Gamecocks hope to take big step forward against Heels

For the South Carolina Gamecocks these are the glory days — and in their opener against North Carolina on Thursday night they want to keep it that way.

After finishing ranked in the top 10 in both 2011 and 2012, they enter the 2013 campaign ranked sixth nationally by the Associated Press.

And for extra drawing power, they are led by who many consider to be college football’s best player, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. He is good enough to be considered a Heisman Trophy favorite by some, and the No. 1-rated prospect for the 2014 draft by NFLDraftScout.com.

Add it up and the Gamecocks are in a lot of conversations for the national championship.

While coach Steve Spurrier believes his squad has what it takes to make waves this season, he is anxious to see what it brings to the table when South Carolina plays host to North Carolina.

“I wish we were throwing better,” said Spurrier. “I wish our quarterbacks and receivers were hitting and catching better. But anyway, we’ll keep working on it up to game time, and see if we can’t pitch it around a little bit better than we have the last few days. Other than that, everything’s about according to schedule.”

The Gamecocks enter on a streak of winning 13 consecutive season openers, while Spurrier is 22-1 all-time in first games. Many of those contests have been nail biters, however. The Tar Heels feature a fast break offense that keeps defenses on their toes. While USC has played well against other squads with similar attacks, UNC could present a more formidable foe.

“This type of team wants to go fast the whole game,” said USC senior defensive end Chaz Sutton. “No matter how they’re doing, they want to get lined up and go fast where it is the first quarter or the fourth quarter. Sometimes they shoot themselves in the foot when they do it but, at the same time, that’s the kind of talent they have.”

The game will test USC’s talented but untested linebackers. Sophomore Kaiwan Lewis and Marcquis Roberts are slated to start at MIKE and WILL linebacker, while junior Sharrod Golightly is slated to open at the Spur position. None of the three have started in a college game, although the group is considered faster and more athletically gifted than its predecessors.

Sophomore Cedrick Copper, who has missed three weeks with a dislocated elbow, could miss the opener.

The secondary has solid starting corners in junior Victor Hampton and senior Jimmy Legree, but doesn’t have quality depth. Junior free safety Brison Williams will serve as the group leader, while junior Kadetrix Marcus and sophomore T.J. Gurley give the Gamecocks a strong one-two punch at strong safety.

Quarterback Connor Shaw leads a Gamecocks offense that returns four of five starters at offensive line, but no longer features Marcus Lattimore in the backfield. Sophomore Mike Davis takes over the team’s feature back.

The passing game has been a work in progress for the Gamecocks mostly due to injuries. Junior Bruce Ellington missed almost three weeks with a hamstring injury, but recently returned to practice. Talented tight ends Rory Anderson and Jerell Adams remain one/two on the depth chart but have missed time due to injuries.

Comments

comments

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lights

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lightsHurricane Florence 2, Horry County Schools 0. That appears to be [more]

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of storm

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of stormMyrtle Beach area golf courses, spared the worst of Hurricane [more]

SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloat

SCHSL extends season but plans for Strand still afloatThe SCHSL's executive committee voted unanimously Tuesday to extend the [more]

Pelicans Young, Swarmer claim Cubs' POY awards

Pelicans Young, Swarmer claim Cubs' POY awardsMyrtle Beach Pelicans infielder Jared Young was named the Chicago [more]

Chants blow out Camels in front of Hurricane Florence

Chants blow out Camels in front of Hurricane FlorenceJust four days removed and 142 miles away from its [more]

Coastal baseball signs first BA Top 25 recruiting class

Coastal baseball signs first BA Top 25 recruiting classFor the first time in Coastal Carolina baseball program history, [more]

Hurricane Florence throws local sports scene a curve

Hurricane Florence throws local sports scene a curveIn response to the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence and [more]

Coast FA brings home five titles from Rock Hill Classic

Coast FA brings home five titles from Rock Hill ClassicCoast FA returned to the beach with five championship and [more]

CF boys finish second, MB girls net third at CCU meet

CF boys finish second, MB girls net third at CCU meetThe Carolina Forest boys finished second and the Myrtle Beach [more]

Chants explode in second half to cruise past Blazers

Chants explode in second half to cruise past BlazersCoastal Carolina football used a number of big offensive plays [more]

No. 4 Seahawks light up scoreboard, beat Braves

No. 4 Seahawks light up scoreboard, beat BravesThe No. 4-ranked Myrtle Beach football team celebrated Neon Night [more]

No. 6 Chiefs struggle their way past revitalized Sharks

No. 6 Chiefs struggle their way past revitalized SharksWithout raising his voice, without screaming his face red or [more]

Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeaten

Panthers take big win over Hoggard to stay unbeatenJackson Weatherwax knew he had the ball. Late in the fourth [more]

Football Roundup: Tigers, Saints fall, remain winless

Football Roundup: Tigers, Saints fall, remain winless* Hartsville 35, Conway 0: The Tigers (0-4) remained winless [more]

Golf: Sharks top Seahawks; Panthers knock off Braves

Golf: Sharks top Seahawks; Panthers knock off BravesThe three-time reigning state champion St. James girls golf team [more]

Chants hungry for first win in home opener vs. Blazers

Chants hungry for first win in home opener vs. BlazersThe Coastal Carolina football team will open up its 2018 [more]

Volleyball: Tigers improve to 6-0 with win over Bruins

Volleyball: Tigers improve to 6-0 with win over BruinsThe Conway High volleyball team improved to 6-0 Thursday by [more]

Week 3 Previews & Picks: MB has old score to settle

Week 3 Previews & Picks: MB has old score to settleMyrtle Beach junior quarterback Luke Doty has had this week's [more]

Tennis: Lady Panthers open season with win over Aynor

Tennis: Lady Panthers open season with win over AynorThe Carolina Forest girls tennis team served up a victory [more]

Chants move up in polls after acing UAB tourney

Chants move up in polls after acing UAB tourneyAfter posting back-to-back shutouts, Coastal Carolina's Chris Datallo has been [more]

Golf: Sharks claim second place at Palmetto Preview

Golf: Sharks claim second place at Palmetto PreviewThe three-time defending state champion St. James girls golf team [more]

Braves, Lady Chiefs finish runners-up in XC openers

Braves, Lady Chiefs finish runners-up in XC openersMetrolina Christian Academy of Indian Trail (N.C.) swept the Chief [more]

Saints' season put on hold due to low numbers, youth

Saints' season put on hold due to low numbers, youthOne year after a breakthrough season, the Christian Academy of [more]

Close loss closes curtain on long season for Pelicans

Close loss closes curtain on long season for PelicansIn the final game of the 2018 season, the Myrtle [more]

A Day at Darlington: Rain doesn't halt racing, revelry

A Day at Darlington: Rain doesn't halt racing, revelrySunday's Bojangle's Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway started with a [more]

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lights

Florence fallout again pulls plug on Friday night lightsHurricane Florence 2, Horry County Schools 0. That appears to be [more]

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of storm

Strand golf courses race to re-open in wake of stormMyrtle Beach area golf courses, spared the worst of Hurricane [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach