Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July to everyone and God bless our troops!

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?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

3 areas of the USC football team that is questionable

As I ponder the upcoming football season now that it is 63 days away till we take on NCSU...I wanted to take a quick look at the 3 areas of question of the team on paper from my point of view heading into the season. No particular order -

1. Offensive line: Not being able to find a quarterback has no doubt cost Steve Spurrier in his first four seasons at South Carolina, but inconsistent play in the offensive line has been just as damaging. Spurrier likes his new line coach, Eric Wolford, (as does LOHD) but how it all comes together up front for the Gamecocks remains to be seen. This is a area that can only go up due to sorry play the last two seasons. Everyone knows that the heart of a offense scheme is the O-line. If they can block - Garcia has time to create, if they can run block - then the USC backs have running get the picture.

2. USC Secondary: Losing so many the last few years to the NFL is great but the down size is you lose really good talent. So here we are again, where we have been before due to USC being "DB Univ." This time is a little different due to the inexperience we have on the roster that is slated to be starters. I trust this latest crop of youngsters will live up to the precedent that was set for them by Dunta Robinson, Andre Goodman, etc. However, this area is weak on paper but has the talent to do good things...only time will tell as the gamecock coaches have some "potential" in a pair of true freshmen -- cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safety DeVonte Holloman.

3. QB #2?: Okay, you could easily say Garcia. But I am holding out hope for th kid. I want to say and trust that he has grown up now and got all the "kids will be kids" nonsense out of his system. But the real issue I feel is more of "what" and "who" is behind him? Yes, "in Garcia we trust" is the motto for the start of '09 but if he goes down..whatca got? Scary to think that Garcia and the hopes of the gamecock football team is one ankle twist away from a lot more questions but that is also how a good sports movie runs right. So maybe we will see pleasant surprises from this crop of QBs, heck they have a Heisman winning teacher to learn from.

Honorable metion --- USC FG unit now that Ryan Succop is gone. A FG within 45 is not longer a sure bet.


Gamecock Clips - "News in Review"

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Team Speed Kills Blog Posts

Gamecock Quote of the Day

ESPN's Chris Low in rating his top 12 list of his favorite SEC Stadiums, which has Williams-Brice at #6, says this about USC Football on gameday -
"One of the most underrated game-day experiences in college football.
Gotta love the Cockabooses."

USC RB Jarvis Giles is a "sleeper"

According to Steven Lassan of, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks have a "sleeper" on their hands at the running back postion.

No not Ben Axon, Eric Baker, Brian Maddox or Kenny Miles but it is J Giles who makes his list of 2009 Sleeper Candidates.

Here is what he writes---

Jarvis Giles, South Carolina - The Gamecocks cannot afford a repeat of last season, when they finished a dismal 112th in the nation in rushing offense. Giles is a promising true freshman, but has to compete for time with Eric Baker and Brian Maddox, along with getting improved play from the offensive line. Giles should be one of the top freshman contributors this season and a solid keeper league option.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Love it - Lane Kiffin Show - SEC East Preview

You may remember are first post involving the Lane Kiffin show - HERE - well below is the SEC East Preview.

Here is what he says about the Gamecocks ---

"I am going to send those gas pumping morons back to Columbia in a greasy KFC bucket. Their coach needs to recognize that I am now the coach with the biggest mouth in this conference. I am going to teach them real lesson, just wait and see...."

Pumped about USC Coach Eric Wolford

This off season has hads its storylines from recruiting to arrests to prepartion for next year. I have enjoyed the updates and storys I read about USC's Eric Wolford, the new offensive line coach/run game coordinator.

Here is a good story about him - HERE - from But here are the quotes I love as LOHD for about 3 years now has been pleading that the biggest issue for the USC football team is it does not have the "fire in the belly." Before I get to the quotes, you may be thinking what is "fire in the belly" and no it is not bad taco bell. It is the hunger to win, to squash your opponent to go out there for the entire game/season and prove to the world why you are a gamecock. I think you get the picture basically it is about closing and doing your job at a high level with intensity. We have been lacking this desire over the last few years, I mean go to #6 in the polls to not making a bowl....I will stop there.

Alright back to the quotes from USC's Wolford --
  • "I'm trying to get those guys to understand it's a 24-hour commitment not just a two hour commitment each day.”
  • "If you're willing to meet me half way you will be successful. I think we might have some freshman come in and take somebody's job this year.”
I love his response to this question...Will the offensive line be tougher in 2009?

“I hope so. We have to play harder and be more physical and tenacious. Those are the things I expect to see. Spring was a filling out process for the guys to see what I was like and what I wanted. As a player you have to be willing to be coached. Our job is to take them where they can't take their self. When we get into fall we're going to finish this deal up and go up there and I expect guys to play with their hair on fire.”

I really think he along with the entire coaching staff is getting some of these boys in line and making it clear to them what it takes to play in the SEC. LOHD is a big fan of Coach Wolford and the other new coaches - Craig Fitzgerald ,Jay Graham ,Johnson Hunter ,G.A. Mangus and Lorenzo Ward . We love the new energy and hope it translates to the field.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Former Gamecock Brinkley signs with Vikings

The Vikings have have signed former gamecock linebacker Jasper Brinkley according to the Minnesota Vikings website. No terms were released.

Brinkley, started 29 of 30 games at South Carolina. He finished his career with 193 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for a loss and three interceptions.

Congrats! HERE is a video to watch of the former gamecock.

USC Baseball OF Jackie Bradley, Jr. Honored

Congrats to South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. , who has been named to the Baseball America 2009 Freshman All-American Team.

Bradley also received Freshman All-America honors from both Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA. The Gamecock outfielder is competing this summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Hyannis Mets along with teammate Jay Brown. Whit Merrifield and Parker Bangs are also on the Cape playing for the Chatham A's.


LOHD Reports another OL has committed to USC

LOHD beat writer Big Angry has reported that Havelock (N.C.) High School's Corey Robinson became the fifth lineman to commit to the gamecocks today.

He had offers from Duke, ECU, UNC and NCSU but USC Coach Brad Lawing reeled him by selling the "potential" to play early scenario.

More to come....

Update - is now reporting that Robinson gave his verbal to USC today. And has a breakdown of this recurit HERE.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Team USA 78 France 0

The little noticed Junior World Championship of Football has started over the weekend. Team USA, featuring future South Carolina Gamecock Chris Payne, raced out to a 37-0 halftime lead and crushed France 78-0. Payne, who went to Columbia High and will prep at Fork Union in the fall, led the defense with 8 tackles, including a sack, and a punt return for 11 yards.

Full stats here.

How dominating was the game? Even more dominating than the 78-0 score sounds, if that's possible. France gained a total of 7 yards ... for the game. The USA averaged 10 per play en route to amassing 610 total yards. Team France ran 47 plays. That comes out to 0.1489 yards per play or just over 5 inches. At the rate the French were piling up yards they would have to run 671 plays to go the length of the field. Based on this weekend's game that would take them, roughly, 14.3 games, longer than most leagues' seasons.

The Americans are back in action Wednesday 7 pm against Mexico, 41-0 winners over Sweden.
-Cleveland Plain Dealer Recap
-The Sporting Blog

-Webcast of the game, here
-Photo from Rivals

LOHD Breaking news - Alshon Jeffery is in

LOHD breaking news…..This just in.....LOHD reporter Big Angry just emailed Moose and said that early reports are saying that USC WR recruit Alshon Jeffery has qualified and will be taking summer 2 classes at USC. Seems he made the grade....

Now let’s just hope he can step up and be the go to receiver the USC Gamecocks need him to be!