Friday, July 03, 2009
3 Players that must step up for SC in '09
The University of South Carolina Football team kicks off their quest for a SEC Championship in 62 days with NCSU out of the gate on 9/3/09. But before that arrives tis the season for previews (summed up by The State - HERE) or a good one from our pal at Team Speed Kills - HERE. Before LOHD gets to their prediction, we here want to put forth some other things to think about like 3 questionable areas for the Gamecocks in '09 or today's edition of 3 Players that must step up in '09 for USC to have success on the gridiron. Before I begin, I could easily say Garcia, Norwood, Gilmore, Giles, Holloman, Pepper, Ladi, etc. But I want to look at players that need to rise up and play to their potential. These 3 below, if playing to their potential (which is All SEC caliber in my eyes that they do possess) will only aid the others around them and make them better. This translates to better play and winning! (i.e which we long for) It will also make Garcia, Norwood, Gilmore, etc and the entire team look better.
Here goes and not in any particular order ---
1. #4 Jason Barnes --- With the departure of WR Kenny McKinley to the NFL their is a huge hole in the receiving corps. Jason ranked fourth on the team with 27 receptions for 346 yards, an average of 12.8 yards per catch, had 2 TDs and started 9 games last year. This guy has the potential and the ability to be a great WR. He just has to gain confidence and continue to buy into the coaching philosophy. I feel he will do really good things this year especially now that Kenny is gone and USC QBs will not be always looking to Kenny. Having Toni Gurly behind him will help push him along. Look for Jason to break out this year. USC needs him to break out this year and be the deep threat USC needs but also be a go-to guy for Garcia.
2. #83 Cliff Matthews ---A past "All SEC Freshman" winner, a past LB who is now playing in the dirty trenches as a DE. Cliff, this is your year big boy. You are a junior, who in the past as been able to log key tackles, block punts, get a sack, cause fumbles and this is what is expected in '09. Career wise you got 58 tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. You are reliable in having played in all 25 games over the past two seasons making 22 consecutive starts. So now is your year to prove more...because most opposing Off Coordinators will be keying in on where Norwood is then it is your time to get after it. We fans have seen what you can do and now it is time to elevate your game and dominate.
3. #24 Darian Stewart ---I mentioned yesterday that the USC secondary is suspect entering the season due to lack of experience, well the old man of the group is Mr. Stewart. This former "spur" on defense may see playing time at that spot some or in the strong safety role. Regardless, he needs to be the dean of the USC secondary, teach the young guys the ropes by playing hard ever play and not running your mouth (let the actions speak as that is leadership). I think the hype around Gilmore, Holloman and Whitlock has helped in remain focused on having a stellar senior season. I expect this senior to be the stopper for the defense and be the blanket in coverage. I feel this will be his all SEC year and will continue the tradition of USC secondary players going to the NFL.
Post some thoughts....Did I miss someone?