Monday, August 18, 2008

Spurrier Hopes For Breakthrough Season

Spurrier needs to find the right man at QB

SEC East #4 South Carolina Gamecocks

2007 Results and Offseason
6-1 and looking great. Then came the Vanderbilt game, and the Tennessee game, and the Florida game. Pretty soon South Carolina was staring at 6-6 and was home for the bowl season after losing their final five games. In the offseason, Spurrier brought in another solid class but does not have his QB situation settled after a disappointing Spring game and off the field trouble with former prized recruit Stephen Garcia.
2007 Record: 6-6, 3-5
Ret. Starters: 17
Ret. Lettermen: 54
Off PPG 25.6 (8th) RYPG 94.5 (12th) PYPG 277.4 (2nd)
Def PPG 28.4 (8th) RYPG 217.1 (12th) PYPG 172.5 (2nd)

Offense (7 RS 26 RL)
Steve Spurrier's offense revolves around a QB who can make sound decisions and throw the ball vertically. So far in Columbia, Spurrier hasn't had the guy he wants. Chris Smelley is the leading retuning QB, but he threw more than a few INTs in the Spring Game. Tommy Beecher is the leading candidate as of now for the starting job, though Garcia could see some action as well if he can stay out of trouble. WR Kenny McKinley is one of those guys who seems like he has been in college for 10 years, but this is finally his senior season and he brings back 77 rec and 9 TDs from a year ago. Other outlets for the QBs will be TE Jared Cook (very underrated) and WR Dion Lecorn. Rushing the ball was not the Gamecocks strong suit in '07 finishing last in SEC play. Mike Davis is the leading rusher returning with 549 yards and 5TDs. Blocking for him will be four returning starters on the o-line.

Defense (10 RS 26 RL)
South Carolina should have one of the best defenses in the SEC with 10 returning starters and 26 lettermen. LB Jasper Brinkley returns, but is coming off season ending knee surgery in mid-Oct. He will joined by sack specialist Eric Norwood who had an outstanding 13.5 TFL last season. On the d-line, they must replace Casper Brinkley, but return three other starters. Watch out for super sophs transfers Cliff Geathers and Travian Robertson here as well. The secondary was very good last year ranking second in pass defense and returns all four starters. Captain Munnerlyn will compete for All-SEC teams and so will leading returning tackler Emanuel Cook. Though Spurrier wants someone besides SS Cook as the leading tackler this year after the Gamecocks gave up 5ypc in '07.

Special Teams
Ryan Succop returns to man both kicking spots. Munnerlyn will return both punts and kicks. Backup WR Chris Culliver will join Munnerlyn on kick returns. The Gamecocks must prevent the three punts blocked they had LY.

Recruiting - Link

Schedule

South Carolina faces four preseason AP top 10 teams: Georgia, Florida, LSU, and Clemson. In the non-conf they start off the CFB season hosting NC State. Also coming to Columbia are Wofford and UAB. From the west they grab @Miss, vArk, and LSU. The final five games are brutal again with South Carolina likely to be favored in only 1 or 2 games.


Final Thoughts

I think South Carolina has the most loyal fans in the country. Spurrier has one of his best teams since he arrived in Colombia, but he is in the toughest division in the toughest conference in the nation. Until they get a game breaking QB in here, I don't South Carolina can break into the SEC Championship Game.


Prediction
Likely Wins: vWoff, vUAB, vNC St
Likely Loss: @Florida

7-5, 4-4

Next Up - Alabama Crimson Tide


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