and at Clemson. Along with home dates against Georgia and Tennessee, the Gamecocks have to face LSU. Yes, enough talent returns to hope for a much, much better season, but losing RB Cory Boyd won't help the SEC's worst rushing attack, while the health of Jasper Brinkley alone might not be enough to resurrect the league's worst run D.
The number one thing to work on is: Turnover margin. USC gave it away 28 times and only came up with 21 turnovers to finish 101st in the nation in turnover margin. To get through the nasty SEC slate and to have any sort of a shot at winning the SEC East, everyone has to stay healthy, players like QB Chris Smelley have to be better, and there can't be many mistakes. Winning the turnover battle is a major part of that.
Biggest offensive loss: QB Blake Mitchell
Biggest defensive loss: DE Casper Brinkley
Best returning offensive player: WR Kenny McKinley, Sr.
Best returning defensive player:
LB Jasper Brinkley, Sr.

2007 Recap
Recap: On Oct. 19, South Carolina was 6-1, ranked No. 6 in the country, and playing as if it planned on contending for a national championship.  A little more than a month later, the Gamecocks were 6-6 and completely out of the bowl picture after taking the collar in the final five games.  In August, Steve Spurrier proclaimed his program fit to contend for SEC supremacy; however, an inability to run the ball—or stop the run—got in the way of the coach's preseason prophecy.      

Offensive Player of the Year: WR Kenny McKinley

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Eric Norwood

Biggest Surprise: Undercutting No. 11 Georgia in Week 2, 16-12.  Although it may not have been pretty, it was effective, as Spurrier maintained his mastery of the Bulldogs.  The ‘Cocks got three field goals from Ryan Succop and a big effort from the defense, instantly altering expectations for a program that started the season unranked.    

Biggest Disappointment: The complete malfunction down the stretch of the usually stingy defense was too much for the Gamecocks to overcome.  Over the final four games, opponents almost abandoned the run, averaging 38 points and 273 yards rushing a game versus the South Carolina D.         

Looking Ahead: What now?  Last season was supposed to be a breakthrough year for South Carolina, but instead, it'll be remembered for the breakdown in November.  While the defense should rebound, especially if LB Casper Brinkley is afforded a medical redshirt, the offense is still searching for a quarterback that can consistently perform at a high level.


Related Stories
The Daily Anthem... 2/3/09
 -by GamecockAnthem.com  Feb 3, 2009
Spurrier, Beamer thrilled with 2009 class
 -by GamecockAnthem.com  Feb 4, 2009
The Daily Anthem... 2/5/09
 -by GamecockAnthem.com  Feb 5, 2009

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