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2010 South Carolina Preview – Offense
South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery
South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery
Posted Jul 29, 2010 2010 Preview - South Carolina Gamecock Offense

South Carolina Gamecocks

Preview 2010 - Offense

- 2010 South Carolina Preview | 2010 South Carolina Offense
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- South Carolina Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

What You Need To Know: Steve Spurrier will be calling the plays again, but the spotlight will be on former Appalachian State assistant Shawn Elliott as he tries to make chicken salad out of chicken sh … feathers on an offensive line that has specialized in allowing the quarterback to get flattened over the last three years. The backfield is there with star RB recruit Marcus Lattimore added to a mix of good-looking runners, and QB Stephen Garcia returns as the likely star of the show, but there will be more of a zone-read running scheme added to the mix this year making true freshman Connor Shaw a major factor in the quarterback rotation. The big receiving corps, led by sophomores Alshon Jeffery, D.L. Moore, and Tori Gurley, could be the strength of the offense and can’t be forgotten about as the attack tries to do more on the ground.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Stephen Garcia
239-432, 2,862 yds, 17 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Kenny Miles
117 carries, 626 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Alshon Jeffery
46 catches, 763 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Junior QB Stephen Garcia
Player who has to step up and be a star: The entire offensive line
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR D.L. Moore
Best pro prospect: Freshman RB Marcus Lattimore
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Garcia, 2) Lattimore, 3) WR Alshon Jeffery
Strength of the offense: Receiver Size, Running Back
Weakness of the offense: Offensive Line, Blocking


Projected Starter: Over the last few years, everything has been pointing to junior Stephen Garcia becoming the main man for the South Carolina program. As a top recruit with 6-2, 230-pound size, good mobility, a live arm, and a nasty streak for good on the field and bad off of it (getting suspended off and on early in his career), he has been fine so far, but not great. He only completed 55% of his throws for 2,862 yards and 17 touchdowns with ten interceptions last season, but he eight of his picks over the final eight games with one give away in each of those but one. To be fair, he didn’t have a chance behind a line that gave him no time whatsoever to operate, but he’ll be on a short leash this year if the offense doesn’t start to produce under his watch. While he can run, gaining 186 yards and four touchdowns, he’s not a perfect fit for all the things the offense is going to want to do this year. Even so, he’s not the problem with the offense and the more time he gets to work, the better he’ll be.

Projected Top Reserves:
True freshman Connor Shaw isn’t the typical Steve Spurrier-like passer, but he’s not supposed to be. The 6-0, 199-pounder is a dual-threat playmaker with a decent, accurate arm and excellent speed. He’s the right guy for the Gamecock zone-read attack with good quickness through the hole and the mobility to get recruited by Georgia Tech to run the option, he’ll likely be thrown into the mix as a Wildcat runner as well as a change-up to Stephen Garcia.

6-2, 225-pound redshirt freshman Andrew Clifford is a gunner who’ll be brought in, if he’s brought in, to push the ball down the field. He’s not a runner, but he has a big presence and isn’t going to be afraid to take a few chances with his passing if given a chance. He might not fit the new style, but he’s a good prospect to keep an eye on.

Zac Brindise , the brother of former Florida starter, Noah, walked on to the team a few years ago and has been a scout teamer. He knows the offense and he knows just enough to be an emergency quarterback if desperately needed. At 6-1 and 205 pounds, the junior isn’t big and he’s not a bomber, but he’s strong in practices.

Watch Out For … Shaw. Is he being dangled out there to motivate Garcia to do even more? Probably not, but he’s definitely going to be in the hunt for playing time as more as a message being sent by the coaching staff; he’s a runner who fits.
Strength: Garcia’s experience. He’s the dean of SEC quarterbacks in time logged, but he hasn’t been given an honest chance to show all he can do considering the disaster of a line in front of him. There’s a chance he might be the league’s best quarterback if he can get a little time.
Weakness: Back up experience. Spurrier is never afraid of throwing a few wrenches into the machine, but if Shaw, a true freshman, is in, there will be some nervous moments.
Outlook: Garcia is a top talent who has had to try to do everything to make a floundering offense go. If given help, he should be a major-league producer. However, the offense is going to want more running from the quarterback and Garcia’s not the right fit meaning there might be an even split at times between him and Shaw.
Unit Rating: 8

Running Backs

Projected Starters: There’s plenty of experience returning in the backfield, but all the veterans might have to politely step aside for Marcus Lattimore, arguably the nation’s top running back recruit with all the speed, quickness, and talent to be a special playmaker from Day One. At 5-11 and 215 pounds he has nice size and plenty of production running for 6,375 yards and 104 touchdowns in high school, and he has good enough hands to be used as a receiver, too. There’s a chance he could be the focal point of the attack from the moment he steps on the field.

Is he a tight end or a fullback? Senior Patrick DiMarco ran for 31 yards and caught 14 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown as a starter in the backfield, but now he’ll be used in a variety of roles. At 6-1 and 234 pounds he’s built to be a blocker, but he’ll also be the starting tight end at times to use his decent hands and good route-running ability as a safety-valve receiver.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Kenny Miles is the team’s leading returning rusher gaining 626 yards and a touchdown with a 5.4 yard-per-carry average. He wasn’t really a workhorse, with 18 carries his biggest workload, and he cranked out three 100-yard days. However, he disappeared at times failing to get a carry in the first two games and didn’t get the ball against Florida late in the year. At 5-9 and 187 yards he’s small and quick, but he’ll likely be more of a specialist back with Marcus Lattimore the star of the backfield.

Senior Brian Maddox is a solid, serviceable back who finished second on the team with 307 yards rushing, but led the way with six scores on the ground. At 5-10 and 230 pounds he’s a bit more of a thumper who brings good power and decent hands with 17 catches for 135 yards and two scores. There’s little wiggle to his game and he’s not going to tear off any big runs, but he’s a reliable blocker and will be good for 8-to-10 touches a game.

Before Marcus Lattimore arrived, it could be argued that sophomore Jarvis Giles was the team’s most talented back. The 5-11, 185-pounder is a slasher and a speedster who has torn up the Gamecock defense from time to time in practices. However, he has a hip problem he’s trying to get over and he only gained 277 yards and a touchdown last season as a true freshman. He ran for 113 yards against Florida Atlantic and has shown flashes, but he could be lost in the shuffle.

Watch Out For … Lattimore. You don’t keep the Ferrari in the garage. The true freshman would be the likely starter for about 100 other teams and was a huge get for Spurrier and his staff. He could blow up in the zone-read attack.
Strength: Talent. It’s not going overboard to call Lattimore one of the SEC’s most talented backs (with all due respect to the talent in the Alabama backfield) before he has logged his first official carry. Miles and Maddox are decent veterans, and Giles can play if he’s healthy and given a little room.
Weakness: The offensive line. South Carolina was last in the SEC in rushing for a reason. The running backs are solid, but they had almost no room to run whatsoever.
Outlook: It’ll be interesting to see just how much the backs are able to do with a hole to run through. The idea is to get the quarterback on the move a bit more in the offensive change-up and get the backs in space, and Lattimore, Miles, and Giles have the wheels and the wiggle to be fantastic, while Maddox is ultra-reliable. They can all catch.
Unit Rating: 7.5


Projected Starters: It took about half of the season before true freshman Alshon Jeffery took over, and then he became one of the SEC’s best young receivers. The 6-4, 237-pound sophomore has tremendous size, good hands, and home-run hitting ability with an 80-yard touchdown against Arkansas and a team-leading 16.6 yards per grab. Explosive after he took over, he led the way with 46 catches for 763 yards and six touchdowns with three of them coming against Kentucky. He’ll be the team’s No. 1 target from the start and will be used even more around the goal line.

Sophomore Tori Gurley fits the current mold of the big, strong Gamecock receiver at 6-5 and 230 pounds. With tight end size and nice route running ability, he’s a tough matchup with the toughness to shake off smaller defensive backs and just enough speed to be a solid mid-range threat. He finished fourth on the team with 31 catches for 440 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 14.2 yards per grab, and he’ll get even more work this year as both a receiver and a blocker. He does the little things needed and isn’t afraid to get dirty.

About to emerge as a major factor is sophomore D.L. Moore, one of the stars of spring ball with good size, nice deep speed, and a world of upside. At 6-4 and 198 pounds, he’s a big target who can block a little bit and has enough experience to be ready to come in as a third option after catching seven passes for 99 yards and a score. There’s a chance he can destroy single coverage with so much attention paid to the rest of the corps.

While fullback Patrick DiMarco will spend plenty of time at tight end, more often than not it’ll be the massive 6-6, 273-pound Weslye Saunders who’ll see time after finishing third on the team with 32 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns … as long as he doesn’t get in any trouble with the NCAA after going to a questionable party thrown by an agent. Almost like a third tackle who can move just enough to get open in the passing game on a regular basis, he gouged Georgia for eight catches for 96 yards and became a factor over the second half of the year with two catches or more in six of the last seven games.

Projected Top Reserves: Dion LeCorn was supposed to be the new star of the show last season, but he broke his ankle in spring ball, came back to see a little time catching four passes for 27 yards, and suffered a setback which cost him the rest of the season. A former safety, he made a seamless transition to the receiving corps making 41 catches for 421 yards and five scores in two seasons, and it was going to be his time to shine before getting hurt. The 6-0, 211-pound senior is tough, physical, and will be a key part of the rotation.

6-4, 206-pound Jason Barnes has 17 career starts under his belt and 54 career grabs for 667 yards and two touchdowns, and he’ll be a solid veteran in the mix. The junior has excellent size and is reliable enough to be used at any of the receiver spots. He might not be a No. 1 target, but he’ll make some big catches from time to time.

Watch Out For … Moore. There’s no question that Jeffery is the star of the moment and Gurley is big target who deserves more throws his way, but Moore has the potential to grow into the special star of the lot. He has the look of a major-league receiver.
Strength: Size. This group is HUGE. Jeffery is 6-4 and 237 pounds, Gurley is 6-5 and 230 pounds, and Moore is 6-4 and 198 pounds. Throw in the 6-4, 206-pound Barnes and the 6-0, 211-pound LeCorn, who might be the most physical of the bunch, and the Gamecocks will be pushing some secondaries around.
Weakness: The change to the offense. Will the zone-read scheme kill the passing game? Probably not, but with the addition of star RB Marcus Lattimore and with more running expected from the quarterbacks, the attention might be taken away a bit from the great young targets.
Outlook: This is a very big, very good-looking young receiving corps with Jeffery, Gurley, and Moore forming a sophomore foundation for the Gamecock passing game. This trio needs more passes thrown their way and could grow into something special with more time. However, don’t be shocked if the growth is stunted a bit if the focus of the attack changes.
Unit Rating: 7

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: After so many problems over the last few seasons, the line will be undergoing some major changes to try to generate some production. Step one will be to hope that sophomore T.J. Johnson can make the change from right guard, where he started in every game last year, to center after growing into one of the team’s lone bright spots up front. At 6-5 and 305 pounds he has excellent size and is physical enough to be a potential dominator for the ground game. He’s smart enough to grow into a star in the middle as he takes over for Garrett Anderson.

With Johnson moving over, senior Terrence Campbell, who got a sixth year of eligibility, will step in at right guard after missing most of last year hurt with a shoulder problem. He started two games on the left side before getting hurt, but he’s better suited to the right side where he started most of 2008. The former defensive lineman isn’t huge at 6-3 and 283 pounds, but he’s a nice blocker with enough experience to provide an instant upgrade to the line. Staying healthy will be a big key, though, after having several injury problems.

Junior Kyle Nunn started got seven starts last season at left tackle and he struggled. At 6-6 and 304 pounds he has the size and he had some decent moments for the ground game, but he’ll start at right tackle after having too many problems against the quicker pass rushers. He’s strong enough to become more physical, but keeping the quarterback upright will be the key to his playing time.

6-5, 310-pound Jarriel King is versatile enough to play either guard or tackle, and he’ll be used at left tackle to start out the year after getting the call six times including the first four games of the year. The former JUCO transfer came to the team as a defensive lineman and made the switch over, and while he’s a veteran blocker now, he needs to be far, far better in pass protection and has to use his power more to bury the smaller linemen.

Senior Garrett Chisolm isn’t a special blocker, but the former walk-on has gone from a nice practice player to the starting left guard. At 6-6 and 299 pounds he’s built more like a tackle, and got a look at right tackle early on in spring ball, but the former JUCO transfer isn’t quick enough for the outside. He’ll be part of a rotation.

Projected Top Reserves At 6-6 and 287 pounds, senior Hutch Eckerson isn’t all that big but he has seen plenty of action with 15 starts over the last two seasons. He’ll start out the year as part of a rotation at right tackle, if he doesn’t win the job outright, but he could potentially move to the left side if absolutely needed. He’s a good athlete who could shine if he’s allowed to get on the move a bit more in the zone-read offense.

Rokevious Watkins was expected to be the starting right guard when spring ball began, but he suffered a shoulder injury and now will be part of a rotation before he likely takes over the gig outright. At 6-4 and 319 pounds he’s a huge blocker who fits what the offense needs, but the JUCO transfer doesn’t have any FBS experience. The junior will likely be a key starter over the next two seasons once he’s healthy.

Junior Quintin Richardson got five starts last year including time in the first four games, but he’ll have to fight to get back playing time after suffering a shoulder injury. At 6-4 and 276 pounds he’s light, but he’s an agile blocker who moves well and could be exactly what the offensive front needs. He’ll be in the hunt for the left tackle job but can be moved around where needed.

Watch Out For … A depth chart written in pencil. One of the worst offensive lines in the SEC over the last few seasons will undergo yet another season of shuffling to try to find the right pieces of the puzzle to fit together. It might take a little while.
Strength: Experience. There are plenty of options for the coaching staff to play around with. Four starters are back from last year’s line and there are a few others with starting experience who can be folded into the mix, so while it might take a little while to find the right combination, everyone will know what they’re doing.
Weakness: Blocking. The line has given up 107 sacks over the last three seasons and didn’t do nearly enough to blast away for the running game. The backfield hasn’t had much of a chance to show what it could do.
Outlook: If there’s any one reason the Steve Spurrier experiment hasn’t worked, the offensive line has been it. Injuries were a problem in the past, but last year the line was simply bad. It’ll be another year of trying to find the right combination and another year of tinkering as new coach Shawn Elliott tries to find something that works. On the plus side, the experience across the board should translate into more production … finally.
Unit Rating: 5.5

- 2010 South Carolina Preview | 2010 South Carolina Offense
- 2010 South Carolina Defense | 2010 South Carolina Depth Chart
- South Carolina Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006