Last season, the South Carolina defense was full of names. Safety D.J. Swearinger made a name for himself by making big hits and intimidating players on the field. DeVonte Holloman was a consistent presence at the spur and linebacker positions, as were Shaq Wilson, Quin Smith and Reginald Bowens.
There are a few familiar wide receivers from last season that will return this year for South Carolina, but some new names are expected to contribute, too. The big story involving the receivers for the game against North Carolina is the status of junior Bruce Ellington, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury. He would normally start as an outside receiver, but is not listed as a starter in the depth chart USC released before this week’s game.
When the Gamecocks take the field against North Carolina in the 2013 season opener, the team will have a slightly different look than fans are used to. Earlier this month, Under Armour rolled out a brand-new uniform set for South Carolina football. In terms of looks, the threads are not too much of a departure from the uniform the Gamecocks have worn for the past two years; the name and number fonts remain the same, and the stripes have been moved from the front of the jersey to the shoulders.
The hot topic on the defensive side of the ball for the Gamecocks has been whether they will be able to slow down North Carolina coach Larry Fedora’s fast-paced offense.
South Carolina is once again gearing up for a season full of high expectations. After finishing last year in the top 10, there is nothing to suggest that the team can’t do the same this season. Sure, they lost tailback Marcus Lattimore for good, but the Gamecocks have had to make do without him for portions of the last two seasons. In addition, the defense took a hit with the loss of Devin Taylor, DeVonte Holloman and Shaq Wilson, but coach Steve Spurrier and company have done a good job over the last few years developing depth in all of the defensive positions. With that said, here are some “strengths” of the 2013 team and five “weaknesses.”
It is always tough in the first game of a season to plan for the opponent’s defense. Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott admitted it will be a challenge for the Gamecock offense at first if North Carolina comes out with a defense that they have not seen before.
For most of the summer, South Carolina fans did not know which tailback would be walking out onto the field first when the season started. Finally, at the end of fall camp, they learned that sophomore Mike Davis would start against North Carolina.
Daily Gamecock Sports Editor Kyle Heck had five questions about the upcoming matchup for Daily Tar Heel Sports Editor Brooke Pryor. Here are her answers.
One of the biggest questions for South Carolina coming into the 2013 season was who would play linebacker. Last year, the linebacker and spur position was stockpiled with seniors including Devonte Holloman, Quin Smith, Shaq Wilson and Damario Jeffrey.
South Carolina’s depth chart at the cornerback position this year can be best described as top-heavy. Redshirt senior Jimmy Legree and redshirt junior Victor Hampton, the projected starters at defensive back in secondary coach Grady Brown’s defensive backfield, combined to start 20 games last season.
With just one day before the season opener, South Carolina’s injury report is becoming a little more certain. Coach Steve Spurrier said on his call-in show Tuesday that tight end Rory Anderson is officially ruled out of the game against North Carolina, but tight end Jerell Adams should be able to play. Spurrier said Adams has run around “decent” in practice the last few days.
Andrew Allden, USC’s new distances and cross country assistant coach, believes the cross country team has the potential to be a top-ranked program nationally. Allden, who has 27 years of coaching experience, coached at South Carolina from 1996 to 2001. During his stint in Columbia, Allden led the Gamecock cross country team to their best Southeastern Conference Championship finish in program history — No. 5 — in 1999.
South Carolina’s matchup with North Carolina is two days away and the team is starting to come together, head coach Steve Spurrier said.