After a 31-10 drubbing in the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes, the South Carolina Gamecocks concluded the 2008 season with a crash.
The Gamecocks were 7-3, but slipped to 7-6 in a span of three games. Heading into 2009, South Carolina has a completely new coaching staff.
The Gamecocks also have to find a new quarterback, build an offensive line, and find offensive playmakers. Additionally, Carolina must find a true running game.
The schedule will be tough again this year, and Spurrier must produce. The Gamecocks will open things up in the capital city of North Carolina, Raleigh; home of the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The Gamecocks also play four top-15 teams and nine bowl teams. In the opening of spring practice, the Gamecocks have a clear-cut starter as quarterback, Stephen Garcia.
The whole team will be in crisis if Garcia cannot produce. G.A. Mangus promises to coach him good. The Gamecocks lose the most at cornerback. Captain Munnerlyn, Carlos Thomas, Stoney Woodson, and the heroic Emmanuel Cook are gone.
Carolina does return a heck of a lot at the Defensive Line, though. All-American Eric Norwood, will be the leader of the defense in 2009.
The Gamecocks return 12 starters from last year's Outback Bowl team. Here are the seven questions South Carolina needs to answer in spring, summer and early fall practice.
1.Can Garcia produce at the Quarterback position? Who can step up as a backup?
2.Will the Offensive Line toughen up? Will it have a new fire in its eyes with new Coordinator Eric Wolford?
3.Who will replace Kenny McKinley as Wide Receiver? Which Players will rise?
4. Who will replace the Mike Davis as primary ballcarrier?
5.Who will play at cornerback? Can the fabulous foursome of Captain Munnerlyn, Carlos Thomas, Stoney Woodson and Emmanuel Cook be replaced?
6.Will the Young players step up? Will any Freshman or Sophomore take a stand for the team?
7.Who are the assistant coaches? How will the players react to the assistant coaches?
Hope you enjoy the show. Please leave comments and Questions!
1.Can Garcia produce at the Quarterback position?
If Stephen Garcia can go a FULL spring and summer without getting in trouble, and become fully dedicated member of the team, he has a better shot a being a relevant passer.
Spurrier said Garcia was distracted by other things and wanted him to study more film. G.A Magnus and Steve Spurrier can coach his talent, but Garcia himself must become more dedicated.
Stephen must realize it is high school fun no more. Spurrier and Mangus are making shotgun formations for the mobile Stephen Garcia. For short, Garcia must stay out of trouble, get a full training, and become more dedicated to film study.
Who will be the backup, is another popular question for spring practice. Zac Brinside, Reid McCollum, and Armis Hillary are some backups in the race. I would like to see Reid McCollum or Armis Hillary as backup.
If Garcia cannot produce, it will be hard to get an eight-plus win team out of the Gamecocks.
2. Will the offensive line toughen up?
The first step to having a good offense is having a good O-Line, so you can get the plays off and allows the Quarterback to throw to his Receivers and the running backs run.
Hopefully, Eric Wolford is not a John Hunt; who coached the previous disappointing Offensive Lines.
This year, the Gamecocks blocking schemes allow the lineman to push back the Defensive Lineman and not just trying to hold there ground; John Hunt’s thing last year.
Eric Wolford should not be another John Hunt, which does not know how to coach an offensive line. If Wolford teaches the Gamecocks how to block, it could be a very exciting season.
3. Who will replace Kenny McKinley? Who will break out on offense?
This needs to be answered during practice. Wesulye Saunders will act as Jared Cook of last year, who caught a lot of the passes although he was not even a wideout.
Jason Barnes and Moe Brown are the top candidates to fill McKinley’s shoes. Joe hills and Freddie Brown still have plenty to prove. Dion Lecorn could return to his form of 2006, as a secondary Wide Receiver.
Last year, the WR staff got another year of experience and I expect the WR corps to be pretty good this year.
4. Who will be the ball carrier?
Who will replace Mike Davis as the ball carrier? The Gamecocks have hired a new running backs coach, Jay Graham; former assistant at Miami Ohio. Jay’s playing days was with the Tennessee Vols.
The chase is wide open; Brian Maddox and Eric Baker are the most experienced players of the group. Kenny Miles is a redshirt freshman that has not been proven in a game. The excitement comes out of freshman, Jarvis Jiles; out of Tampa, FL.
He is already on campus and has good size and attributes.
Jiles is dealing with a turf toe right now.
5. Who will play at cornerback?
This question is just unknown until after spring and summer training. Returning of notice this season is Addison Williams and Chris Culliver. Captain Munnerlyn, Carlos Thomas, Stoney Woodson, and Emmanuel Cook will not be easy to replace.
6.Will the recruits make instant contributions?
This is a question that I can’t make much prediction on. For instance, Alabama’s recruiting class played a huge role in its Sugar Bowl run in 2008.
Last year, South Carolina’s recruiting class did not seem to play much role This will be answered in the spring. South Carolina did have a top-15 class this year and has a young team, so don't feel surprised to see many young contributors.
7. Who are these assistant coaches? How will the players react?
The assistants are G.A Mangus, (Quarterbacks) Jay Graham, (Running Backs),Craig Fitzgerald, (Strength), Lorenzo Ward, (Defensive Coach) Offensive Line coach, Eric Wolford and Tight Ends Coach “Jeep” Hunter. All of the new assistants seem to be great.
I think this is Spurrier’s best assistant class. The players should adjust well to them, because a college player has to make so many adjustments with assistants anyway.
I think Spurrier can have success with South Carolina. Steve Spurrier has been trying very hard at South Carolina. He has improved facilites, and led us to gradual success.
He has improved our winning.
He has been one of the greatest coaches beside Joe Morrinson. Just take a look at our winning history. Spurrier can lead us to an SEC Championship, January bowl games, and Top 25 rankings.
But there are a few things he lacks. He lacks a quarterback. He also lacks an offensive line. He lacks a truly good offense as a whole. Offense is what Spurrier lives and breathes.
If South Carolina can find an offense, they can seriously rip the top of this place. What we need is an offense. If South Carolina finds an offense this year, you can be looking at one great team.
Steve Spurrier also has a great coaching staff. Give him an offense and you will see numbers. Go Cocks!
2009 South Carolina Football Schedule
Apr.11 Garnet vs. Black spring Game
Sept. 3 at North Carolina State
Sept. 12 at Georgia
Sept. 19 Florida Atlantic
Sept. 26 Mississippi
Oct. 3 South Carolina State
Oct. 10 Kentucky
Oct. 17 at Alabama
Oct. 24 Vanderbilt
Oct. 31 at Tennessee
Nov. 7 at Arkansas
Nov. 14 Florida
Nov. 28 Clemson
How many wins do you think?