South Carolina Football Coaching Changes: Introducing the New Gamecock Coaches
South Carolina entered the offseason hoping to avoid many coaching losses.
They did a fairly decent job of doing so.
The biggest disappointment was losing assistant head coach Ellis Johnson to Southern Mississippi, where he will be the head coach. Other vacancies included the running backs, linebackers and special teams coaching positions.
While three out of the four positions were filled with lesser known coaches, Steve Spurrier has proven to be a great judge of coaching talent.
These men have been trusted with coaching players during one of South Carolina's most hyped years ever—2012 could be a turning point in the program.
So who did the Head Ball Coach give the keys to?
Let's introduce your new South Carolina Gamecock coaches.
Defensive Coordinator: Lorenzo Ward
Technically, Ward has held the title of defensive coordinator since 2009. However, we know who the true defensive coordinator was.
Steve Spurrier played it safe, giving total control of the defense to Ward before the bowl game. Ward responding by calling possibly the finest defensive game of the year during the Capital One bowl, holding the Nebraska offense to well under its usual production.
He's played in the SEC for Alabama, and he's coached under Bobby Petrino, Frank Beamer and Steve Spurrier. He's also a student of the Ellis Johnson school.
He fits the mold and will not make many changes to an already stellar defensive unit.
Special Teams: Joe Robinson
Steve Spurrier hit a home run by nabbing the 2010 special teams coordinator of the year, Joe Robinson from LSU.
He has a wide range of coaching experience. He's worked with the defense in Arizona and with the defensive line at LSU.
LSU has had one of the best special teams units in each of his three years there. South Carolina is looking to make huge strides in special teams. Joe Robinson is the man for the job. He will also coach the Gamecocks tight ends.
Running Backs: Everette Sands
Everette Sands is a high energy coach.
He most recently was the running backs coach at NC State and garnered rave reviews in that position. The fans are truly upset to lose him.
He coached the running backs at the Citadel from 2005-2010. More impressive than his coaching resume are his individual rushing records he set as a player for The Citadel. He was the second all-time leading rusher for the Bulldogs.
And, he never lost a fumble.
But, there is a more impressive stat—he never lost a yard.
He is also a high-quality recruiter. Players love him and he will have one of the best jobs in the SEC. Coaching Marcus Lattimore and company will be fairly easy, one would think.
Linebackers: Kirk Botkin
As an SEC player who has experience as a coach and NFL player, Botkin fits well into the mold of an SEC coach.
He coached at Arkansas as a defensive ends and special teams coach from 2008-2010. He then left Arkansas to coach at Texas High School.
Many Gamecock fans are disappointed in some of these hires. They aren't all what you would call "big names," except for Joe Robinson.
However, they all have one thing in common—they are high in character, high in energy and have had experience as players and coaches.
Steve Spurrer has a great deal of faith in this group, and I feel that they are prepared to be the best staff the Gamecocks have ever had.