South Carolina Football: Why the Offense Will Catch Up to the Defense in 2013
Steve Spurrier is known for his offensive wizardry, but his success at South Carolina has come on the defensive side of the football. In 2013 the magic will return as the offense is set to catch up with the defense for the Gamecocks.
Key players will return for the Gamecocks at the skill positions and all but one offensive lineman will return in 2013. The future is very bright for this South Carolina offense.
Spurrier will have the most talented offense since his tenure began in Columbia to start next season. The Gamecocks will enter the new year in the Top 10, and these five offensive keys are how South Carolina gets there.
Playmakers Return on the Outside
Entering 2013 the Gamecocks will have a number of options for Connor Shaw to hook up with in the passing game. Ace Sanders will be a rising senior and explosive freshman Shaq Roland will have a year of experience under his belt.
Bruce Ellington and Damiere Byrd are will be rising juniors, who've combined for 35 catches and 669 yards this year.
Connor Shaw has been nursing a bum throwing shoulder all this year; he has still managed to find 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air, and a big part of that success has been due to the skill players that the Gamecocks have on their roster.
This talent will continue to get better with the outside hitting full speed by next season.
Connor Shaw Returns
Connor Shaw will be a senior in 2013, completing what seems like a decade at South Carolina. Shaw has played all three years for the Gamecocks with his senior year ending in the best possible way.
Shaw is surrounded by talent on the outside and will stand behind a veteran offensive line. With the backfield surrounding him full of playmakers, Shaw has every weapon needed to help this Gamecocks offense make another SEC title run.
Even after a shoulder injury in the first week against Vanderbilt sidelined him for a few games, Shaw has managed to be prolific through the air—completing 66.3 percent of his passes—and has rushed for the second-most yards on the team this year.
With a full offseason to heal, Shaw should return better than ever for his final year at South Carolina.
Offensive Line Returns All but One
South Carolina C T.J. Johnson
Mary Ann Chastain/Getty Images
The South Carolina Gamecocks are marching to another big year with a 10-win finish in sight. A big part of the success has been the progression of the Gamecocks along the offensive line.
The front five has three underclassmen, a junior and a senior taking the field this year. Senior T.J. Johnson will be the lone departure along the line heading into the 2013 season.
A team that wins in the trenches will win big on the scoreboard. This South Carolina squad is set to have a strong offensive front full of experience next year. As the group continues to gel they could become the premier offensive unit in the conference next year.
Freshman Mike Davis Shows Promise
South Carolina knows the name Mike Davis. Davis was a running back for the Gamecocks from 2005-2008, but this Davis will be better than the first.
Freshman Mike Davis has stepped in at times this season for Marcus Lattimore, helping share the load of the running game before Lattimore’s season-ending injury.
Now Davis is the guy for South Carolina, and a 13-carry, 53-yard and one-touchdown performance against Arkansas shows he is ready to get more touches.
Davis earned 4.1 yards per carry against Arkansas, and he has seven games with more than four yards per carry. As he continues to pick up carries in the final three games of the year, Davis will add a new dimension to the Carolina backfield for next season.
Tight End Output Returns to 2009-Style
South Carolina has slowly began to integrate the tight end back into the passing attack this season with underclassmen Jerell Adams and Rory Anderson becoming playmakers in the Gamecocks offense.
In 2009 the Gamecocks had Weslye Saunders making plays from the tight end position when he finished with 353 yards and three touchdowns.
Next season South Carolina will have two threats from tight end and will integrate them early into the passing game. Connor Shaw will have a threat at running back, at receiver and at tight end on every play.
When the threat of a quarterback run is added to the mix, this Carolina offense will be unstoppable. These two tight ends will add to the furious climb that will come for the Gamecocks offense in 2013.