South Carolina Gamecocks: Looking ahead at the 2013 Season
Johnathan Barnes is a 24 year-old writer.. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida but moved to Columbia, South Carolina when he was four and began following the Gamecocks shortly thereafter. He bleeds garnet and black and despises the color orange (Clemson, Tennessee, Auburn) – something we can all agree on. He will be contributing regularly on the SEC and the Cocks in particular.
After back-to-back 11 win seasons for South Carolina, most fans are in their glory due to the low level of success the football team has seen historically. The question must be asked though, with the talent and leadership of the team that will take the field against North Carolina in August, what can be expected in the 2013 season?
As with most South Carolina teams, the defensive line is a huge strength. With the likes of Clowney, Quarles, and Sutton; this year is no different. Certainly the line will feel the loss of Devin Taylor who, while his stats weren’t amazing, was a constant disruption to Quarterbacks. Chaz Sutton will however, fill in nicely as a pass rusher.
Let’s not forget about the Quarterback position. For the first time in the Spurrier era, Carolina fans can enjoy a luxury of two great Quarterbacks. Sit back for a second Carolina fans, and enjoy this moment. While neither flat out wowed, together they make a very dynamic duo. Together, they totaled 2983 yards, 27 touchdowns, 9 interceptions, and rushed for 460 yards with 4 touchdowns. Considering that Connor Shaw had a fractured scapula in his throwing shoulder, and a fracture in his foot the majority of the season, I find it hard to argue with those .
As Gamecock fans this is where we start to mutter under our breath and shake our heads. The offensive line. I’m not too sure why they haven’t been able to get together a good offensive line, to be perfectly honest. At least this year the line is battle tested for the most part. The center will be a question with Cody Waldrop (RS Fr.) delivering the snaps. Hopefully he’ll fill in nicely. Time will tell.
With our entire linebacking corps and the starting Spur graduating, our linebackers will be made up of all young and inexperienced players. The plus side? They are all intelligent and talented players. I hate to call this a weakness at this point, but with primarily freshman and redshirt freshman filling these voids, it’s hard not to.
To Be Determined
With the departure of Marcus Lattimore and Ace Sanders to the NFL and the proven abilities behind them on the depth chart, I can’t justly write these units off. Brandon Wilds proved himself beyond a doubt after Lattimore’s first injury, posting multiple 100 yard games, and Mike Davis has shown the ability to hit a hole and be two steps past a defender in a heartbeat.
The talent around Bruce Ellington in the receiver unit is astonishing. Nick Jones broke out near the end of the season, Damiere Byrd has shown the ability to push the corners and safeties to the brink of insanity in foot races, and both Shaq Roland and Shamier Jeffery have shown the spark the fans have waited on. Once it all comes together the receiving corps will be a few paragraphs up, I for one, can not wait!
Getting the other Carolina, Florida, Clemson, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, and Mississippi State at home will certainly help the National Title hopes, not having to play Alabama, Texas A&M, or LSU, helps even more. We still have to go play between the hedges, and while I despise the Bulldogs, I respect the fact that they will play to destroy the Gamecocks, and that they will have a high powered offense. Get ready for Gameday in Athens, because that will decide the fate of the 2013 season for the Gamecocks.
Gamecock fans everywhere are salivating for the 2013 season to begin. 11-1 in the regular season is a success. 12-0 would be a dream come true. All in all, the schedule is in our favor, we have the talent to achieve greatness, but will we win the games we’re supposed to? In 2010 it was Kentucky. In 2011, Auburn. In 2012, let’s be honest, we should have beat LSU and probably even Florida. That’s just how the cards played out for us.
If we go by regular season, SEC Championship, and Bowl game; my prediction is 12-2, 11-1 in the regular season, loss to Bama in the SECCG, and a win in the Sugar Bowl.
It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!