A Hater’s Guide to Cam Newton and Other Tusings

If you’ve been reading TRC for a while, you’ll know that its primary authors don’t care so much for Cam Newton.  And that’s only partly because he almost single-handedly beat South Carolina once and obliterated South Carolina once during the 2010 season.  The real reason is we think he’s a big, fat, cheating phony.  (But we’ll not resort to childish name calling here, it’s beneath us.)

Apparently some guy named Nolan Nawrocki with some publication called Pro Football Weekly Draft Preview feels the same way we do.  He goes over Newton’s football-related shortcomings (yawn) like the fact he’s only played at a high level for one year, his vision is not great, his accuracy and timing need work, etc. 

But then Mr. Nawrocki gets personal when talking about Newton:

“Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup.”

You don’t say.

Newton likes the spotlight? I'm afraid I'll need some more evidence.

“Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them.”


“Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law.”

Go on.

“Does not command respect from teammates and will always struggle to win a locker room.”


“Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example. Immature and has had issues with authority. Not dependable.”


I have no idea what Mr. Nawrocki’s credentials are or where he gets his information, but that is some harsh stuff.  Harsh, and not one bit surprising. 

Other Tuesday musings:

  • The worst week of Darrin Horn’s professional career is now behind him, and it appears he will be the coach of the Gamecocks in 2011-2012.  As a matter of fact, there has been a slight, surprising groundswell of support for him (and I’m not just referring to Ron Morris, who attempts to swim upstream against pretty much any Gamecock opinion).  But to those of you using the “Coach K didn’t win his first few years at Duke” argument in support of Horn, please stop, you’re embarrassing yourself.
  • Besides the Spurrier “arrest” last week, has this been the quietest spring practice of all time?  Maybe it’s because every piece of “insider” information these days requires a paid subscription.  Not that I’m complaining, hopefully someday you’ll be subscribing to our blog (crickets).  Speaking of spring practice…
  • It’s good to hear Eric Baker is contributing out of the backfield this spring.  Dude has had a rough go of it since arriving at Carolina, and I think he has a chance to do some good things for us this coming year.
  • Best newcomer this spring?  With all due respect to Kelcy Quarles, who gets some props here, it seems like I’m hearing the name Martay Mattox after every practice.  Hopefully he’ll turn out to be another one of those local guys Georgia regrets passing on (see: Dunta Robinson).
  • Switching gears to basketball, what a great, fun NCAA tournament.  One of the best I can remember.  But to the teams still complaining about not getting in, my message to you is this – don’t lose to crappy teams.  If you don’t, you won’t have to compete with other schools that lost to crappy teams for the final spot(s) in the field.
  • And to baseball – great, great series win over Florida this weekend.  I still have my doubts talent-wise about this team, but no team in the country is tougher or knows how to win close games like these Gamecocks.  I’ll take them every time.
  • I would like to close with some sort of movie, music or other cultural reference, but my life has been consumed with remodeling a bathroom.  My advice if you’re thinking about doing the same – pay somebody.  Pay them whatever they ask. 

We’d Like to Ask you a Few Questions /flashes badge

You may have seen this video from practice yesterday. It’s recommended viewing, if for no other reason that to point out that the HBC is either A. Brilliant, B. The Man You’re Wife Wishes You Were, C. Bat-crap Crazytime Insane, or D. All of the above. (Note:this thing-that-really-happened is also probably relevant in the analysis)

Regardless, what we have here is an ersatz demonstration of what legal-types call a “Terry Frisk.” A Terry Frisk, so named because of the Supreme Court case, Terry v. Ohio 392 U.S. 1 (1968), which allows peace officers to stop and briefly detain an individual if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person recently has, or currently is, committing a crime. If the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the targeted individual might be carrying a weapon, then the stop can include a brief pat down search of the person in order to eliminate that possibility.

Where the HBC faux-detention (and the Jadeveon Clowney cuffing it was based on) deviates from this common practice is with the unnecessary handcuffing. Terry does NOT stand for the proposition that an officer can handcuff you just for questioning. Handcuffing is more than a brief stop for questioning, and is more in the nature of an outright arrest.  Now if the surrounding circumstances warrant the cuffing, then this deprivation of personal liberty can be justified, but not when a single individual is surrounded by several officers, relatively docile, and completely cooperative.  A handcuffing in that innocuous circumstance is excessive and not within the conduct allowed under Terry and its progeny.

You still with me?

What I aiming at is that the Columbia Police Department improperly handcuffed Clowney and Dixon. That they did so in a public place betrayed that they either don’t understand or don’t care about the constitutional limits on their powers to detain individual citizens.  I suspect the CPD enjoys having the spotlight when Gamecock athletes are involved in relatively minor brushes with the law.  I also suspect that the CPD officers in this case knew exactly who they were detaining, and it made them feel all warm inside to bask in the reflected light of the nation’s number one football signee.

I would like to contrast, without weighing in on which is the more correct approach, the Columbia PD’s approach with that of another “C”PD – the Clemson Police Department.  That CPD takes a different approach insofar as they go to great lengths to protect CTU athletes from embarrassment or undue attention.  I’ve heard this approach articulated from the highest of CTU officials, and have seen examples ranging from not releasing the occurrence of an arrest until forced to do so, all the way to delaying the arrest and prosecution of a troubled athlete until after the player had all but exhausted his eligibility. The CTU �administration even has an employee in its Athletic Department who’s job description includes serving as a liaison between the department and local law enforcement. You’ve heard that CTU sells its recruits on the “family atmosphere?” Well, this engagement with local law enforcement is a large part of that purported family setting.

All we’ve got is the HBC doing a pantomime after practice.  Oh, and a police department that apparently gets off by harassing our players.

Ellington Still Needs to Improve His Decision Making

Let me preface this blog post with this – I have never seen Bruce Ellington play football.  I understand he was undoubtedly a Division I prospect in the sport, was wanted by Steve Spurrier and staff, and put on an epic performance in the last football game he played.  That being said…

This Bruce Ellington playing football thing is a bad idea.

Let’s look at it practically.  Early indications are Ellington is going to play on offense and possibly return kicks.  Let’s make the following assumptions:

  • We can generously assume about 70 offensive plays in a game. 
  • Marcus Lattimore will get 25 rushing attempts per game, and catch three passes per game.
  • Alshon Jeffery will have eight catches per game.
  • Stephen Garcia will have 10 incompletions and at least five rushing attempts per game. 

That would leave 19 offensive touches that remain to be divided between some combination of Kenny Miles, Eric Baker, Justice Cunningham, D.L. Moore, Ace Sanders, Nick Jones, Jason Barnes, Lamar Scruggs, DeAngelo Smith, and Bryce Sherman.  That doesn’t include possible contributions from incoming freshmen Damiere Byrd and Shon Carson among others.

Oh, and Bruce Ellington. 

We may not see Ellington in this uniform again until 2012.

Is Ellington better than all the “others” I listed?  Maybe, but odds are he’ll be no better than the middle of that pack this coming football season.  Maybe I’m being too skeptical of Ellington’s talents.  Part of me hopes so.

I’m also thinking short term in only talking about 2011, I know.  Can he develop into an impact player on the football field over the next few years?  If he does, what does that mean for his basketball career?    

I’m sure the football staff is excited, they have absolutely nothing to lose in this endeavor.

Meanwhile, the bad week that Darren Horn was having just got exponentially worse.  He had already lost one double-digit scorer from his team, and now he’ll be without another until at least January.  I’m sure I don’t need to remind you we couldn’t afford to lose one double-digit scorer, much less two. 

To be the player Darren Horn wants him to be, the player Horn builds this program around, Ellington needs to be on a basketball court as much as possible.  His talent is undeniable, but only practice and experience will help him with his decision making and shooting, two areas in which he needs vast improvement to be the player we know he can be.

It’s hard to drop dimes and hit threes from the Proving Grounds, the film room, or a study session with the wide receiver corps. 

The days of the two-sport college star are all but gone.  There are too many demands on major college football and basketball players for them to excel at both. 

Instead of being great at one sport, I’m afraid Bruce Ellington is putting himself on a path to be average at two.

Tool of the Day: UCLA’s Right Fielder

Galloway, Spinella to Transfer and Other Tusings

Tusing:  In case you missed it last week, stands for Tuesday musing.  From now on you’ll just have to assume I misspelled something.

Word just came down that Stephen Spinella and Ramon Galloway have decided to leave the South Carolina basketball team and transfer. 

First, let me address Spinella.  I have to admit, I bought in to Spinella as a kid who was a sleeper, but was going to gradually improve over his four years at USC and ultimately hit some big shots for us in meaningful games as a Junior and Senior. 

Unfortunately, after a 15-point effort early in the season against Radford, he completely disappeared.  He lost confidence in himself, and ultimately lost the confidence of Darrin Horn.  His brief appearances in SEC games in 2011 were downright painful.  He looked lost, and quite frankly a little frightened. 

I wrote at the end of the season that we needed some attrition from this team, and Spinella was the obvious choice.  His leaving is not a surprise.  

Galloway leaving, on the other hand, is quite a surprise, and an unpleasant one.  Horn made a “disappointed” comment in regards to Galloway’s season after the final home game, but I didn’t see this coming. 

"You know Ramon, those SoCon schools can get you to the NCAA's quicker than us."

Galloway was never going to be the star of this team, but he seemed to fit the sixth man role quite well, providing instant offense at times (but also went into a prolonged slump late in the season) and good energy while on the court.  He is only going to get better, and I hate that it won’t be in a South Carolina uniform. 

Unfortunately South Carolina basketball appears to be a sinking ship, and Galloway decided to grab a life raft while he could.  You would hope an average team at the beginning of the year would be slightly above average by the end of the year.  Instead, we became arguably the worst team in the SEC over the last month of the season.

Damien Leonard better be the second coming of Ray Allen, or we’ll be scouring the NCAA tournament in 2012 for our next head coach.      

Other tusings:

  • With my bracket in shambles – and don’t tell me yours is too, because it can’t be as bad as mine – I’m pulling hard for Butler and VCU to continue to move on.  If they don’t, we’ll just be relegated to watching the rich (Kansas, UNC, Duke, OSU) get richer. 
  • So, any news on Stephen Garcia lately?  This dude continues to get hammered in the media, and yet he is on pace to break all kinds of career records at USC.  In ten years, we’ll be looking back fondly and remembering how much fun Garcia was to watch, and his warts will make him all the more endearing. 
  • Nooooooo, the AJC has no agenda in the “Lorenzo Mauldin oversigning saga”, none at all!    
  • Think Steve Spurrier isn’t having fun being the coach at South Carolina?  Then read this.  I haven’t fielded a single question lately about how much longer he’ll be our coach.  I wonder why?
  • From T-bone – is Martay Maddox the next Arturo Freeman?  Or the next Taquiy Muhammed? 
  • Also from T-bone – shorts or skirts look better on women than jeans.  But women wear jeans all the time now.  What’s up with that? 

The PAC 12 Revealed

Coming July 2011, a slightly modified logo, horrible music, and embarassing dancing. All courtesy of the new PAC 12.   

This pales in comparison to that horriffic “Party in the UGA” recruitment video from last year, but still…

Sometimes Reading Confuses Me and Other Tusings

Note:  “Tusings” = Tuesday Musings.  I just made that up, and you’re welcome.  (Even though I posted this on Wednesday, I thought of it on Tuesday, smart guy.)

So, I was doing my daily lunchtime web surfing over a turkey sandwich today and came across this curious article on collegefootballnews.com called “CFN SEC Bloggers: 5 Thoughts on USC’s Spring”.  CFN has come quite a ways in the last couple of years, and while no bastion of cutting-edge sports journalism, there is occasionally an interesting article or two.

Today’s was not one of them.  Let me begin with the work of Brian Harbach, who writes:

“The media in the state of South Carolina could be described as the proverbial ostrich with their heads buried in the sand. They ignore facts and do their best not to ruffle the feathers of the Head Gamecock when discussing the obvious uncertainty at quarterback.”

Um…run that by me again?  What did I miss?  Seriously, and I’m not kidding here, have the South Carolina beat writers and opinionators sucked up to the OBC and I’ve missed it?  I’ve been out of the state for thirteen years, and out of Columbia for more than twenty, but all I’ve ever heard is how much the media HATES the University of South Carolina and wishes it would die.

Now sure, you get the group of reporters gathered around Spurrier with their tiny recorders after practice giggling with glee at every word SOS speaks.  But don’t you get that at about every major university with coaches and reporters?

Name some names Bri, I’m curious.  Otherwise, grab yourself a plane ticket and come on down and ask the man the tough questions yourself.  You apparently owe it to us.

Later on a guy named Russ Harris tackles the hard-hitting topic of “will success breed complacency in Columbia”:

“What success? With five – yes, five – losses, we can safely debate if South Carolina or Charlie Sheen had more winning in 2010/11.”

Congratulations Russ, you’re the 10,000th blogger to get a cheap pop off making fun of South Carolina football!  And bonus points for tying in current events!

By the way, I can think of at least five teams that would’ve loved to have five losses in fourteen games in 2010.

Finally, Barrett Sallee chimes in “on how bad this team would be without Marcus Lattimore”:

“In a word… bad. In two words… really bad.”

Again, maybe I’m out of the loop, but has the word bad been redefined?  Granted, this was a different team last year with #21 on the bench, but really bad?  Come on Barrett, at least give us average, maybe even slightly above average.  This team was/is not completely devoid of other talent.

On to the Tusings:

  • My final word on this latest Stephen Garcia incident: I don’t care.  I don’t even really fall on either side of the “hey, weren’t you 21 once” vs. “kick him off the team forever” argument.  For those of you who want to keep him, don’t worry, he will be under center at Bank of America Stadium come September.  For those who want him gone, too bad, you’ll have to wait one more year for Conner Shaw.  I’m just not going to argue with anyone about it.  I’m sure you’re relieved.
  • I hear Darren Horn stated the basketball team must improve next year.  Phew!  For a minute there I was beginning to believe his agenda involved getting worse.
  • I hate to even say this, but…anybody else a little worried about the baseball team?  Somebody has to step up at the plate besides Walker and Bradley.  And while Michael Roth has been stellar on the mound, this weekend committee stuff isn’t going to work come SEC play.
  • Finally, non-Gamecock related, people are doing back flips over this Grant Hill response to Jalen Rose’s comments in the “Fab Five” documentary.  But I think Hill is missing the point – I believe Rose was telling us what he thought at the time as an 18-year-old kid, and in no way does he believe that today.
  • Bonus:  “Fab Five” is a fun trip through the past if you haven’t seen it, but you have to take a lot of it with a grain of salt since it was produced by three of the five.  Jason Whitlock hits the nail on the head here about the revisionist history of that documentary and the cultural  impact of the Georgetown teams of the mid-80’s.

Go Mountaineers.  #beatclemson

Garcia Missing From Practice . . . UPDATED

We’ve found him, witness the photographic evidence from the Marriott Lounge:

The Most Interesting Quarterback in the Hotel

Cold Blooded: A TRC Endorsement of Gus Johnson

Once again NCAA tournament time is here (the nation’s single greatest sporting event, IMHO), and once again the University of South Carolina is on the outside looking in. The good news in that is this – I can sit back and enjoy the splendor and the spectacle without all the hand-wringing and expletive shouting that comes along with watching Gamecock basketball.

It also means I can renew acquaintances with the best play-by-play man in the business, and the voice of the NCAA Tournament (sorry, Jim Nantz): Gus Johnson.

Johnson was able to get his pipes warmed up during the PAC-10 tournament this weekend, and during the final, in overtime, he was in top form.

Cold blooded indeed.

I watched that game, then went to YouTube and googled some of Johnson’s greatest NCAA moments -Gonzaga-UCLA, Vermont-Syracuse, Xavier-Ohio State and Gonzaga-Florida (“the slipper stillll fits!”) among others. Then I went to Twitter and saw that I was not the only member of the Gus Johnson fan club.

One tweet even suggest something I had never thought of – when Verne Lundquist retires, Johnson should take his place on the CBS Saturday afternoon SEC broadcast.

Brilliant idea, and I am 100% behind it.  Johnson brings the best balance of neutrality and excitement to his games that I have ever heard. He genuinely loves the games he has the pleasure to call.  Can you imagine him calling the 2010 USC-Alabama, LSU-Tennessee or Auburn-Alabama games?  Why not bring the most excitable man in the broadcast booth to the most excitable fan base in the country?

The naysayers will point out he has no connection to football in the South -he has been the voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks in the NBA, the lead announcer for boxing on Showtime, and has done the NFL on CBS (if you’re concerned about his ability to call football, just watch this.)  I say who cares. The man can calls a great game and has no loyalties.

Others will say he’s TOO excitable. I will agree he pushed the boundaries on occasion with his wild screams, but in the end that only adds to the fun he brings to the broadcasts.

It will be a sad day when Verne hangs up the mike, but I can think of no better replacement than Gus Johnson.

Justin King . . .We Salute You!

KABOOM-YOW! [noise of our collective TRC snarky cynicism being dropped]: