It is finally time to start college football, and what better way to kick things off in Columbia, South Carolina other than an opening win versus Vanderbilt.
This offseason has been a good one for the Gamecocks.
Steve Spurrier landed the signing of Shaq Roland in February, Connor Shaw’s development and the return of Marcus Lattimore from an ACL injury all show signs of going up.
After a successful fall practice, it’s time to finally put it all together against Vanderbilt tonight. The Gamecock offense enters the season with the most expectations and need a huge night in order for a win to happen.
Here are the three keys for the Gamecocks offense to succeed against Vanderbilt tonight:
1. If Marcus shows signs of the old, let him punish the Vanderbilt defense.
Marcus Lattimore tore his ACL last season versus Mississippi State, but after a 10 month recovery period, it appears he’s back and ready to go.
When healthy, he’s one of the best backs in the nation.
Let him get his feet wet and adjusted to the game. If everything goes right, it could possibly be a long night for Vanderbilt.
2. The offensive line must do their job, too.
In order for Lattimore to do his part, the offensive line have to give him more help more than anything for this game. If Lattimore can run through the holes provided, then everything else will take care of itself.
For pass protection, the offensive line must let Connor Shaw buy time. If he has the protection to pass, it will make way for him to scramble, too.
3. Let Bruce Ellington and Ace Sanders run wild.
If Bruce Ellington and Ace Sanders can get open on their receiving routes, the Vanderbilt secondary might be scratching their heads after the first few catches and will be figuring out how to match up against the two speedsters.
Given that Ellington is behind Sanders on the depth chart, if he’s in the game, he will be the slot and Sanders will line up on the outside. But the great thing about Ellington is his ability to play multiple positions.
Run the Wildcat package for Ellington to let him make plays.
Meanwhile, on the receiving end, Sanders must make plays—whether he’s on the outside or inside.
So all dimensions of the offense must connect tonight. If all three are executed, the game should be a breeze for the Gamecocks.