Friday, August 27, 2010
SEC 2010-South Carolina Gamecocks
2009 Record: 7-6 (3-5)
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier (6th season, 35-28...177-68-2 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Spurrier
Defensive Coordinator: Ellis Johnson (6th season) and Lorenzo Ward (2nd season)
2009 Bowl Game: Papa John's Bowl, lost to UConn 20-7
Offense: This group was highly average last season. What happened to the free for all, crazy offenses that ran the fun and gun in Gainesville during the Spurrier glory years? They seem to be long gone, mired in the mediocrity that has been Gamecock football for years now. Stephen Garcia is back at QB, and is serviceable at best, especially when he isn't in the dog house. He has been slow to read defenses, and therefore he gets sacked often. It won't help that both guards must be replaced in 2010. If Garcia gets rid of the ball on time, and the new guards work out, than Carolina can finely get moving. Kenny Miles returns at TB, but that position has not been productive in a while. Enter freshman Marcus Lattimore from high school powerhouse Byrnes in South Carolina. Lattimore is widely ranked as the #1 prospect in the country entering 2010. Alshon Jeffrey is a huge target, but isn't very fast. Jason Byrnes also starts, and is also a great big target, as is potential starter Tori Gurley. TE Weslye Saunders was headed towards a big season, but was suspended indefinately during the early part of fall camp.
Defense: SC runs a 4-2-5 set, and it works pretty well. The Gamecocks ranked 15th nationally in total defense last season. The CB position is in very good hands with break out sophomore Stephon Gilmore lining up with Chris Culliver. Gilmore may be one of the best CBs in the nation. Akeem Auguste returns at FS, with sophomore DeVonte Holloman looking to grab the SS spot. Holloman is said to be a player priming to have a big break out season himself. He and Gilmore are former high school teammates. The line returns two starters with DE Cliff Matthews and DT Ladi Ajiboye. Matthews is considered to be a prime DE in the SEC. Shaq Wilson returns at LB, but is undersized for the position. Antonio Allen returns as the Spur Back.
Special Teams: Spencer Lanning will handle both PK and P duties as he did a year ago. He averaged over 42 yards per punt, and made 17 of 20 FGs, so I'd say that the arrangement works.
Wins: 9/18 Furman, 10/16 @ Kentucky, 10/23 @ Vanderbilt, 11/20 Troy
Toss Up Games: 9/2 Southern Mississippi, 9/11 Georgia, 9/25 @ Auburn, 10/30 Tennessee, 11/27 @ Clemson
Losses: 10/9 Alabama, 11/6 Arkansas, 11/13 @ Florida
Looking at this slate, the best one can expect from South Carolina in 2010 is 9 wins. That's at best. At worst, this team is completetly capable of imploding. The defense will save the day and keeo the Gamecocks for completely sliding into oblivion, so most of these games will be close. Never take the over on this team.
Outlook: It's foggy for SC right now. I am not impressed by Stephen Garcia, and neither is Steve Spurrier, but he's the best that they have right now. Shockingly, Spurrier has not gone out and recruited a mega star type QB, but I guess there are other locales that bring in the better recruits. The defense looks strong in the secondary, but has some questions up front. Having to play Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas all in the same season really hurts their chances at competeing for the SEC East, as does the fact that the talent, specifically on offense, does not match up to Florida. Look for Lattimore to really have an impact at TB.