SOUTH CAROLINA HAS SOME SERIOUS SOUL-SEARCHING AHEAD …
University of South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has transformed the Gamecock football program from SEC doormat to perennial conference title contender … but if Thursday night’s season opening loss to Texas A&M is any indication, another rebuilding job lies ahead of him.
The No. 9 Gamecocks – who will be lucky to remain ranked in the Top 25 next week based on their performance against the Aggies – were badly exposed in this blowout loss.
“It was a mismatch tonight,” Spurrier said after the 52-28 drubbing. “I don’t know what else you can say.”
There’s a lot more to say, actually. Starting with the record-breaking collapse of defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward‘s unit. The failure of the Gamecock defense to put any pressure on quarterback Kenny Hill – who was making his first collegiate start in one of the most hostile environments in all of college football – resulted in a record-breaking night for the young gun. Hell, the guy threw for nearly 300 yards in the first half in leading the Aggies to a 31-14 lead at intermission.
Hill completed 44 of 60 passes for a school-record 511 yards – breaking the school’s single-game passing yardage mark set by former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
“I just came out here and was ready to go,” Hill said after the game. “I’ve been ready for this my whole life. Everybody was doubting us, and I was just ready to show people wrong.”
Meanwhile the 680 yards in total offense amassed by the Aggies was the most ever given up by a Gamecock defense … ever.
Incredible isn’t it? In more than a century of mediocrity, South Carolina had never given up that many yards against an opponent. It could have been worse had the Aggies not shown mercy on the final drive of the game – allowing the clock to run out rather than punch it in for another score. That benevolence certainly didn’t lessen the Gamecocks’ humiliation … but in pulling up at the two-yard-line head coach Kevin Sumlin showed a courtesy and respect that Spurrier has never extended to his foes.
In fact of the four drives on which Texas A&M didn’t score – twice they were stopped by the clock, not the Gamecock defense.
How bad was it?
“We have no pass rush, coverage was so-so and they knew what they were doing,” Spurrier said.
Spurrier also mocked the Gamecocks’ new 3-4 defensive alignment – meant to compensate for the loss of No. 1 NFL draft pick Jadeveon Clowney and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles.
“Did anybody like that 3-4 defense?” Spurrier quipped.
“We’ll see if we can look like we know what we’re doing as coaches,” Spurrier added. “We’ll try to put our players in position. I think our players are better than what they showed, but I don’t know.”
Yikes … that’s a scary thought.
The A&M aerial assault – comprised mostly of screen passes, quick slants and floaters (none of which went for more than 33 yards) – forced the Gamecock offense away from its strength, running the football and chewing up clock. Behind arguably the best offensive line in the SEC, South Carolina picked up just 67 yards on the ground – including only 15 yards on six carries from junior Mike Davis, who left the game with a rib injury.
The lack of production on the ground made the Gamecock offense entirely one-dimensional, forcing fifth-year senior quarterback Dylan Thompson to throw the ball on virtually every down. Thompson played fairly well – completing 20 of 40 passes for 366 yards with four touchdowns and one interception – but it wasn’t nearly enough against the overpowering Aggie offense.
Bottom line? Even without Connor Shaw – the winningest quarterback in the history of the program – the Gamecocks have the makings of a decent offense.
But in the SEC, defense wins championships. And based on the Gamecocks’ defensive performance Thursday night, the SEC championship Spurrier so covets at South Carolina is well out of reach.
Prior to Thursday’s debacle, Ward predicted his defense would “play well.”
“You’ve got to be confident in the young men you put on the field,” he said. “It’s a reflection of you.”
Free advice for Ward?
Don’t look in the mirror … or Twitter.
It’s been previously speculated that Ward – who took over the reins of the defense in 2011 – was a mediocre coach blessed with exceptionally talented players (Clowney, Quarles, Melvin Ingram, DeVonte Holloman, D.J. Swearinger, etc).
Expect to see a lot of that narrative over the next nine days. Also expect the offensive coaches at East Carolina – where they run a similar up-tempo offense – to be licking their chops in anticipation of next Saturday’s matchup at Williams-Brice Stadium.
No Carolina alum will be more honest RT @fitsnews: Gamecocks Eviscerated By Aggies http://t.co/MeEDuKNreH #sports
— Woody Whitehurst (@woodywhitehurst) August 29, 2014
Yeah, but Liz looked great.
Me thinks you no understand what prediction mean.
This is just shallow click-bait for frustrated fans. Spurrier was very specific about where the problem lies. He mentioned a position, where SC has an ACC -level coach. He talked about looking at Coach (hiring) decisions…If you want some insight, based on what the coach is saying, not just rambling speculation, look at a better source of info.
Spurrier couldn’t give two shits as long as you suckers keep them checks coming.
You’re saying he’s like the democrat party. I don’t think so.
Or like you and your govt assistance checks.
“ACC level coach”? how about high school. Lorenzo Ward’s mediocre coaching was propped up by an amazing group of athletes he himself did not recruit last year. Carolina’s secondary was porous, and at times even looked out of shape. Thats not click bait, thats honesty. No knock to Kenny Hill, who has now removed any doubt that A&M will do well in the post Johnny Football era. Maybe the SEC network should air documentaries about Spurrier making anyone a “believer” when USC actually wins the SEC. USC’s defense has more problems that just a shift to a 3-4 scheme, and not to mention “the best offensive line ever” was outplayed by one of the weaker defensive units that USC will face this year. A long season of eating crow awaits if Carolina does not fix this quick.
Didn’t Lo’ come from VT???….(:
Fuck, that was the poorest show ever. We pay our coach what??
Spurrier once coached at Duke, is he an ACC level coach too?
Some prove they can hang…some prove they can let the opponent hang…… half-a-hundred……I think that’s the basis for my comment.
He was hanging alright…
You are right, USC hung that huge banner of Spurrier down the side of the stadium. How many losses will it take to get removed?
Long as he keeps kicking Clemson’s @$$…he’ll be aight…
SC only wishes that they can be as good as Duke was last year.
Tiger is the new Gamecock.
what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul!
A vote up will not kill you.
Timmy: What is “Billy Madison?”
Alex: Correct! Pick again.
Timmy: “Inspired by GT” for 2000, please.
It was one game and is not the end of the world – or the season – plenty of opportunities left.
I’m optimistic that they will do better next game.
Those boys deserve our support now more than ever after such a huge loss and especially with it being the first game of the season.
It probably was the end fo any championship hopes, SEC or otherwise. Hey..there’s always that “state championship” y’all seem so proud of to fall back on.
“Hey..there’s always that “state championship” y’all seem so proud of to fall back on.”
As posted elsewhere I support both Carolina and Clemson – and any other home-state school playing an out-of-stater. In Carolina versus Clemson I support whoever is losing.
All’s I can do is quote the old Furman bumper sticker:
Furman: “A Rose Between Two Thorns”
But I will also add this, I am NOT a fan of college football due to the corruption of the game BUT I will say this:
Clemson has among its players an Iraq veteran (Bronze Star & I believe Purple Heart) who walked on. As far as I know, a war veteran has not played college football since WWII veterans played after WWII. He appears to be the “real thing” and should be an inspiration to what college football should be.
Due to Clemson giving him the chance to try out (who made the cut and has proven to be a solid player) I will cheer Clemson on this season.
“…As far as I know, a war veteran has not played college football since WWII veterans played after WWII…”
Sounds like a great story but not even close to accurate – Tim Frisby, an Army Ranger and multi conflict veteran played for Carolina in 2004. Multiple veterans have played college sports in the last several years, I have a rugby college player in my program who I recruited while he was stationed at an airfield in Iraq.
Thanks for making me aware of that.
i was going by what i read in this weeks issue of AF Times and a few newspaper articles on the Clemson player about a year or so ago. I don’t know how I missed something about the South Carolina football player. I don’t recall any articles in the newspapers about him. But as a rule, I don’t peruse the sports pages much. What is Frisby doing now? Was he a walk on as well or recruited?
I was pretty sure iraq/Afghanistan vets were playing other sports besides football.
Was your rugby player stationed in Balad or Mosul?
I flew in & out of those bases many,many times. Always “ERO”
Ok, you’re not ALL bad. SCRUM, SIR!!!!
Yes, East Carolina shouldn’t give us too much trouble.
Nobody is saying anything about the players just the coaches!
Looks like your coach has other problems…Steve to be charged with assault:
Sorta smells like The Onion.
If USC does not start Connor Mitch and David Williams next week, that is a wrap.
Up next on the social calendar is Sept 8, 2014. Jury selection begins in the United States of America vs James R Metts criminal trial with a trial date announced soon after.
Dylan Thompson was 20-40 for 366 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 INT. Please tell me how Connor Mitch would have done better. How about 67 rushing yards, not Thompson’s fault. Who calls the plays? Not Thompson’s fault. How about allowing 630 yards of total offense. Thompson doesnt play defense. Dylan Thompson didnt allow 511 passing yards. Dont blame Dylan Thompson that kid can play.
Best to give the program to the Freshmen. They are the future.
Yes, please let the most inexperienced players in the program start all the games. Because by your logic, “they are the future”, So they can learn by losing? Damn thats dumb.
Yes, that is about it. I am a Connor Shaw fan. It took guts to take over when Garcia was kicked off the team. Look how he turned out.
He looked great with those 3rd down PI calls.
He has predicted that Graham & Haley will be defeated too.
Feel free to post TBG’s prediction from the comments.
TBG is waaaaaay to humble and classy to do it, himself…
Lorenzo Ward needs to go. Like….today. He shouldn’t have been hired to begin with. The defense looked like they hadn’t touched a football field since last fall. They were out of breath 6 minutes into the first quarter, the line couldn’t break through an eggshell, the secondary was everywhere but where they needed to be, and not a single wrap-up tackle was made by anyone on that defense. Just embarrassing.
Yes, Ward should be let go.
The defense probably couldn’t understand anything Ward was saying, so they didn’t know what play was called.
I hope my Clemson by God Tigers can beat UGA. Our star players from last year as well ya’lls Gamcock’s are in the NFL.
What did you expect with no more of Ellis Johnson’s players? Ward just can’t cut the mustard. I saw a cadre of problems with the capons:
1) The secondary is a dumpster fire. Plus there were a few guys banged up in the game.
2) Mainly on scoring drives, the OL looked brilliant. The rest of the time they looked lost. I don’t think Texas A&M has a good DL.
3) Thompson was inconsistent. Overthrew receivers and that intentional grounding play was the beginning of the end.
4) Play calling on the defense was questionable. Why were the DB’s giving the WR’s a 10 yard cushion?
5) Absolutely no pass rush by the DL whatsoever.
A lot of it can be attributed to 1st game jitters and youth in the secondary… but fifty two points?
Lorenzo should change his nickname from “Whammy” to “Wally Burnham”
That was soooo easy to call. I told my buddies what was going to happen on the very first play of the game, when I saw USC in the horrible Uncovered 4 man front Defensive Line. I told them this is going to be a massacre if Ward doesn’t get out of that uncovered 4 defensive set. He never did, and it was a complete disaster. You would have thought that Ward knew that the Uncovered 4 is the next worst defensive set in football behind only the uncovered 3 Prevent Defense. Ward needs to know that it’s not a 3-4, it’s called a 4-3 with 3 linebackers stunting into the line on every play. Ward didn’t even know what to call the 4-3, or how to run it. The covered 4-3 is probably the best defense in football. But, Ward has no idea how to make it work. You are supposed be bringing 4 lineman and at least 1 or 2 linebackers stunting in on every play. That’s a 5, 6, or 7 man advantage over the offensive 5. USC never had a chance. They were outnumbered on every play 5 to 4, 6 to 4, 7 to 4, even sometimes 8 to 4. Irmo High School could have beaten that defense. I can’t believe he never even changed out of it the whole game. Even running it when the ball was on the USC 2 yard line. What an idiot!! FIRE WARD IMMEDIATELY!!
And let me guess – HIRE YOU.
Sounds like he’d have done a better job than Ward.
“…a and Tra Carson scores again!!!!”
Lorenzo Ward needs to get a smart state chair for ” defense and strategy in American football”. He needS to be appointed as special assistant to Harris Pastides and start visiting more strip clubs with Major Stevie. But stay away from the sidelines and stop pretending you know what you are Doing…WTF!
1) How does UGA hire the DC away from National Champs FSU?
2) How does a major QB talent like Tanner McEvoy get away to start for Wisconsin?
Answers to Both: It starts with Steve Spurrier. He should have hired an elite DC in 2011. Also, he had a 3 Star recruit (NJ HS Player of the Year) in McEvoy and opted for 2 Star Dylan Thompson. Steve Spurrier need to get his **** together and start surrounding himself with elite coaching talent or just retire. Right now, he’s got a drunk at OC in Mangus and an ’empty suit’ at DC in Ward.
That was definitely the worst defensive play I have ever seen. I didn’t see one good defensive play. I think the Gamecocks had a sack but even that was unimpressive. The defensive guy was barely able to knock the quarterback to the ground. I thought they were more than likely over ranked at number 9. The Gamecocks don’t belong in the top 25 with a defense like that.