For those Gamecock fans who are old enough to remember the
Paul Dietzel era, you hear story after story about the success Herman Helms had
at The State in spewing negativity to the point that a change was made. Certainly the modern day moron over there has
done his best to keep up that legacy of the “hometown” paper antagonizing USC
for the sake of being confrontational.
For the first time ever, that effort has failed and a Coach has survived. Steve Spurrier’s first five seasons were an
absolute grind. Just like other legends
that had come to Columbia, it appeared that the Head Ball Coach’s tenure would
end badly. At that point you could hear
all kinds of “Dietzel the sequel” references from old-school Carolina
Instead of that “typical” ending, Spurrier roars into season
#9 with his best roster ever and the national spotlight on Williams-Brice like
it’s never been before. The Gamecocks
have a very difficult schedule as they always do and will, but this one appears
to be manageable. The SEC road trips
include Athens, Mizzou, Fayetteville and Knoxville. A bonus trip to Central Florida is
badly-timed and dangerous but it is there.
For the first time since he has been in Columbia, you get
the sense that the HBC is actually “happy” with his quarterbacks. Connor Shaw is the angelic choir boy with the
great work ethic (Spurrier’s ideal QB).
Then you have the more media-friendly “gunslinger” Dylan Thompson. Thompson being there when things get tough
for Shaw or the little guy gets beat up a bit has paid dividends already. (See Clemson and the Outback Bowl)
So why is this the year that Spurrier seems to have finally
turned back into the “cocky” ball coach we all used to hate in
After all, there are
certainly some BIG question marks about this season:
Can USC’s new
linebackers get the job done?
Is there enough depth in the secondary?
Connor Shaw finally win a really big marquee game on the road?
I get it that Spurrier doesn’t have to worry himself with
the first two defense concerns but he has to know that #3 lingers in the air in
a big way. Shaw has done just about
everything else you can do as a QB at Carolina….except win that signature road
win as a starter. Miss. State and
Tennessee in 2011 were nice wins of course, as were Vandy and Kentucky in
2012. But Alshon rescued us in
Starkville by making a tremendous catch and the Vols were sleepwalking through
one of their worst years ever and we end up slipping away 14-3.
Fair or unfair those wins are overshadowed by the losses at
LSU and Florida last year and the disastrous trip to Fayetteville in 2012. At some point this season, Shaw (who has been
brilliant in Columbia), must lead us to a victory on his own on the road under
pressure circumstances. That is part of
an SEC QB’s legacy. I would say that
there is one golden opportunity for that early on this fall: Between the hedges. If he does, then Spurrier’s return to
swagger and cockiness will be justified!
Go get ‘em Connor. It’s the chance
you have been waiting for.
It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!