Use your eyes. I didn’t get to watch a lot of the Gamecocks 44-14 loss to Texas A&M last night because I was busy watching my beloved Atlanta Braves earn a trip to the World Series. And thankfully the Braves are in my life, because Gamecock football continues to be an exercise in futility and disappointment.
The USC offense has been sad all year long, ranking 13th in the SEC and not even on the radar nationally in most statistical categories. Vandy hero Zeb Noland got the start last night at QB because of Luke Doty’s season-ending surgery, and because he presumably gave the Gamecocks the best chance to “win”. He proceeded to go 7-12 for a whopping 30 yards, mostly because he was running for his life because our dog of an offensive line continued their substandard play. (We had SIX yards of total offense 3/4 of the way through the game.)
The USC defense has been somewhat of a bright spot for most of the year, playing above their talent week in and week out. Last night they appeared to walk out on the offense like a cheated on spouse – “hey, if you’re not going to try to save this relationship I’m not going to try either.” The Texas A&M offensive line shoved our guys around all night long and created freightliner-sized holes to run through.
Special teams? Well, giving up a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown barely two minutes in kinda helped set the tone for the game.
TRC member Tbone flew right by criticizing Shane Beamer last night and went all in on Ray Tanner. And I wasn’t mad about it. Six years ago Tanner plucked Will Muschamp off the garbage heap hoping he could right the South Carolina ship even though he flopped at Florida, a place much easier to win at than Columbia, SC. Then after the Muschamp experience failed miserably, Tanner quickly zeroed in on Shane Beamer,
Beamer sold Tanner and the USC brass on his enthusiasm and love for the university. Never mind that Beamer had never been a coordinator, much less a head coach, or that we were competing with absoutely nobody for his services. I don’t really recall anyone saying he was a rising star in the coaching ranks or somebody who should be on lists for teams looking for a coach. This was a concern that was covered up quickly by slick videos and tears and enthusiasm and LOVE.
Before anybody goes off the deep end and thinks I’m calling for Shane Beamer to be fired, I’m not. But if you’re not concerned about how this season has played out you’re not paying attention. No we don’t have great talent, but the coaching mistakes we’re seeing are glaring. For the “give him time” crowd, you’re missing the point. What you want to see in a first year is progress, that kids are getting the schemes, making fewer mistakes each week, being COMPETITIVE. We have seen the exact opposite of that, especially the last three weeks.
28-0 first quarter deficit to Tennessee (who also was a train wreck and has a first year head coach.)
Last second touchdown to beat Vanderbilt by one point. (Vandy lost 45-6 at home to Mississippi State last night.)
44-0 deficit to TAMU before we scored a point.
At South Carolina we’re used to our football program being average, that’s our brand. But getting embarrassed is where we should draw the line as Gamecock fans, and the last three weeks have been downright embarassing. And don’t give me the “lack of talent” angle either. You can’t tell me we don’t have at least comparable talent to Tennessee and much better talent than Vanderbilt.
It is highly concerning, and it’s all on Ray Tanner at this point for taking such a risk for a head coach.
Finally, I see a lot on Twitter about who the real fans are, and how “real fans” wouldn’t turn on the team. First of all, I’m turning on the adults in charge, I’ll never turn on the guys who put on the pads day in and day out.
Second, if you’re not pissed off at what you’ve seen so far this year, then I’d argue you’re not the real fan. We deserve better. @3×5 said it best last night: