TRC Unleashed returns from a well-earned sabbatical just in time for Signing Day, and guess who they have in tow? Only six-time South Carolina Sportscaster of the Year Phil Kornblut and his mad recruiting knowledge.
But seriously, Phil brings every bit of his 30+ years of covering recruiting to the table and it is well worth listening to his take on this year’s Gamecock recruiting class (hint: it’s pretty darned good) and the players we can expect to see on the field in 2013.
You do have to listen to us ramble on about basketball for about 15 minutes before we bring Phil in, but it’s well worth the wait.
Click the graphic to LISTEN UP!
In football lore, it is known simply as “The Drive”.
It was the 1987 AFC Championship Game between the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos. Down by a touchdown with 5:32 left to play, John Elway led the Broncos on a 15-play, 98-yard drive to tie the game which they eventually won in overtime. ”The Drive” was a legendary march that is universally recognized as one of the clutch moments in the history of the game.
Until the final drive of the 2013 Outback Bowl, no drives by a Gamecock offense (in any era) deserve to be compared to The Drive. The 1993 drive to win the Georgia game at Sanford Stadium probably comes closest, but that game was the first of a season in which USC finished 4-7 and Georgia finished 5-6. A great drive in Gamecock history, yes, but it’s hard to put any meaningful historical context around it.
Some impressive drives were longer and consumed more time and plays (see the 98 yard game-clinching and time-eating drive against Tennessee in 2011), but none were more compelling, meaningful or magical than the final drive of the Outback Bowl this year.
Lost in the well-deserved hoopla surrounding ”The Hit” (no explanation necessary) and the quick TD strike to Ace Sanders that followed it, is the fact that Michigan then methodically marched down the field to regain the lead. At that point, we were down 28-27. Three minutes and twenty-nine seconds remained in the game. After a kickoff return by Sidney Rhodes (no, I’ve never heard of him either), things got really interesting:
1. 1st and 10, Gamecock 30-yard line. Bruce Ellington 4-yard pass from Connor Shaw. An unremarkable play, but a positive start (and Bruce’s first catch of the game – a sneak peak – it would not be his last).
2. 2nd and 6, Gamecock 34-yard line. Shaw sacked for a 4-yard loss. Some major doubt started to creep into the heads of the Gamecock faithful at this point. Clock management is not great as time is now bleeding off rapidly. The clock is at 1:58 when the ball is snapped on 3rd down after the sack.
3. 3rd and 10, Gamecock 30-yard line. Rory Anderson 7-yard pass from Shaw. The ball is knocked from Anderson’s grasp as he hits the ground, but it’s eventually ruled a catch. Seventeen seconds inexplicably run off the clock while the officials discuss the play (great officiating in this game, by the way). When the ball is snapped on the 4th down play that follows, 1:21 remained on the clock. At this point, we had used 2:07 of the game clock and gained exactly seven yards. Nothing about this possession appeared to indicate that it would be something special. To the contrary, it appeared to be a complete disaster. Then, in an instant, everything changed.
4. 4th and 3, Gamecock 37-yard line. Sanders 6-yard pass from Shaw. Shaw dropped back and threw a dart to Sanders who beat his man on a slant route. At this point, I am thinking that we might have a small chance to get into field goal range.
5. 1st and 10, Gamecock 43-yard line. Sanders 7-yard pass from Shaw. This is sort of a forgotten play in the sequence, but was pretty amazing in retrospect. Shaw dropped back and was pressured. In what appeared to be a desperation throw, he hurled one towards the sideline and found Sanders. Honestly, I thought Shaw was throwing it away. We are now under a minute to go, :52 to be exact. Carolina called timeout #2, and now had one left. In the ESPN booth, John Gruden and Mike Tirico discuss the shakiness of our field goal unit. Gamecock fans everywhere were thinking the exact same thing.
6. 2nd and 3, Midfield. Sanders 7-yard pass from Shaw. Left tackle Cory Robinson was whipped by his man who rushed in and grabbed Shaw around the waist. He proceeded to sling Shaw towards the ground, but Shaw somehow stayed on his feet and hit Sanders on a shallow route across the middle. Sanders turned upfield and made a move before being dropped. After the play Shaw limped around in obvious pain. The camera then panned to Sanders lying on the turf, also in pain. He had tweaked a knee. While Sanders was attended to, Shaw went to the sideline and removed his helmet. He was clearly done. On one play, we lost our QB and “ace” receiver. Things were looking pretty bleak to say the least.
The clock was down to :42.
Enter Dylan Thompson.
7. 1st and 10, Wolverine 43-yard line. Kenny Miles 3-yard pass from Thompson. Thompson shook off any jitters with a quick completion to the sideline. Solid play that went for positive yards and took little time. A good start for #17.
8. 2nd and 7, Wolverine 40-yard line. Thompson dropped back, avoided a sack, and ran out of bounds for a one yard gain. Another play that is lost in the shuffle. A sack here would have been disastrous. Thompson avoided it and kept the drive alive. Twenty-six seconds remained on the clock.
9. 3rd and 6, Wolverine 39-yard line. Damiere Byrd 7-yard pass from Thompson on a middle receiver screen. Looking back, it was an absolutely fantastic play call by the HBC. Michigan came with a blitz. Thompson calmly delivered a strike to Byrd who ducked in for a first down.
10. 1st and 10, Wolverine 32-yard line. Thompson spiked the ball to stop the clock with :17 left. The HBC was obviously saving his final time out for a field goal. Or so we thought at the time….
11. 2nd and 10, Wolverine 32-yard line. Thompson hits Ellington for a 32-yard TD. Michigan came with a zone blitz. All the Carolina receivers ran verticals, also known as streak routes. Three receivers (Cunningham, Anderson, and Nick Jones) lined up to the left, and two receivers (Ellington and Miles) lined up to the right. Five DBs covered the receivers to the left of the formation and only two covered the ones to the right. Ellington ran to an open spot and Thompson delivered a beautiful ball as he was nailed by a blitzer. Pandemonium erupted in Gamecock households everywhere.
The Drive was remarkable in several respects:
- Shaw and Thompson were a combined 8 for 9 on the march. The only incompletion was an intentional one to stop the clock.
- The drive was started by Shaw (he ran 6 plays) and finished by Thompson (he ran 5). Something tells me that the HBCs decision to give Thompson playing time earlier in the game was a good one. I’ve watched a lot (too much) football in my day, and I can’t remember another instance where a backup QB finished a game winning drive after the starter was knocked out.
- Both Shaw and Thompson avoided almost certain sacks that probably would have spelled doom.
- The drive was completed with our star receiver on the sideline with a knee injury. No Shaw, No Lattimore, No Ace. No problem. [Recall that last year we finished up without Garcia, Lattimore, and Jeffrey]
In a game full of big plays, one of which was the play of the bowl season, the final drive has been overshadowed and almost forgotten. Normally, a drive of this magnitude and containing such drama would almost certainly receive more attention and praise. Without it, The Hit could not be credited with shifting the momentum in the game.
While not a thing of beauty, the guts exhibited by Shaw, Thompson and Sanders symbolize the make up of the 2011 and 2012 Gamecock squads.
To borrow from Ray Tanner, the “Win Anyway” attitude of these teams culminated and peaked in one glorious drive that, upon reflection, will likely go down as the greatest in Gamecock football history.
It started with a tweet from PegPelvisPete (@PegPelvisPete) last football season, I think it was last football season, that said…
The simplicity of that is magnificent. Just a calm, simple two words that indicate hell is about to be unleashed on anything carrying a football not wearing the Gamecock garnet and black. And it wears number 7.
For some reason that short phrase hit me on the way to work this morning and made me LOL. And I don’t LOL much ever.
This voice in my head – an old southern gentleman, probably some type of a farmer who has seen bad times and don’t likely scare easy – calmly utters this simple phrase…Clowney comin’…and mayhem ensues. People run for cover, falling all over each other to find refuge under a bed or behind a parked car or in a hall closet. They know he’s comin, and it ain’t gonna be good.
So PPP had the idea for the Tumblr site, and I immediately thought of DJ Swearinger Photoshop master George Stevens (@Jorge_Stevens), and those two birthed the site, which is magnificent.
Kudos guys, may it live on forever.
Today Tajh Boyd announced he will be returning in the fall to play his senior season at Clemson.
“This is a great day for me, as I have a great love for Clemson University, and a great love for college football.” Boyd said. “We still have a lot to accomplish as a team, and I have some personal goals I would like to attain at this level before turning my attention to the NFL.”
Boyd then went deeper into his decision to stay in school.
“I’m not going to lie, I like being hit. I get a real rush out of that feeling – just being tackled hard by big defensive linemen and linebackers,” he said. “I’m afraid by going to the NFL I won’t get that feeling, because those offensive linemen protect really well, unlike what I get here week in and week out.”
“This may come as a surprise, but I don’t necessarily want to be protected on every play. I crave getting hit.”
There’s one team in particular he’s looking forward to facing.
“Oh, I’ve got that trip to Williams Brice circled,” Boyd said. “I mean, let’s get one thing straight, we’re not going to win that game. As Clemson Tigers we all need to go ahead and resign ourselves to that fact. But me? I’m looking forward to getting sacked multiple times. Driven into the turf. Blindsided. You name it, I can’t wait.”
The thought of playing against Jadeveon Clowney made for a very emotional moment for Boyd.
“When Clowney hits you it’s just the best. It’s so powerful, and it hurts like crazy. I can’t wait until November so I can feel that feeling again and again,” he said. “That hit in the Outback Bowl…”
Boyd paused for several moments with his hand over his mouth to compose himself.
“It was magical, man. I still have dreams about that – taking a shot right to the chest, helmet flying off – wishing that was me. It CAN be me, that’s one of the main reasons I came back.”
When asked what he will be working on with offensive coordinator Chad Morris during the offseason he didn’t hesitate.
“A lot of runs…to Clowney’s side.”
Polls are flawed. Polls are subjective.
Polls cause arguments that can’t be won by anyone.
Preseason polls are the worst and unnecessary, while postseason polls are ok (and necessary), but still inherently flawed.
South Carolina finished with its highest ranking ever in the final coaches poll, coming in at number seven. However, the two teams that beat the Gamecocks – Florida and LSU – finished behind us.
One of the teams we beat – Georgia – finished ahead of us.
That is because when teams lose, they fall. When teams win, they rise, or at worst stay where they were the previous week. It’s automatic.
So when #6 South Carolina beat #5 Georgia, we rose a little, and they fell a little.
The next week we lost to a top 5 team and Georgia was idle. We fell a little, they rose a little.
Then the next week we lost to a top 5 team again, and Georgia won again. We fell a little, they rose a little. And all of a sudden the team we beat just three weeks prior, by four touchdowns no less, was deemed the better team once again. At least according to the rankings.
Certainly there are variables that lead to more precipitous drops or greater climbs in the polls, but much of your final status is determined by when you lose as much as to whom you lose.
So when I looked at the final top 25 and saw Notre Dame at number three, I just had to do something about it. With apologies to Louis Nix III, we all know they’re not the third best team in the country, right? Not even close.
So, I gave it the old eye test. Who looked the best for the most number of weeks throughout the season, combined with who looked the best at the close of the season. Throw records out (somewhat) and throw statistics out (completely). And throw out transitive properties, because we all know that definitely doesn’t work.
So I put together some unidentifiable criteria in my mostly empty skull and my flawed (but less flawed) Eye Test Top 25 looks something like this:
- Alabama – The Tide was teetering at the end of the year. They lost to TAMU, and barely squeaked by UGA to get into the title game. Then a month-long dose of Saban game-planning combined with a significantly overmatched opponent made Bama look like one of the greatest teams ever. I’m not taking anything away from U of A, they’re a dynasty, plain and simple. I’m just saying the gap between 1 and 2 is not as great as you might think.
- Texas A&M – Pummeled everything in their path once they learned who they were. An A&M-Bama matchup for the title would’ve been a dandy, and in a 16-team tournament format I think would’ve happened. Alas, Alabama gets the edge because, you know, National Championship and all.
- Oregon – I almost have to put them here so I don’t look SO much like an SEC homer. I admittedly didn’t see them play much this year, and there were supremely impressive when I did. Still, they had their problems along the way. Even so, they stick at #3.
- South Carolina – Hey, this is a Gamecock blog, you really expect me to put us behind Georgia? It’s truly a toss-up for the #4 slot, and because of USC’s dominating 35-7 victory in October I have to give this one to the home team.
- Georgia – It pains me to say it, but Georgia was awfully good by the end of the year. Their defense was enigmatic given they have at least NINE draft picks in their starting eleven. Their offense could score with anyone, and almost did in the SECCG. Phew, thank God for tipped passes.
- Stanford - A very tough, physical football team I really enjoyed watching when I had the opportunity. David Shaw has done a remarkable job since taking over for Jim Harbaugh.
- Louisville – You saw the Sugar Bowl, right?
- Florida State – I really don’t know if Florida State deserves to be here. If they ever get coaching to match their top 5 talent they’ll easily be the cream of the ACC crop.
- Florida – Florida had one of the most impressive regular season resumes out there. But you saw the Sugar Bowl, right?
- Clemson – You won’t hear this spoken on this blog very often, but really a pretty good team. Boyd is definitely one of the top quarterbacks in the country when not playing South Carolina. And their skill talent is excellent. Still, probably would be the sixth, seventh best team in the SEC.
(Quick, everybody do a quick chant with me: SEC! SEC! SEC!)
- Kansas State – Remarkable what Bill Snyder has done with this program.
- LSU – Incredible talent. Massive brain farting by the head coach. No reason these guys shouldn’t finish top 5 every season. Instead they lose to an ACC team to close out the year.
- Boise State – Completely off my radar all year, but finished with a great record and an impressive bowl victory, albeit against a pretty terrible Washington team.
- Notre Dame - National Championship contender? Puh-leeze.
- Northwestern - Pat Fitzgerald is a great, great coach. Has made a perennial doormat into a consistent winner. Don’t know why his name doesn’t come up more often in coaching circles. Maybe because he’s a Northwestern alum.
- Oklahoma - Get sick of hearing about this team every year when they’re only slightly above average. Bitch-slapped by TAMU.
- Vanderbilt - Might deserve to be higher. Another amazing coaching job, but James Franklin has a lot of that Dabo rah-rah in him which can wear thin pretty easily. Then again, this is Vandy. He could probably wear floppy shoes and a big red nose on the sideline and they wouldn’t care as long as he’s winning.
- Utah State – Don’t know exactly why, but here they are.
- Texas – See Oklahoma, but with a bowl win.
- Michigan – Good team with a good coach. Michigan will be a Top 10 team again shortly.
- Oregon State - Meh.
- Nebraska – Taylor Martinez thinks they should be ranked higher.
- Cincinnati - Meh part II.
- UCLA – Surprisingly good job by Jim Mora. (Not Jr., he’s not a Jr., so stop calling him that.)
- Baylor – Phil Bennett doesn’t believe the SEC has ever seen an offense like this.*Not considered because I’m a football snob:
San Jose State
The TRC Unleashed crew returns from a month long sabbatical to review the amazing Outback Bowl victory over Michigan, and some play that some guy made that a lot of people are talking about.
And Buck tells some people to shut up.
And we break down Dabo’s sermon from New Year’s Eve.
And Tbone promises to broadcast naked if we win the National Title next year. (EWWWWWWW.)
Click the graphic and give a listen!
The “Mt. Rushmore of…” thing comes up in sports discussions (and other facets of life) on occasion. Last week listening to sports talk radio in Atlanta they were talking about the Braves’ Mt. Rushmore and who would be on it.
I tweeted a question to our followers that night about who would make the Mt. Rushmore of Gamecock football and got several responses. There are some givens, but there were also some surprising responses (IMHO). So I decided to go through who the contenders are (IMHO), and then give you the definitive TRC Mt. Rushmore of Gamecock Football.
What does the Mt. Rushmore of Gamecock Football mean? Hell, I don’t know. But I tried to come up with people who I feel have been the greatest players or coaches, most memorable player or coaches, and had the greatest impact on the Gamecock football program over its history. I included mostly players, and one coach. Could a case for an AD or other administrator be made? Maybe even a fan or booster? Sure, but I couldn’t think of any to include in my list.
Again, these are my humble opinions (IMHO), so don’t get too bent out of shape if your favorite Gamecock didn’t make the list. Also, Mt. Rushmore has FOUR people. No more. No less. So if you think someone should have their face carved in stone, remember, you have a make a case for them that’s stronger than my final four. Good luck.
Steve Wadiak (RB, 1948-1951) – Perhaps the best and most memorable football player in the first 70 years of Gamecock football. Still ranks fourth all-time and South Carolina in rushing yards with 2,878. Southern Conference player of the year in 1950 and was mentioned on a few All-America teams. Was drafted in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but tragically died in a car accident in March of 1952. Jersey number 37 is retired.
The verdict: If the Gamecock football Mt. Rushmore had been built prior to 2010, there is no doubt Wadiak would be a part of it. But now, while it’s hard to leave him off, it’s also difficult to find a spot for him. For me, it came down to Wadiak and Lattimore for the final spot.
Jeff Grantz (QB , 1973-1975) – If this was a Mt. Rushmore of Gamecock athletes as opposed to Gamecock football players, Grantz would be a shoo-in. He was a second-team All-America quarterback and was also an integral part of three USC baseball teams, including the 1975 College World Series team. Besides a 260-yard rushing game, his overall numbers don’t exactly dazzle, but then again football was a different game in the 70’s.
The verdict: The old-timers would tell you you’re crazy for leaving Grantz off, but there are just too many ahead of him.
George Rogers (RB, 1977-1980) – 1980 Heisman Trophy winner.
The verdict: 1980 Heisman Trophy winner, he’s in.
Sterling Sharpe (WR, 1983-1987) – I made the case for Sharpe as the greatest Gamecock football player ever back in 2010. I still think that is the case, for now. There are few clips left of Sharpe as a collegian, and that is a shame, as he was the most electric football player I have ever seen in person. A two-time All-American, he was headed for the NFL Hall of Fame before a neck injury cut his career short. Has been a successful analyst for ESPN and the NFL Network for years.
The verdict: A no-doubter in my mind.
Steve Taneyhill (QB, 1992-1995) – The long-haired QB from Pennsylvania led the Gamecocks to their first ever bowl victory. Getting that monkey of the collective Gamecock Nation back puts him the running automatically. But he was also a pretty darned good quarterback and holds the single-season records for TDs (29), completion percentage (67%), and total completions (261), and the career record for TDs with 62.
The verdict: I’m sure there will be some wondering why Todd Ellis didn’t get consideration and Taneyhill did. The deciding factor was that, from a national perspective, #18 was the easily most recognizable Gamecock between Rogers and Holtz, a span of almost 20 years. Even so, Taneyhill doesn’t make the cut.
John Abraham (DE, 1996-1999) – Prior to a guy named Clowney, the best defensive end to ever play in a USC uniform. However, he had the misfortune of playing on the two worst Gamecock football teams ever. Led the team in sacks all four years at USC, and is still one of the most dominant ends in the NFL at age 34. Borderline Hall of Famer.
The verdict: Didn’t get the pub because of the teams he played on, but Abraham was on par with Jadeveon Clowney as far as dominance at the DE position. (His NFL career if proof of that.) Closer to being in stone than you might think, but doesn’t quite make it.
Sidney Rice (WR, 2005-2006) – Depending on whose opinion you’re getting, no worse than the third best wide receiver in USC history, Rice broke multiple records in his two seasons on the gridiron. Finished with 2233 yards and 23 TD catches, including the single-season record of 13. Despite injury problems, currently one of the more dangerous wideouts in the NFL.
The verdict: Just a spectacular player, has more than proven his worth at the highest level. Would’ve loved to have seen him play for SOS for at least one more year. But with only two years on the field he doesn’t make the cut.
Alshon Jeffery (WR, 2009-2011) – Dominant and doggone fun to watch. Holds the record for catches and yards in a single season (88-1517). Didn’t really come onto the scene until halfway through his freshman year, and then had a sub-par junior season, but everything in between was downright spectacular. Just ask #1 ranked Alabama.
The verdict: There were a surprising number of tweets that mentioned #1 for Gamecock Mt. Rushmore. As great as he was, he doesn’t make the list for me.
Marcus Lattimore (RB, 2010-2012) – I don’t think I need to go into much detail as to why he’s on the list here. Considered as much for what he has meant to the program off the field for his considerable accomplishments on the field.
The verdict: As I said above, the fourth spot to me came down to Wadiak and Lattimore, and really it’s a toss-up. I went with Latti because I feel like he might be the most beloved Gamecock of all time, and think his legacy will be lasting.
Jadeveon Clowney (DE, 2011-present) – On his way to being the most dominant Gamecock defender ever.
The verdict: “On his way…” Check back this time next year and maybe he gets a spot in stone, but as of today he’s not quite there yet.
Steve Spurrier (HBC, 2005-present) – Winningest head coach ever at USC. Has had more impact on our football program than any other individual.
The verdict: The last three years make this one a no-brainer.
Others considered – Paul Dietzel, Andrew Provence, Robert Brooks, Todd Ellis, Lou Holtz
And, drumroll please, here is the TRC Gamecock Football Mt. Rushmore:
If you live in the shadows of Clemson Tiger University the way that I do, you’ve probably heard the latest orange-tinged ruckus about Gamecock uber-safety, D.J. Swearinger. It seems that our junior FBS fan base to the north is upset because #36 hits too hard, or enjoys the game too much, or expresses himself too readily for their collectively refined tastes.
Now I won’t go to any great lengths to point out the hypocrisy of their position, but Jaron Brown’s behind the play earholing of Shaq Wilson last year does spring to mind. And CTU Strength and Conditioning Coach, Joey Batson, (listen to the :20 mark here) yelling at Wilson to “read your history books, punk.” I’m also cognizant of the repeated cheap shots to the face of Syvelle Newton that ultimately led to a bench clearing brawl in the 2004 game. And I’m sure many Gamecocks remember Clemson’s Brentson Buckner literally standing on a Carolina offensive lineman as he yelled “get some players” in the 1991 debacle at Williams Brice.
I won’t get into details of those, or the myriad other, examples of poor sportsmanship by the Tigers. But it is grating to witness the sudden holier-than-thou attitudes of their fans now that our dominance of the rivalry has, at long last, asserted itself.
But back to our man D.J. The specific incident that has the Tigers upset is not, as you might expect, the bone-rattling takedown of Andre Ellington, or Swearinger’s immediate arm flexing antics that followed. Instead, they are most upset about the disrespect that #36 supposedly showed to their beloved Head Coach, Dabo Swinney. Quoting from the Tiger Illustrated write-up:
– We’ve received some questions about the incident between South Carolina defensive back D.J. Swearinger and Dabo Swinney in the final moments of last week’s game at Death Valley. Numerous people who witnessed the incident tell us that Swearinger verbally confronted Swinney as Clemson took over for its final possession with 23 seconds left.
Basically, it was a profanity-laced tirade in which Swearinger screamed that Swinney couldn’t back up his talk. Swearinger had to be directed to the other side of the field by a teammate because the ball was about to be snapped.
Swinney did not say anything during Swearinger’s rant, but he addressed it with his players afterward in the locker room by telling them they’d be kicked off the team if they ever confronted an opposing coach.
So what, exactly, did D.J. yell at Dabo? D.J. isn’t talking, other than to offer the following via his twitter feed:
Sooooo i cussed dabo out after the game??!?!?! Thats funny, people a say anything to ‘TRY’ n bring you down lol but for the record, i didnt
— DJ Swearinger (@JungleBoi_Swagg) December 3, 2012
We’ve decided to try to reconstruct the so-called “tirade.” So after careful film study, consultation with a lip reader and several linguistic experts (OK, me and a couple of guys from work), we can definitely state that DJ said one of the following, depending on the listed topic he might have chosen. Or not. Just go with it, people. Sheesh:
Geographic: “If USC is in California, and Carolina is in Chapel Hill, then what team is it that keeps whooping your ass, Dabo?”
Technological: “Man I tried to change my bank password to “Clemson” but I got an error message saying “TOO WEAK.””
Encouraging: “Keep your chin up, Coach Swinney, you will go through puberty SOME DAY.”
Oscar Wildean: “Coach, the simplicity of your character makes you exquisitely incomprehensible to me.”
Matriarchal: “Yo, Dabo, me and you got one big thing in common, in college we both slept with your [REDACTED].”
Obscure: ”When you get lost in thought, Dabo, do you feel like a stranger there?”
Dickensian: “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”
Full Disclosure: “Coach, I’ll give you and Chad a fighting chance on this one: We’re playing deep thirds with a robber in the weakside flat. Oh, and Clowney’s coming hard off the edge.”
Mayan Calendar: “Look on the bright side, Coach: the pain will be over in less than a month.”
Fashionable: “Nice sweatshirt, coach. Might wanna get one a couple of sizes smaller, oh and in any color but orange.”
Gynecological: “You’ve got sand where? And it’s been there for FOUR YEARS? Might wanna have that checked by a doctor.”
Zombie Apocalypse: “I’d steer clear of Venables, Coach. Dude looks like he’s already been bitten.”
Factual: “Dabo, you make so many people in this state happy. You bring real joy to so many folks, you really do. Well, all the Gamecock fans, anyway.”
* * *
–Oh, and this picture is for all the tongue-clicking, suddenly-saintly, Tiger fans, even though we couldn’t figure out how to work it into the narrative:
The worm has turned…big time.
Yeah, we know that’s pretty obvious to most based on the winning streak and all, but we eternal pessimists at TRC occasionally need some convincing. Why? As lifelong Gamecocks fans, it’s sometimes hard for us to actually believe this transformation has happened.
I’ll admit it, as late as kickoff I had my doubts about Saturday’s outcome after learning that Connor Shaw was out. I’m just glad that the HBC and the team knew better.
After having a couple of days to reflect, I’ve arrived at some conclusions about our series with Clemson Tiger University, aka CTU. While they have the overall record and all (big whoop), it is now crystal clear that we have caught them. And passed them. Like they are standing still.
To hammer this point home, here are some cumulative statistics from the four game winning streak:
- Score: USC 124, CTU 54
- 1st Downs: USC 80, CTU 57
- Total Yards: USC 1574, CTU 992
- Rushing Yards: USC 662, CTU 324
- Passing Yards: USC 912, CTU 668
- Time of Possession (Average): USC 37 minutes, CTU 23 minutes
- Turnovers: USC 3, CTU 9
From these numbers, it’s clear that we are winning the old-fashioned way: by controlling the clock and winning the turnover margin. We now dominate the line of scrimmage. In short, we now beat them like they used to beat us.
I remember all too well when CTU used to intimidate us. They punished us with a bruising ground game and stuffed the run on defense.
Now, it is the Gamecocks who are doing the intimidating.
Today their fans are all whining about DJ’s hit on Andre Ellington and his post-annihilation antics. He’s a “thug” and such they are saying.
Puh-lease. Last time I checked, this is big boy football. At least on our end of things.
CTU can take their new choir-boy-we-love-everybody attitude and see how far that takes them. I can tell you, it ain’t taking them very far. Their league and their program are marshmallow soft. It’s not an accident that Nuk Dropkins, er Hopkins, dropped a couple of balls after DJ posterized Ellington. It’s all about toughness, depth and athleticism on the offensive and defensive lines.
We are committed to this brand of football as there is no other path to success in the SEC. You either keep up or get crushed.
From a quick glance around the internet, you can tell that reality is starting to set in in the Upstate. The kool-aid drinkers are suddenly in the minority. Finesse and trickery can overwhelm AA competition, but it simply does not cut it in the major leagues. And make no mistake about it, the SEC is The Show. If there was any doubt, yesterday’s results were a flashing neon sign to CTU and the ACC:
Mack truck coming through. Get your crappy Fiat out of the left lane.
Clowney-CTU Record Holder. Clowney set a Death Valley record for sacks in a game (breaking a record held by the great Bruce Smith). That’s more than William Perry, Michael Dean Perry, Daquan Bowers, Trevor Price, Ricky Sapp, and all the other CTU defensive lineman have had there. And Clowney has played there exactly once.
Morons. There are a few CTU fans who are still insisting, after all we have seen, that they have the better team. These folks either know absolutely zip about football or are so mesmerized by the cult of Dabo that they can’t see what it right in front of their face. Hell, even the cult leader admitted post game that we have the better team. He was very complimentary. Almost too complimentary. It’s almost like he wanted to get that out of the way so he could say he did it. We all know what’s coming next: the propaganda machine is in production mode. I can’t wait to see what it spits out this time.
Push-off Payback. The excuses are starting to leak out. But for the two interference calls against CTU in the 2nd half, they would have won. Never mind that we didn’t score on that drive, it was a clock and possession thing they say. Well, I’ve got two answers for that: 1. Jimmy Legree was ROBBED, and 2. no amount of bad calls (assuming, for the sake of argument, that they were) will EVER add up to egregious bad call that handed the Push Off game to CTU. Bad calls happen and they are a bitch. Deal with it.
Let’s get one for the thumb next year, then get that other hand ready to go. This streak may last a while.