Author Archives: Johnathan Barnes

In-depth look at the 2013 Gamecock Defense: More Experienced than Georgia?


Recently our fearless leader here at DudeYouCrazy spoke on Jadeveon Clowney and the hype surrounding him.  He also said he figured I would be speaking soon about the Gamecock defense.  What do you know?  He was right about something Gamecock related!

Now, we all know how hard South Carolina was hit by attrition on the defensive side of the ball.  If you have been under a rock since January, we lost just about everyone on the defensive side of the ball.  Hard hitter DJ Swearinger is gone, and his presence will be more than missed.  Long time starter at Defensive End, Devin Taylor is also gone to the NFL.  Our two-deep at our Linebacker and Spur spots are depleted.  The team that takes the field on August 29th will feature almost as much inexperience as Georgia’s.

Now, how should I break this down?  Positives & Negatives?  By position? By random tidbits of information?  Let’s do this by position, so I can at least show how we have more experience than UGA, since I’m sure that statement above will be taken some sort of way by our rabid sick mutt beloved Dawg brothers.

Cornerback

This position returns the most experience even after losing Akeem Auguste.

The group will be led by veteran corner, Victor Hampton (pictured above). Victor had issues when he first came to Carolina, mostly maturity issues.  He was briefly dismissed from the team but returned not long after.  Since then, his maturity off the field has been the best you could ask for.  He learned his lesson, and has played lights out.  He knows the opportunities that are within reach and he will play the best season possible.  Will he get beat? I’m sure he will a couple of times.  Show me a corner that has never gotten beat… Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Also returning, will be Jimmy Legree.  Jimmy saw limited action last season in a back up role to Akeem Auguste.  He did play while Akeem was injured the first few games of the season.  When he was on the field, he impressed.  If I remember correctly, he had two pick-6’s.  He has enough experience and talent that he will hold his own this season.

Defensive End

I guess you can consider this a strength to our team. (Sarcasm, sorry, its a habit…)  We return All-World Defensive End, Jadeveon Clowney, but lose the disruptive force of Devin Taylor.  Now, last season, Devin Taylor was extremely limited by Brad Lawing, former D-Line Coach.  As silly as that sounds, Devin was used primarily to contain on his side.  Even sillier, right?  Answer me this, how many plays did he make last season?  He had more pass deflections than sacks.  No slight to him, but he was a victim of the system.

To replace Devin Taylor, we bring in fifth year Senior, Chaz Sutton.  Under Deke Adams, expect him to play like there is no tomorrow.  Deke will bring a much more aggressive approach, and Chaz Sutton is an excellent pass rusher.

At the other side will be Jadeveon Clowney.  That is all.

Just kidding.

Clowney registered 13.5 sacks, and 23.5 tackles for loss this past season.  After the bowl game, the expectations surrounding him went to heights further than Vincent Smiths helmet.  As Drew said in a previous article, it was Vincent Smith, not anyone of note.  You’re right, but you put ANY runningback into that situation and he is destroyed.  When Clowney is in your face before the ball is fully in your hands, I don’t care if you’re the size of William Perry, you’re going down.

Back to Clowney.  I expect his expectations to far surpass his actual performance solely due to the fact that there will likely be two or three blockers on him at all times.  Enter Chaz Sutton and Kelcey Quarles (more on him later).  With the attention Clowney gets, expect the rest of the D-Line (and inexperience Linebackers) to get more one-on-one time.  So while I fully expect Clowney to fall short of EXPECTATIONS (not quality play), I also expect the overall performance of the defensive line to rise in meteoric fashion.  Let’s face it though, when one of your expectations involves on field homicide, it’s a good thing you don’t rise to the occasion.  Expect Gerald Dixon to get some time in rotation.

Defensive TackleThe big guys in the middle.  Everyone loves these guys.

The big name among Defensive Tackles at South Carolina, is Kelcey Quarles.  This man is huge, I’ve seen him in person.  I wouldn’t even want to have him jump on a dog pile.  He has a tendency to lose on run plays, but he’s still a solid playmaker.  Adding yet another year of workouts though could help him in that department.   Expect the rotation to include Philip Dukes, Gerald Dixon Jr (yes, there are two Gerald Dixon’s on the roster.  Same father, different mothers, same name.), and JT Surratt.

Once again, the Defensive Line will be very strong.

Safeties

Our safety positions return players who all have some experience.  Brison Williams locked down the Strong Safety spot last year next to DJ Swearinger, so we are safe there, barring some unforeseen circumstance.  TJ Gurley is another safety with experience, he was seen in place of DJ Swearinger while he was suspended a game for a jaw jarring hit.  Kadetrix Marcus saw time on special teams, so hopefully he is at least acclimated to the college atmosphere.

Not much worry in the secondary, folks.

Now for the BIG problem.
Linebackers/Spur
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f5/Question_mark.PNG

We lost five in the Linebacking corps.  Not good.

Look for Kelvin Rainey (former tight end, had 6 interceptions in spring training) and Kaiwan Lewis to hold down the Linebacker positions.  (SC runs a 4-2-5, thus two linebackers.)  Kelvin Rainey will either solidify his position as a Linebacker, or will be overtaken by Ced Cooper when he returns from his injury.  Either way, this group has about four tackles worth of experience.

The upside you may ask?  Talent.  This group is the most physically gifted and talented group USC has recruited under Spurrier.  The group WILL be a strength eventually.  I doubt it will be August 29th.  I’m looking more along the October games to where they start clicking.  2014 by the time they are a true strength.

Now, let’s take a glance at the Spur.  If you aren’t sure what a spur is, it is a Safety/Linebacker Hybrid position.  This will be locked down by Sharod Golightly.  I assure you one thing about him, he does NOT go lightly.  He’s a hard hitter, and should be one of the first to really feel at home on the field in this group.

Let me simplify all of this.
Defensive Line: A+

Cornerbacks:  A-

Safeties:  B

Linebackers:  D (B+/A for Talent and Upside)

Spur:  B-

I think the way our line plays will be the determining factor of the play of the linebackers.  If the line plays to it’s potential, it will surely cause mistakes by the offense, which should (hopefully) help the linebackers.  The defense has the talent, but this question still remains:  When will the Linebackers take the next step and play to the quality of the rest of the defense?

As always, it’s Great to be a Gamecock!
JB, signing out.

//Follow me on Twitter @jbarnes24dyc
//E-Mail me at jbarnes24dyc@yahoo.com

100 Days of SEC Dominance: Day 75 – Coaching Machines


Even our coaches are machines.

Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Mark Richt, Les Miles, and co.  These guys either laugh in your face, or have an icy stare that cripples your soul.  They coach in the SEC because they can handle it.  We welcome any challenge.  Sometimes the team loses, but at least we rose to the occasion (see Georgia v. Boise State.)…

This is how you weed out coaches with weak sauce.

For example, Joke Joker Phillips.  He couldn’t hack it, so he resorted to being a position coach and making the iJoker.

Need more?  Urban Meyer.  National Champ with Tebow, deathly ill and retiring without him.  Takes a season off, hired by Ohio State.  Amazing.

It’s great to be a Gamecock,
JB Signing Off.

100 Days of SEC Dominance: Day 75 – Talent


The best conference should have the best players, correct?

Well, I scoured the web in search of MULTIPLE Preseason All-American lists for 2013. In this search, most lists were eerily similar. The bulk of the players came from the SEC. Headlined by QB Johnny Manziel and DE Jadeveon Clowney.

The average (Yes, Ohio State, the SEC actually can find an average) of players on these lists from the SEC totaled SEVENTEEN, including first and second team. Closest was PAC-342783 with 12. Let’s be honest here though, at one time James Franklin was talked up as a Heisman candidate, then he came to the SEC. Bring your All-Americans here and we’ll end the dreams!

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock,
JB Signing off!

Silencing the Critics: Shaw v. Thompson


Fellow Gamecocks, I am sure you have man crushes on these guys by now.  Speedster Shaw or Gunslinger Thompson?  That is the question on everyone’s mind.  Should we go with the guy who, in his career, is 300-of-449 for 3627 yards, 32 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, with 298 rushes for 1,125 yards and 11 touchdowns?

Or the guy who truly fits the Steve Spurrier type of Quarterback that can launch a deep ball with fair accuracy, and can be mobile enough to make three or four plays a game with his legs?

Both Quarterbacks have their upsides and downsides.

What I absolutely love about them both is their fight and determination.  Connor Shaw against Vanderbilt this past season almost made me tear up.  THAT is a real baller.   Not the flashiness, the one handed catches, etc.  It’s the hard nosed relentless attack.

As far as Thompson goes, I love when he really gets into the game, bobbing his head and having fun.  It’s even fun to watch, you have to smile.

Okay, enough pictures.

The purpose of this article, is to tell you guys to shut up.  Honestly.  We have two great quarterbacks.  Be happy the competition isn’t between Smelley and Garcia anymore.  These guys are good friends, they support each other whoever is in.  Connor Shaw was #9 in the nation is passer efficiency.  Thompson finished with a 5:1 TD:INT ratio. (10:2 reduced is 5:1, end math lesson)

BE HAPPY.  It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!

JB, Signing out.
Twitter:  @jbarnes24dyc

Ranking the Quarterbacks of the SEC: Manziel is Overrated


Hello again, my fellow SEC friends and rivals.

Today, I got to thinking about who the best quarterbacks were in the SEC.  Obvious choices if you depend solely on stats, would be AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, and Johnny Manziel.  One of those three will not even make my top 3.  Will it be the two-time BCS Champ?  The first freshman Heisman winner? Or will it be the back-to-back East Champ?  Let’s find out.

 

1.  AJ McCarron,  Alabama: 

Okay, this is an obvious pick for #1.  Strong arm, accurate, didn’t throw an interception until game 10 of the season against Texas A&M.  Saban doesn’t let his quarterbacks really cut loose, so AJ had a lot of short completions that turned into distance.  The thing is, when AJ does throw the deep pass, he throws it very well.  No worries, Bammers, you’re still #1.

 

2.  Aaron Murray,  Georgia:

I dislike typing “Georgia” by anything related to the “best.”  Although, this time,  it’s been earned.  Aaron Murray has the ability to make any throw the pros can.  His issue is remaining calm under pressure.  At least, his freshman and sophomore year, that WAS the problem.  Murray had a habit of melting down, but after the SEC Championship Game, even though he lost, he has earned my respect.  Just think, you mangy mutts TP’d his house.  Shame on you, someone should swat your noses with a newspaper.  (Sorry to my fellow Dawg writers)  For what it’s worth, I still think he’ll be Clowney’s rag doll this season, too.

 

3.  Tyler Russell,  Miss State:

Save your boo’s.  I realize he wasn’t as impressive as many.  If you pay attention, at times you can tell he was limited in what he was allowed to do.  During those times, you see him drop back, find the target, and throw.  Triple covered or wide open, he threw.  I have to think that is more on the coaches part, than his.  When he was allowed to improvise, he could zip the ball in there.  He has bad moments like everyone else, but he impressed me, and for the sake of this article, that is all that matters.

 

4.  Connor Shaw,  South Carolina:

At least let me explain why he beats out Johnny Foozball.  You see what Johnny did last season, correct?  Well, he did all of that remaining 100% healthy and with an offensive line that could block a nuclear bomb from hitting land.  He had the benefit of two offensive lineman that would have both been top 10 picks.  Connor Shaw tossed for almost 2000 yards with a sub-par offensive line, a fractured scapula in his throwing shoulder, and a fracture in his foot.  Put Manziel in Shaw’s situation, I bet he doesn’t win the Heisman.

 

5.  Johnny Manziel,  Texas A&M:

How do I praise Johnny after criticizing him just a second ago?  He is still a really good quarterback, I just feel as though he is completely overrated due to having raging bulls backing off defenders.  I think that if he were at any other school in the SEC, except Bama, UGA and Tennessee, he would not win the Heisman.  P.S.  I still want to party with him.  I want the sparklers and alcohol driven nights.  Is that bad?

 

6.  Bo Wallace,  Ole Miss:

Bo could be an absolute beast of a human if he could cut down his interceptions.  MAKE BETTER DECISIONS, SIR!  Either way, he has an impressive skill set.  If he brings it all together, he could be what everyone wanted Jevan Snead to be.

 

7.  Jeff Driskel,  Florida:

I can only shake my head at Jeff.  Kid has wheels, but he’s not an overly impressive Quarterback.  Kind of reminds me of NFL Tebow.  Ouch.  If Driskel improves his decision making, and stops taking off upon completing his drop back, he could light it up a bit, but he’ll never truly IMPRESS as a Quarterback.

 

8.  Zach Mettenberger,  LSU:

Okay, LSU folks, here he is.  Don’t mob me if I ever come to the real Death Valley.  Zach has a superior arm.  The guy has Peyton Manning’s arm strength.  The problem is, he has the decision making ability of Mark Sanchez.  BURN.  Anyways, if he works on that he’ll be great, until then, he’s #8. (Dude’s note: I’m not sure if that was an intentional rhyme, but I dig it.)

 

9.  Maxwell Smith,  Kentucky:

Let’s face it, we hit the poor quarterbacks about 3 choices ago.  Max Smith could be a good quarterback though, honestly.  He has nice zip on passes, he can run enough to escape rushers, and if he were on better teams, who knows?  That being said, he plays for Kentucky, football is a team sport, therefore he suffers.  Sorry for the broken ankle, Max.

 

10.  James Franklin,  Mizzou:

Should have stayed with Texas and Oklahoma, you’d actually get drafted.  That is all.

 

11.  Auburn:

Nobody knows who is going to be the Quarterback.  Quan Bray had a 707 QB Rating, I’d go with him.  Oh wait… He threw one pass for a 33 yard touchdown… And he’s a wide receiver.  I shake my head at thee, Auburn.

 

Now remember everyone, I rated these quarterbacks on how I feel their ABILITIES stack up, not statistics.  Why would I rank based on stats?  You can find those anywhere.

Disagree? Comment below!
As always, it’s Great to be a Gamecock!!
JB, Signing off.

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