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

Girls Hoops: CF, St. James, Socastee net tourney wins

Girls Hoops: CF, St. James, Socastee net tourney winsThe Carolina Forest High girls basketball team needed a little [more]

Coastal upsets Clemson, marches on to Sweet 16

Coastal upsets Clemson, marches on to Sweet 16Martin Melchor scored two goals and had an assist while [more]

Beach United teams close fall season in Wilmington

Beach United teams close fall season in WilmingtonThe Beach United Football Club saw eight teams close out [more]

CAC swimmers dominate podium at regional meet

CAC swimmers dominate podium at regional meetPalmetto Aquatics (PALM) hosted the 2017 Thanksgiving Invite Meet on [more]

Coastal repeats as SBC champ, awaits NCAA foe

Coastal repeats as SBC champ, awaits NCAA foeThe Coastal Carolina volleyball team defeated #2 Texas State in [more]

Local hoops season tips off with two girls tourneys

Local hoops season tips off with two girls tourneysWinter might still be a month away, but the high [more]

Gamecocks net fifth place in Puerto Rico Tip-Off

Gamecocks net fifth place in Puerto Rico Tip-OffSouth Carolina men's basketball coach Frank Martin claimed his 100th [more]

Cuthbertson's career-high 31 points lead Chants' win

Cuthbertson's career-high 31 points lead Chants' winZac Cuthbertson torched the nets for 31 points in leading [more]

Chants handle Vandals, score first Sun Belt win

Chants handle Vandals, score first Sun Belt winIdaho scored on the opening possession of the game but [more]

Saints open season with wins, reach tourney final

Saints open season with wins, reach tourney finalThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach boys basketball team opened [more]

CCU men fall to Vermont; Lady Chants blast UNCW

CCU men fall to Vermont; Lady Chants blast UNCWZac Cuthbertson scored a game-high 23 points and had another [more]

Lady Chants spike Wolves, reach Sun Belt title game

Lady Chants spike Wolves, reach Sun Belt title gameThe Coastal Carolina volleyball team is making its second straight [more]

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season

Chiefs stumble at Stags, suffer first loss of season North Myrtle Beach's record-setting season came to an end Friday [more]

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoops

Chants land in Bahamas with hot hand for hoopsFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina in the [more]

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in Conway

Gamecocks bounce back, blow out UTEP in ConwaySouth Carolina's debut in the Puerto Rico Classic at the [more]

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teams

Beach Ball Classic lineup has big names, top teamsThe 2017 Beach Ball Classic announced its schedule for the [more]

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face Clemson

Coastal shuts out Mercer, advances to face ClemsonFrantzdy Pierrot teamed up with Martin Melchor to give the [more]

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victory

Chants go west in quest for first Sun Belt victoryThe Coastal Carolina football team (1-9, 0-6 Sun Belt) will [more]

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-Off

Redbirds top Gamecocks in opener of PR Tip-OffThe South Carolina men's basketball team has home court of [more]

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point losses

CCU men, women suffer narrow six-point lossesJaylen Shaw scored 17 points, but it was not enough [more]

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seed

CCU nets honors, enters SBC tourney as top seedThe Sun Belt Conference announced its final weekly volleyball awards [more]

Chants win Sun Belt title, face Mercer in NCAA tilt

Chants win Sun Belt title, face Mercer in NCAA tiltCoastal Carolina men's soccer team gathered in the athletics field [more]

Golf: SJ's White inks deal; CF's Spencer closes strong

Golf: SJ's White inks deal; CF's Spencer closes strongSt. James High golfer Jordan White made her first hole-in-one [more]

Gamecocks invade Strand to compete in PR Tip-Off

Gamecocks invade Strand to compete in PR Tip-OffFresh off its first Final Four appearance, South Carolina travels [more]

Riptides Racing swimmers dive in for rare double dip

Riptides Racing swimmers dive in for rare double dipRiptides Racing team had a busy weekend with two squads [more]

Girls Hoops: CF, St. James, Socastee net tourney wins

Girls Hoops: CF, St. James, Socastee net tourney winsThe Carolina Forest High girls basketball team needed a little [more]

Coastal upsets Clemson, marches on to Sweet 16

Coastal upsets Clemson, marches on to Sweet 16Martin Melchor scored two goals and had an assist while [more]

Leave a Reply

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

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach