Fresh off their worst season in 5 years, the Gamecocks will be out to prove that it was just blip on the radar. They began the year poised to compete for the SEC East title, but ending 3-5 in the conference and just 7-6 overall. The defense was less than stellar, so that is going to have to be major improved if they hope to do any better in 2015.
The Gamecocks are still without a solid starter at the quarterback position. They are losing Dylan Thompson, who set South Carolina’s single season passing record with 3,564 yards last year. The top pick to replace him thus far is sophomore Connor Mitch. He had a great prep career, so hopefully that will transfer into being a prolific passer in the SEC as well. Head coach Steve Spurrier is big on his ability, so look for him to get the initial starting nod. At the running back position, senior Brandon Wilds and sophomore David Williams will be back. Mike Davis, however, left early to go to the NFL. The team must also replace A.J. Cann on the offensive line, after he started the last 51 games for the Gamecocks. The right tack position will likely be taken once again by senior Brandon Shell, who has 36 career starts, which is twice as much as anyone else on the team. That figure alone demonstrates the inexperience that follows South Carolina this season, but time will tell if they can mature quickly to compete on a grander scale than last season.
The defense will have a new coordinator this year to try to turn around last years disaster. Jon Hoke worked with Spurrier at Florida before spending the last 13 years in the NFL. Coming back from being 92nd in the nation in total defense last year, it is hard to see how the Game Cocks will not get better. Safety T.J. Gurley will now be at nickel back. Jordan Diggs is going to move over to safety, and Larenz Brayn will become a linebacker. This shakeup is part of a plan to run a different defensive scheme than last and to get much more production out of an underperforming secondary. They only had 14 sacks last year, good for number 118 in the country, and only 52 tackles for a loss, which put them at number 121 in the nation. Improvement is needed. If they can do that, look for the Gamecocks to finish fifth in the competitive SEC East and #37 in the nation.
To establish themselves as a power in the SEC, the Gamecocks will have to prove themselves against tough opponents on their schedule that include LSU, Missouri, Florida, and Georgia. Spurrier and the Gamecocks will have to bring their A game in order to establish themselves as a competitive team in the SEC.
Courtesy of Beachcarolina.com