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2009 CFN South Carolina Preview |
2009 South Carolina
2009 South Carolina
2009 South Carolina
2008 USC Preview |
2007 USC Preview |
Head coach: Steve Spurrier
5th year: 28-21
19th year overall: 162-57-2
Off. 21, Def. 17, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 28
Best USC Players
1. LB Eric Norwood, Sr.
2. SS Darian
3. DT Nathan Pepper, Sr.
4. FS Chris
5. DT Ladi Ajiboye, Jr.
6. QB Stephen
7. LB Rodney Paulk, Jr.
8. RB Jarvis Giles,
9. CB Stephon Gilmore, Fr.
10. OT Jarriel King, Jr.
9/3 at NC
2009 Record: 0-0
9/12 at Georgia
9/19 Florida Atlantic
9/24 Ole Miss
10/3 SC State
10/17 at Alabama
10/31 at Tennessee
11/7 at Arkansas
11/21 OPEN DATE
CFN Prediction: 8-4
2008 Record: 7-6
NC State W 34-0
9/4 at Vanderbilt L
9/13 Georgia L 14-7
9/20 Wofford W 23-13
9/27 UAB W 26-13
10/4 at Ole Miss W 31-24
10/11 at Kentucky W
10/18 LSU L 24-17
10/25 OPEN DATE
11/1 Tennessee W 27-6
11/8 Arkansas W 34-21
11/15 at Florida L 56-6
11/22 OPEN DATE
11/29 at Clemson L 31-14
1/1 Iowa L 31-10
The grand experiment hasn't exactly worked so
far, with South Carolina going 28-21 in four years under Steve Spurrier,
and while the national expectations might be low after so much
mediocrity, the pieces are there for this to be a very interesting, if
not special season.
There simply hasn't been any consistency. The
offense that was supposed to start to blow up under the Ball Coach, has
been inconsistent at times, flat-out stagnant at others, and there
hasn't been a whole bunch of funnin' or gunnin' to suggest that 1994
Florida is all of a sudden going to be reincarnated.
been turnovers, lots and lots of turnovers, and sacks, sacks, and more
sacks. Worst of all, the O got progressively worse as last year went on,
and then nothing worked over the final three games of the season as the
Gamecocks got outscored 118 to 30 by Florida, Clemson, and Iowa.
Meanwhile, the defense that has put up some great stats under
Spurrier has been a bit of a mirage. It's been great against the average
offenses, but against the better teams it has had problems. Part of the
reason is because of the lack of offensive help, and part of the reason
is that it hasn't always been good enough in the big games.
now the program has some strange and tough questions it'll have to
answer if this isn't the big turnaround year the patient Gamecock fans
have been waiting so long for. How much more time does South Carolina
give Spurrier if he's not getting the job done, and more to the point,
how does the program fire Steve Spurrier if it's time to move on? He's
Steve Spurrier. USC has fired
legendary names before, like Lou Holtz, but that wasn't considered a big
deal since the program was having major problems and controversies at
the end of his tenure.
USC hasn't been bad under
Spurrier; it just hasn't been great.
In Year Five, this is
Spurrier's team and Spurrier's program. A full recruiting cycle will
have run its course, and he has done a good job of incorporating new,
young players into the mix in a hurry. This year, he has the pieces in
place to finally win and have the team he wants, but the holes are
First, nothing happens unless the O line is better. A
nightmare over the last two years in pass protection, everything breaks
down when the Spurrier quarterbacks are getting popped. There are too
many mistakes, no running game to fall back on, and not enough big plays
to make up for the errors.
Next, the cornerbacks have to be
fantastic right out of the box. With the loss of three key defensive
backs from last year, USC needs true freshman Stephon Gilmore and
relatively untested sophomore Akeem Auguste to play like stars right
And then there's the quarterback situation. The quick hook
and the quirky rotations that worked so well at times throughout
Spurrier's career killed last season's offensive production. Yes, the
line had a lot to do with that, but none of the quarterbacks were ever
allowed to make a mistake, getting yanked far too quickly. This year,
that won't be a question with Stephen Garcia the No. 1, and there won't
be a No. 1A to push for the job. Garcia has to be able to have a
meltdown stretch now and then.
No, this isn't going an SEC East
title season, but it could be the type of year that shows that there
might be some life in Spurrier and the program going forward. At the
very least, South Carolina football will be more interesting than last
year, and it'll likely be far more relevant.
What to watch for on offense: The
running backs. The receivers need to find a No. 1 target to replace
Kenny McKinley, the veteran line has to be night-and-day better, and
Garcia has to step up and play up to his talent level. But the Gamecocks
need a running game, too. It's easy to forget that Spurrier's great
Florida teams could run as well as pass, and now he has some good young
backs to work with. True freshman Jarvis Giles is the gamebreaker
missing from the attack since Spurrier arrived, while Eric Baker can
also move. Brian Maddox will be a serviceable back to do the dirty work
while Giles and Baker get the limelight. The nation's 112th ranked
running game will be far better.
What to watch for on defense: The corners. The secondary will be
fine with the loss of leading tackler Emmanuel Cook, who left early to
go to the NFL; Darian Stewart might be a better player at strong safety.
However, losing Stoney Woodson and Captain Munnerlyn, who also bolted
early, could be a killer for the nation's No. 2 pass defense. Gilmore is
going to be an all-star, but it's asking way too much for him to be a
shut-down SEC star right away. Auguste has good potential, but if he
isn't great, the defense is going to have a large hole it won't be able
The team will be far better if … the turnovers stop, or at
least slow down. The team isn't good enough to get blasted in the
turnover battle every week, and it's amazing the Gamecocks were able to
get out to a 7-3 record with all the mistakes. The 27 interceptions
thrown were two more than SMU, finishing last in the nation by far,
while the 38 turnovers ties Washington State for dead-last. If the
Gamecocks can merely be dead-even in turnover margin they'll have a big
After the way last year ended, South Carolina needs a
hot start but that could be a problem going to NC State to start
and with a trip to Georgia to follow. If that wasn't
bad enough, Ole Miss comes to Columbia for the second conference
game. There's a tough stretch of three road games in four weeks
facing Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas wrapped around a date
with Vanderbilt. Just when the Gamecocks are getting over their
toughest stretch of the year, they get Florida. On the plus
side, there's a week off between the Gator game and the rivalry
showdown against Clemson.