Saturday, June 20, 2009

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Saturday Gamecock Clips

1. USC baseball coach Ray Tanner continues to build his program for the future Friday with a commitment for 2011 from multi-position player Austin Gambrell (6-2 165) of Belton-Honea Path.

2. The 7th round pick, Stoney Woodson, signs up for his payday with the Giants...a mere $1.8 mil...not bad for a part-time starter the past three seasons. To make room for Woodson, the Giants cut CB Rashad Barksdale.

3. Staley flexing muscle with big offseason

Other stuffs
---Dennis Dodd of writes about the issue of Florida’s 24 arrests under Urban Meyer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Go Easy Chris Low on the Gamecocks Chances

ESPN's Chris Low writes today when asked about the gamecocks chances of winning the SEC EAST:

"I do think the Gamecocks will be improved on the offensive line. Steve Spurrier has been impressed by what he's seen out of new offensive line coach Eric Wolford, who will also head up South Carolina's running game. This much we know: The offensive line can't get much worse. The Gamecocks didn't run the ball very well last season, nor did they protect the passer. The defensive line, especially with the return of tackle Ladi Ajiboye from suspension, will again be strong. My biggest concern with the Gamecocks is all the young players they will be playing. They have no depth in the secondary and nobody behind Garcia should he get hurt. I like the Gamecocks' chances to make it back to a bowl game, but I honestly don't give them any shot in the Eastern Division race. Their schedule is one of the toughest in the league."
Ouch, easy, give it to us with some sugar-coating next time b/c we know the reality we face but give us some hope b/c we are gamecocks fans (insert 'wait till next year phrase')....thoughts?

Way to go Ron Aiken

A story from the Free Times by Ron Aiken

Barker: Unethical Manipulator or Undiagnosed Imbecile?

Allow me, if you will, to delve slightly off-topic to address something in the world of higher education that, I promise, will eventually come to a discussion about sports.

Like many people, I was absolutely shocked to read that Clemson University president James Barker believes in his heart of hearts that Clemson is the best university in the country, having voted it so in the peer-review portion of the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings in 2008, giving the land-grant school the only “strong” rating out of some 260 institutions of higher education.

In fact, not only did Barker vote Clemson as the nation’s best university, what’s more, not only in his mind was Clemson the best, he also scored the majority of the country’s universities as only “marginal.” (One guess where he scored USC.)
By any rubric, there is simply no way any sane person can arrive at the conclusion that Clemson is the best school in the country. Clemson is not even the best school in its own athletic conference by a million miles; a sound argument can be made that it’s not the best school in its own state; and, given the stellar academic reputation of Furman and its off-campus amenities, one can debate whether Clemson is even the best school in the greater Greenville area.

When Clemson University’s Catherine Watt first suggested that Barker had voted thusly as a rule and actually used the word “unethical” in relation to such practices, her claims were immediately derided by the Clemson spin machine as “outrageous” and having crossed the line. In the real world, the one that exists outside Tillman Hall, the only thing “outrageous” here is Barker’s conduct in completing what everyone understands is supposed to be an honest assessment of other school’s reputations, an assessment, it must be noted, that carries the greatest weight ? a hefty 25 percent ? of the overall ranking criteria.

Here’s the issue in a nutshell: Either Barker honestly believes Clemson is a better school than Harvard, in which case he is stupid and should be fired immediately, or he was, as Watt alleged, deliberately disingenuous in his rankings for the sole ? and reprehensible ? purpose of artificially inflating his school’s rankings.

Think of Barker’s rankings this way: You’re a “C” student in a college class, and you learn that a full quarter of your grade will come from the professor asking your honest evaluation of your own and other student’s performance during the course. If you were to give yourself the highest marks over those you know to be smarter than you and who worked harder than you, that would be cheating.

And yet this was done not by a fictitious Clemson student but by Clemson’s actual president. And it was not just one person or one class’ grades that were affected ?an entire national survey used by graduating seniors across the country was deliberately skewed by Barker’s malicious, self-serving degradation of the nation’s best universities. In other words, he cheated to make his agricultural school, and himself by association, look better than it is.

Folks, if Barker and Clemson don’t understand that success obtained through cheating should not be celebrated ? and this to me is by far the most damning condemnation of Barker and Clemson imaginable ? then something in their mindset is seriously warped.

Of his valuation of Clemson in his rankings, Barker wrote this in a letter intended to allay critics, assuage the faithful and stand as his final response on the issue: “I will not apologize for believing that Clemson is the best undergraduate school in America.”

I agree that no one should apologize for their beliefs ? on that point Barker and I are BFFs. However, if you believe that the Earth is the biggest planet in the solar system or that any Harvard graduate would trade their degree for one from Clemson, I have the right to believe you are a dangerous moron who has no business in a position of ethical or educational leadership.

Oh yeah, I was supposed to bring this back around to sports, so here goes. The recent events at Clemson led me to think back to the last time Clemson made it its express goal to be No. 1 in the nation at something at all costs ? in this case, football ? and you’ll recall that to achieve that goal, which it did, Clemson blatantly cheated and manipulated the system to do so, prompting the NCAA to charge the school in 1982 (just one year after winning the now-tainted 1981 title) with no less than 25 specific and severe violations that demonstrated a school out of control in its quest for results.

What this entire sickening episode tells me is that bending the rules and, in some cases, blatantly cheating to achieve rankings is nothing new at Clemson and, it may be argued by the cynical and/or astute, is actually common practice. If that, according to Barker, is the standard of the nation’s best university, then we as a country are screwed indeed.

76 days till USC kicks-off 09 season

Having it close to 100 degrees today in South Carolina reminded us at LOHD that the Gamecock football season is just around the on this hot day remember that Beer Hydrates Better Than Water .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

USC 2nd toughest schedule?

Matt Hayes from the The Sporting News writes about the upcoming SEC football schedule check out this link to read his full explanations, but as usual here is the cliff notes....

The SEC’s non-conference schedules from toughest to weakest:
1. Georgia
2. South Carolina
3. LSU
4. Alabama
5. Tennessee
6. Vanderbilt
7. Mississippi State
8. Auburn
9. Florida
10. Kentucky
11. Arkansas
12. Ole Miss

So this guy has us as having the 2nd toughest schedule in the league and Phil Steele had USC as having the toughest schedule in the nation....I guess bottom line is the schedule is not a cake walk and the Gamecock football team will have to "man-ip" in 09!

USC signees not qualified / Jeffery crossing fingers

Three South Carolina football signees are headed to either prep school or junior college, while highly touted (4 star) Calhoun County receiver Alshon Jeffery is awaiting test results to see if he qualifies academically.

The 3 players are -

WR Charles Holmes
DE Duane Chisolm
DB Chris Payne

Not surprised really that we lose a couple in the recruiting process...we do this every year. However the Jeffery situation does scare me as he is a playmaker that had a shot at PT this fall.


Gamecocks have more success on recruiting trail - JT Surratt Commits

According to Carolina picked up its eighth commitment of the 2010 recruiting class on today when Parkland (Winston Salem, NC) DT Jalen "J.T." Surratt gave his pledge to USC coaches Jay Graham and Brad Lawing.

Go Cocks! Keep them coming!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shot of Gamecock Mid-Week News

Here is a evening shot of some gamecock links for your reading pleasure and to catch you up -

Also remember this when tailgating in the 90+ heat for Carolina games....

Hallelujah: Beer Hydrates Better Than Water

Hitler Spoof yet this time related to UF Gators

This one is funny but not better that the first one - HERE.

AJ Cann commits to Gamecocks

Offensive lineman A.J. Cann (6-3 265) of Bamberg-Ehrhardt committed to South Carolina on Wednesday morning. Rivals has given this guy 4 stars and rated him as the 2nd best prospect in the nation as a center and 179 out of 250 overall.

Cann, one of the state's top prospects, had been getting serious looks from USC, UNC, UT, UK, Michigan, Clemson, N.C. State and Georgia Tech. Glad he came to his senses...

MORE HERE and via Scout Here

I am so so gald to see USC get a big nasty up front as all gamecock fans know we need all the help we can get up front with our O-line.

Gamecock CB found innocent

More good news for Gamecock fans as USC cornerback C.C. Whitlock was declared innocent on a trespassing charge today and should mean he will return to the football team soon.

Seems he understands the gravity of the situation as here is a quote from the 20 year old --"I do feel like I put myself in a bad situation, and it won't happen again."

More HERE and Here with Joe Person

This prediction by Seth Emerson can not be right...can it?

Seth Emerson of The State takes a stab at looking at the SEC basketball landscape now that the draft has answered lots of questions for teams and we know a little more on some of the recruits teams are picking up--- read his explanations right here, but here is a summary:

SEC East
1. Kentucky
2. Vanderbilt
3. Tennessee
4. South Carolina
5. Florida
6. Georgia

SEC West
1. Mississippi State
2. Alabama
3. LSU
4. Ole Miss
5. Arkansas
6. Auburn

BUT Andy Katz from the ESPN world has the gamecocks in his early Top 25 (at 23) for next year.
So the #23 team in the land is picked to finish 4th in the SEC East?
I don't buy it. If anything I feel, emotionally and on paper, we are at the very least the second best team in the SEC East and in the Top 4 in the SEC as a whole. Help me understand this....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dalles signs pro contract

Justin Dalles becomes the 2nd gamecock player to sign a pro contract this week, as D-Mack signed early in the week with the New York Yankee's. We here at LOHD wish both players the best of luck in the pro's.

Andy Katz says Gamecocks Preseason Top 25

Andy Katz from ESPN has his early pre-preseason TOP 25 college basketball programs listed HERE and he has the USC Gamecocks at #23!

Here is what he writes:

23. South Carolina: The Gamecocks were a game or two away from making the NCAAs last season. They got Devan Downey and Dominique Archie back from the NBA draft. Downey played extremely well in workouts and has the capability to take over games. This is a team that should only get better and make the SEC East one of the toughest groupings in the country.

I like it...thoughts?

Update on former Gamecock baseball players

The Charleston Paper has a good update on former gamecocks HERE but below is a summary of what they mention - - -
  • In his 8th season in the minor leagues, Drew Meyer (former SS for USC) now is playing second base for Houston's Class AA team in Corpus Christi. Through 56 games, Meyer is batting .314 with two home runs and 23 runs batted-in.
  • Former Gamecock SP Mike Cisco returned from DL to have a strong outing and improve his marks to 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA with Class A Clearwater.
  • Fomer USC 1b Justin Smoak and former gamecock SS Reese Havens both remain on the disabled list.

Monday, June 15, 2009

USC gets another QB; Shaw the real deal?

The USC football team Monday afternoon landed a commitment from QB Dylan Thompson (6-3 210) of Boiling Springs (same school as Phil Petty).

More HERE and HERE and HERE

Also here is a good read on USC QB commitment Connor Shaw, the Flowery Branch QB who threw for 2,200 yards and ran for 941 as a junior. He too is a 2010 recruit and makes this a 2 QB class which could be good for Spurrier as he transitions the game plan from a pro-style Qb to more of the current college QB style that can run and throw (basically create).

D Mack signs with NY Yankees

Gamecock OF DeAngelo Mack signed a contract Monday morning with the New York Yankees.

He is scheduled to open the season with the Staten Island Yankees in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League later this week.

I was hoping he would come back to play for Tanner after leading the Gamecocks in hitting with a .361 batting average to go with 14 homers and 60 RBI. I am sure he has his reasons -- chance at MLB stardom, no more school, money, being part of the Yankees and did I mention money.

LOHD wishes him all the best!

LINK: USC's Mack signs with Yankees

2009 CFN South Carolina Preview / Scout has their preseason preview of the Gamecock football season up and would recommend you reading it.

Here is how it starts...

"The grand experiment hasn't exactly worked so far, with South Carolina going 28-21 in four years under Steve Spurrier, and while the national expectations might be low after so much mediocrity, the pieces are there for this to be a very interesting, if not a special season."

I hold out hope that it will be a special season but the schedule looks tough on paper. Still feel strongly that a lot rests on the shoulders (or arm) of Garcia. Spurrier & Co have excellent pieces to the puzzle but also it is a young team. Which could go either way...but nonetheless I am excited and not having the spotlight on the gamecocks could play into their advantage. First hurdles of NC State and UGA will tell a lot on how this year's version of the "experiment" will turn out.

Check out these CFN links:

Ten Best USC Players

According to CFN, here are the 10 best USC players on paper going into the 2009 season ---

Ten Best USC Players
1. LB Eric Norwood, Sr.
2. SS Darian Stewart, Sr.
3. DT Nathan Pepper, Sr.
4. FS Chris Culliver, Jr.
5. DT Ladi Ajiboye, Jr.
6. QB Stephen Garcia, Soph.
7. LB Rodney Paulk, Jr.
8. RB Jarvis Giles, Fr.
9. CB Stephon Gilmore, Fr.
10. OT Jarriel King, Jr.