The Legacy of Phil Petty

Photo courtesy of The State

Farewell to thee! but not farewell

To all my fondest thoughts of thee:

Within my heart they still shall dwell;

And they shall cheer and comfort me.

“Farewell”, Anne Bronte

As you get older death tends to accelerate around you. That sounds morbid, but it’s the natural order of things. We get older, and people who have had some sort of impact in our lives, big or small, seemingly die at a more frequent pace. Some elicit a mild response, like “aw man bummer”. Some tug at you a little harder. Some take your breath away.

I was on a tarmac Thursday getting ready to fly home to Atlanta when I got a text from my nephew that Phil Petty had died. It took a moment for it to register with me, because Phil Petty was a young man and was not supposed to die. Phil Petty was supposed to be home with his wife and two kids, preparing to coach this upcoming football season, spinning yarns about his days playing under the blazing sun at Williams-Brice stadium under Lou Holtz.

It took my breath away, much like when I heard the news about Kenny McKinley.

Petty came to South Carolina in 1998 as a Brad Scott recruit, just as Scott was putting the finishing touches on running the USC football program into a ditch. Petty was just another guy really, there were no gaudy star ratings, no YouTube mash-ups of his high school career. He wasn’t a runner, and he didn’t possess a particularly strong arm. But he showed enough that freshman year to earn playing time in ten games as the Gamecocks limped to a 1-10 finish.

In 1999 under his new head coach, the aforementioned Holtz, he only played in six games due to injury as South Carolina ran through eight starting quarterbacks (yes, it’s ridiculous, you might want to check my math on that). That season ended 0-11 and the Carolina football program was at the low point of its 100-year history.

When the 2000 season rolled around there was really no reason to believe Phil Petty was our savior at the quarterback position. He won the starting job, but against no real competition. After breaking a 21-game losing streak against New Mexico State, ninth-ranked Georgia rolled into town for what was sure to be a bloodbath. But South Carolina stunned Georgia that day 21-10 behind a ball-control offense and a suffocating defense, and football was reborn in Columbia. Petty was solid in the face of a tough Georgia defense, finshing 18-28 for 154 yards and no turnovers.

The Gamecocks would ride that momentum to an 8-4 season and which included a stunning 24-7 win over Ohio State in the Outback Bowl, completing one of the great turnarounds in college football history. And Petty was the steady hand at the helm all the while.

In 2001 the Gamecocks picked up where they left off, winning their first five games, including a 14-9 victory at Georgia. South Carolina scored with just over a minute left on one of the gutsiest throws we’ve ever seen a USC quarterback make.

Also included in that opening streak was a rousing 37-36 comeback win over Alabama, which for my money is one of the most exciting games ever played in Williams-Brice. Petty, often described as a game manager, had the best statistical game of his career, throwing for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the game winner with two minutes to go.

The 2001 season ended with another Outback Bowl win, once again over Ohio State, and a final record of 9-3.

Think about that: from 1-10 and 0-11, to 8-4 and 9-3. Prior to 2000-2001 South Carolina had won eight or more games TWICE IN OUR HISTORY.

That is the legacy of Phil Petty on the football field. His toughness and resolve helped fuel a miraculous turnaround for a program in the depths of despair. He helped put the program back on solid footing and showed that you CAN win at South Carolina, and paved the way for the likes of Shaw, Lattimore, Clowney and the rest. Those years were incredibly fun and memorable.

The legacy of Phil Petty off the football field can be summed up in one quote for his former coach Lou Holtz, “I would be proud to call him my son.”

Farewell to thee. Forever to thee.

Snap Judgments – 2021 Clemson @ USC Edition

Photo courtesy of

Our Clemson Problem. From 2009 to 2013 Steve Spurrier and South Carolina owned Clemson like no other time in the rivalry’s history. Clemson had consistently good (not great) teams, finishing in the top 25 three times and the top 10 twice, which made the winning streak that much sweeter. As the streak grew I even commented multiple times about how the Gamecocks were “in the heads” of Clemson. The Tigers came to fear the block C when they saw it, and despite their best efforts they couldn’t find a way to beat USC.

The game in 2014 at Clemson started swimmingly for South Carolina. The Gamecocks took the lead on a 20-yard Pharoh Cooper run and the same refrain echoed in my mind – even at 6-5 -we’re in their heads. Alas, it didn’t last long, as Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman and Artavis Scott proceeded to gash a porous USC defense and end the five-game losing streak. It was a turning point for Clemson as a football program, and a turning point in the rivalry.

Since then, there has been one close game, in 2015. Miraculously a Spurrier-less squad hung tough and lost 37-32 against a Clemson team that would eventually lose the 2016 National Championship game to Alabama. In the games since then we have lost by 49, 24, 21, 35 and 30. That’s an average losing margin of 31.8 points over five games, and it’s embarrassing and unacceptable in a rivalry that was lopsided in the first place.

I’ve preached in this space about being competitive against elite competition. Our track record against Clemson the last five years is the opposite of competitive. Other than recruiting and coaching better I don’t know what the answer is. Spurrier famously took down the “beat Clemson” signs in the USC locker room and said “I want to beat everybody” and in effect de-emphasized the importance of the rivalry.

Regardless of how we get there, it is becoming critical that we start closing the gap on Clemson. And in a year with many positive accomplishments by our new coaching staff, I’m afraid the gap widened even further last night.

We have to get them out of our heads.

If you had told me… I lost count of how many tweets I saw last night after our caning that said something to the effect “if you had told me back in August we’d be 6-6 and going to a bowl game yadda yadda yadda”. People have to right to prop up Shane Beamer and the job he has done this year to squeeze six wins out of this schedule with this level of talent*. I’m on the Shane train too, somewhere in the middle of the caboose looking for a comfortable place to sit down.

*Side note: for those still talking about going from two wins last year to six wins this year dare I remind you we played an all-SEC schedule last year and didn’t have the luxury of playing Eastern Illinois, East Carolina and Troy.

My problem with the “if you had told me back in August” argument is we’re skipping everything that helps us form our opinion of this team. We have sliced and diced every game and have come to many conclusions that may or may not support our being happy with six wins. If you’re happy that’s great, and if you’re not particularly happy, I think that’s ok too, because HOW we got here is just as important as the record. Let’s review:

  • Eastern Illinois – whatever, we could’ve rolled out the JV squad and beat them by 20.
  • East Carolina – very bad offensive performance, escaped an average group of five team by 3 points.
  • Georgia – landed some shots, but overall completely outclassed by the best team in the country.
  • Kentucky – bad, bad, bad home loss to a decent team, missed opportunity because our offense stinks.
  • Troy – typical mid-season struggle against a team we should dominate. (FYI, Georgia State beat them by four touchdowns yesterday.)
  • Tennessee – embarrassing loss to another team with a first-year head coach.
  • Vanderbilt – needed a minor miracle to beat the absolute worst team in power five.
  • Texas A&M – have I used the word embarrassing enough yet? TAMU finished 8-4 by the way.
  • Florida – YAY, fun game!
  • Missouri – Boo, horrible game against a team we should be benchmarking ourselves against.
  • Auburn – Wow, big upset, hope for the Clemson game!
  • Clemson – …………….

When you look at it that way, maybe it gives you a different perspective on those six wins and how we got here. There is still a LOT to be cleaned up. We need to assert ourselves against teams like Vandy and Troy, we need to pass Kentucky and Missouri sooner rather than later, and we need to be able to play competitively into the fourth quarter against Texas A&M, Georgia and Clemson.

I’m not telling any of you to not be positive, please do. But the realistic side of me tells me we may have further to go than the Florida or Auburn games tell us.

Satter-fired. Marcus Satterfield has been relieved of his offensive coordinator duties by almost all Gamecock fans. Whether or not Shane Beamer actually does it remains to be seen. But this offense has been the main point of pain for us the entire season. Satterfield has stated, somewhat arrogantly, that this offense if one that is “being run on Sundays”. That’s nice, but on Saturdays it has ranked 13th out of 14 teams in the SEC in pretty much every major category.

One way to overcome talent deficiencies on offense is through scheme. We need someone creative, and someone who can scheme against the level of defenses we play week in and week out. Here’s hoping there’s a new OC under the Christmas tree.

The QB Carousel. Also needed under the Christmas tree is a QB from the transfer portal. If there’s one thing we all know is that most teams cannot be great without a great signal caller, and I don’t think we have one on the roster at the moment. You can make your case for Luke Doty or even Colton Gauthier, but there is no real evidence either one is “the guy”. If there is an opportunity to make the QB room better through the portal, we HAVE to do it.

Help wanted: Wide receivers. What the heck is going on with every receiver we have besides Josh Vann? Aren’t there other guys on scholarship? Geez.

What’s Next. I apologize if these Snaps are bringing you down, but my realistic side seems to kick in when I actually have time to write. The truth is I really, really like Shane Beamer and the positive energy he has brought to the program. His style is not my favorite all the time, but that’s just the old man in me coming out. More than anything, I want this program to WIN, and I want it sooner rather than later because I’ve been at this for a long time. And I’m obnoxiously competitive, ok?

Anyway, I’m excited about the opportunity to see this team play in any bowl game (even Birmingham!) and about how recruiting is shaping up. We need a big influx of talent over the next few months, and I think the way the program has progressed will allow us to get it.

See you next month, Go Cocks!

(Not so) Snap Judgments – 2021 Kentucky @ USC Edition

USC QB Luke Doty hobbles for a few yards against Kentucky. (Photo courtesy of

Kentucky Blues. On October 7, 2000, South Carolina eked out a 20-17 win over Kentucky in Lexington. That began a run of ten straight and 13 out of 14 victories over the Wildcats for USC. (Strangely, the only loss was during the Gamecocks’ SEC East title season in 2010.) Some years during that run the Gamecocks were a little bit better than Kentucky, and some years they were a LOT better than Kentucky. But there was no question during the Holtz and Spurrier years that South Carolina was a better PROGRAM than Kentucky. Better players, better teams, better recruiting, pretty much better everything.

And that’s the way it should be, right? The universe decided long ago Kentucky was going to be elite at basketball, and football would forever be relegated to being a second-rate opponent worthy of scheduling for homecoming. As USC fans, we decided Kentucky should be a dub roughly 13 out of every 14 years for all eternity.

But in 2013 UK turned their program over to Mark Stoops, an uninspired hire that felt like they were simply scraping the bottom of the Stoops brothers barrel hoping for a little magic. As it turns out – while they haven’t exactly built a title contender up in Lexington – Stoops continues to field teams that are a royal pain the butt for USC. How much of a pain in the butt? After Saturday’s 16-10 loss to UK, Carolina has now dropped seven of its last eight to the ‘Cats.

There was a lot of excitement and anticipation going into Saturday night, and rightfully so. Hope springs eternal, and the fightin’ Shane Beamers had given us no reason to NOT expect an early statement victory over a middling SEC team.

Alas, it turns out middling SEC teams play pretty good football, especially against teams coming off a 2-6 season with a new head coach and a ton of unproven players on both sides of the football. The Wildcats had hosses along both lines of scrimmage, playmakers on the edge, and a bulldozer disguised as a running back. Even when they tried to give us the game, we couldn’t take it from them.

As much as it pains me to say, at this point in time Kentucky has a better football program than we do. And until we start beating them again, we should stop looking down our noses like we’ve beaten them 13 out of the last 14.

Scatterfield. What happens when you can’t pass, catch, run or score? You become statistically the worst offensive team in the SEC. (I’m currently not counting Vanderbilt as a team in the SEC for obvious reasons.) Take away the opening game victory over Region 4-AAAA Eastern Illinois (or was it Eastern Iowa? Or Eastern Indiana?) and the Gamecocks are averaging a measley two touchdowns per game.

I don’t have to tell you savvy readers, but scoring two TDs per game in this day and age is pretty…hmmm, what’s the word here…oh yeah, pathetic. I know, I know, one game was against Georgia, a team that basically has an NFL defense. And one was against Kentucky, which has, um, potentially an NFL player or two. And one game was against East Caroli…ok I quit. Pathetic was the right word.

So what’s the problem? Well, a lot of it is players who can’t make plays either because they’re simply not good enough or because they’re hurt (more on that later). A much more frightening possibiity is that Marcus Satterfield simply isn’t very good at his job. Based on some interactions this weekend a few of you have aleady come to that conclusion. I’m not there yet, and probably won’t get there soon based on the fact nobody would be a good offensive coordinator with that offensive line, a hobbled QB, running backs who aren’t living up to their billing, and for some reason a couple of our receivers are playing with oven mitts on their hands.

Of course there’s this to make you feel better:


Wounded Walking. Something I have to continue to remind myself is how playing with and/or recovering from injuries can impact a player. I’ve been disappointed we haven’t seen the explosive MarShawn Lloyd this season that we were all expecting. But even when cleared to play, players coming back from an ACL, particularly running backs, often aren’t the same for two years.

Everyone keeps saying Kevin Harris doesn’t look the same, and he doesn’t. Twice on Saturday night he was stonewalled by a guy his size or smaller that he would have steamrolled last season. He had a mysterious back procedure in the preseason that must have been worse than we’ve been told.

And then there’s the case of Luke Doty. There was fear that Doty had broken his foot in preseason practice, but then we were told it was a sprain and he would be back early in the season. But now it turns out…his foot was broken!

Last year Luke was more of a “reckless abandon” kind of guy, but he’s obviously not running well and is ducking out of bounds as soon as possible when he does run. Now we know why.

So when three of your top weapons are not close to 100%, that’s a pretty big contributor to why your offense might not be clicking.

Scatterfield Part Deux. Marcus Satterfield last week said you can’t get a running back in a good rhythm when he has to share the field with three other guys, and he promised to scale back the running back rotation. The casualties were ZaQuandre White, who got zero carries and I think zero snaps at running back, and Lloyd, who got one snap and one carry if my eyes didn’t deceive me.

The biggest surprise of the season continues to be Juju McDowell, who doesn’t really care who he has to compete with for playing time, he just makes plays.

Those types of dudes we need, you know.

To go or not to go. So real quick – down 13-7 in the fourth quarter, you have fourth and medium or you can kick a 40-something-yard field goal to cut the lead to 13-10. You go for it, you don’t make it, Kentucky drives down and kicks a field goal to make it a two score game with four minutes and change left to essentially seal the game.

So for me, and I’m not saying I’m 100% right, I’m kicking the field goal. You extend the game and put pressure on Kentucky to play perfect football. Not making that fourth down conversion was also demoralizing, as was Chris Rodriguez picking up eight yards per carry on the way to that game clinching field goal for the Wildcats.

“But we had the right call on fourth down and the ball hit him right in the chest.” Right, and he dropped it. If you go for it, you have to be sure you have the players who can execute and ensure you get a first down. When you don’t have playmakers (and for the most part we don’t) that’s the risk you take.

“But we still lost by six so that field goal wouldn’t have mattered any way.” You can’t assume the game would’ve played out exactly the same way, because it wouldn’t have. Maybe Kentucky fumbles the ensuing kickoff and we recover. Maybe Kentucky returns the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Maybe, maybe, maybe. You have to make the decision in the moment, and we made the wrong decision.

Wait, did I just say I was 100% right? Oops!

What’s next. A 3:30 pm game against a Troy Trojans team we should whip soundly…hopefully. And hopefully we’ll find some offensive weapons we can depend on.

So let’s just kick their butts and get ready for Tennessee shall we?

Go Cocks.

Snap Judgments – Eastern Illinois @ USC Edition

Photo courtesy of

Welcome back to Snap Judgments, where we give only cursory thought to what we’re about to say before we say it. Today we look at South Carolina’s 46-0 win over Eastern Illinois.

Beamer Y’all. From the time he was introduced as the new head football coach at South Carolina, Shane Beamer has felt like the right man for the job. Despite his lack of head coaching experience, he came in with an energy and passion for the job – and not just a head coaching job, THIS job – that has won over the fan base. He understands the importance of public relations in his position, and has “won” every press conference and media session he’s had to date, which in turn has endeared him to the Gamecock fan base. The million dollar question remains – is he a good enough football coach to lead this program back to relevance, and possibly even compete for championships?

I don’t think we got our answer last night against a pretty putrid Eastern Illinois team from the FCS. But as far as tests go against putrid teams from the FCS, I’d say we passed with flying colors. The offense, defense, and special teams were good enough to make this game a laugher before halftime. EIU was the perfect opening opponent for a team and a fan base scarred by the Muschamp era, an era that divided the program and the fan base, an era defined by antiquated decisions on the field, and an era that made us wonder how long it would be before we would ever be competitive again.

There’s an old saying “it’s the hope that kills you”. In a recent episode of the fantastic TV series Ted Lasso the lead character says, “I disagree, it’s the lack of hope that comes and gets you.” At the end of the Muschamp era that lack of hope was killing us all.

I have no idea where the Shane Beamer era will take us, but one thing he has done has reinstilled that hope in all of us. And I dont’ know about you, but that’s good enough for me right now.

Zeb’s not dead, baby, Zeb’s not dead. The most fascinating national story surrounding USC last night was the ascension of Zeb Noland from graduate assistant coach to the starting job in the season opener. To hear anyone outside of South Carolina tell it, we plucked some 37-year old finanacial planner from behind his desk at BB&T because we were so desperately thin at quarterback. I mean, we were desperately thin don’t get me wrong, but we had the good fortune of being able to turn to a guy who was a starter for two schools, and when he wasn’t a starter played behind a first-round draft pick in Trey Lance and a future NFL quarterback in Brock Purdy.

Noland’s final numbers (13 of 22, 121 yards) won’t get him on any Heisman watch lists, but his four first half touchdowns were pretty impressive for a guy who had basically retired from football. Hopefully Luke Doty returns next week against East Carolina, but it’s good to know we have a steady hand like Noland if we need him.

The Stable. The Gamecocks were able to run for 258 yards without all-SEC running back Kevin Harris taking a snap. ZaQuandre White led the way with 12 carries for 128 yards, and redshirt freshman MarShawn Lloyd and true freshman Juju McDowell both showed flashes in their debuts in the garnet and black. This may be the most talented running back room we’ve had since…heck, I don’t know when.

Jordan Rules. Jordan Burch had the standout play of the night when he picked off an Eastern Illinois pass and returned it 61 yards for the Gamecocks’ final score of the night. Defensive linemen return passes for touchdowns every week, but I honestly can’t think of a DL I’ve ever seen look so comfortable and smooth with the ball in his hands.

Beamer Ball II. Are we in a new era of special teams excellence at South Carolina? It sure looked like it last night as the ‘Cocks blocked two punts, which were two more than we blocked all of last year. We also came close on two more. The cool part is you could tell the coaching staff had watched EIU film and know how to exploit their punt formation.

The bad and the ugly. We get accused of being negative when we’re not always positive, so to stay on brand we’ll just point out a few areas of concern we saw in real time last night. One, the offensive line was inconsistent at best. Yes, we finished with more than 250 yards rushing and I don’t recall us giving up a sack, but too many times the undersized EIU DL were in our backfield too easily. That won’t fly against the likes of Georgia. Two, we had too many penalties. I’m hoping we can chalk some of these to overexuberance, but if Beamer truly wants to “look like a well coached team” we can’t be shooting ourselves in the foot so much. And finally, we simply don’t seem to have any breakthrough talent at wide receiver, which means…

Ring my Bell, I’ll be your Muse. Jaheim Bell and Nick Muse both looked like real difference makers on offense, and we’re going to need them to be all year long.

Clemson lost. Clemson lost.

Looking ahead. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, East Carolina is going to be a real test next week. Last night was a mere glimpse into what kind of team we are going to be in 2021, next week in Greenville will tell us if our optimism is warranted, or if we’re in for a long season.

Go Cocks.

Snap Judgments – The State of South Carolina Football

Fast fail. In July of 2015 Steve Spurrier hastily called a press conference. Not a podium and microphone press conference, a Spurrier press conference. The kind where he stands somewhere random and holds court while beat writers jockey to get their iPhones and digital recorders as close to the HBC as possible.

Spurrier went on the attack, defending himself and Gamecock football against the “enemies” trying to tear down the program. This was in the wake of his infamous “gimme 2 or 3 more seasons coaching the Gamecocks” that was being used against him in recruiting. His press conference was widely decried by the media as petulant and paranoid. But in Gamecock circles, it energized us. We were like “hell yeah, Spurrier has a second wind” and our belief in him was renewed.

Little did we know it was the beginning of the end.

A 2-4 start led to Spurrier’s abrupt midseason retirement. While it was bad to lose our head coach in the middle of the season, it gave Ray Tanner a head start in a fairly rich pool of attainable coaches. But first we botched the Tom Herman hiring (no matter what you think of Herman today, that would’ve been an absolute home run hire at the time). Then we had Georgia pull an okey-doke on us and swoop in to get our plan B, Kirby Smart.

That left us with a small group that included Rich Rodriguez, Will Muschamp and Lincoln Riley. How Rodriguez ever made it that far is beyond me, but he managed to embarrass us by publicly turning down a job he was never offered. Riley, now the coach at a little school called Oklahoma, was deemed too young and inexperienced for such a big time job as South Carolina. Not mentioned in that pool were guys like Bronco Mendenhall and Justin Fuente, who are having success at Virginia and Virginia Tech, respectively.

So we hired Muschamp, the guy who was at best our third choice. Ray Tanner smiled and tried weakly to convince us Muschamp was the guy we were after all along, but we all knew that just wasn’t true. The man who was run out of Florida after only four years was merely a consolation prize.

But as Gamecock fans we jumped on board. What choice did we have.

Muschamp faired well in his first two years, taking a 3-9 team and going 6-7 in 2016 and then 9-4 in 2017. But there were deep flaws in those teams. Even in the 9-win season there was no real signature win. The second half of the bowl game gave us great hope heading into 2018 (and earned Bryan McClendon the offensive coordinator position), but masked a lot of problems we would not be able to overcome.

A humiliating 28-0 bowl loss at the end of 2018 gave way to a disheartening loss to North Carolina to start 2019, and the rumbling began. This was starting to look a lot like Muschamp’s Florida teams – no offensive identity, inability to develop a quarterback, lack of killer instinct when you have a lead, head-scratching in-game decisions. A signature win, (finally) over fourth-ranked Georgia in Athens got us all turned around. This Muschamp guy CAN coach, it’s just taken a little time.

But that game was fool’s gold. The Gamecocks completely collapsed and lost five of six games to finish the season. The last three games we scored one offensive touchdown. The season became a complete disaster.

So now we’re left with tough questions and tough decisions. Where do we go from here.

Muschamp and Tanner. Unless there is a stunning reversal, Will Muschamp is not getting fired. Despite only winning four games in his fourth year as head coach, he is going to survive because of an unbelievably horrible business deal made by Ray Tanner.

Tanner put his faith in a guy nobody else wanted four years ago, and then gave an extravagant buyout to the same guy who STILL nobody else wants. Barry Odom was just fired at Missouri after four years, and his buyout was less than two million dollars. Is Will Muschamp really worth ten times that number? It’s mind-boggling such an irresponsible deal would not only be agreed to by Tanner, but signed off on by the USC Board of Trustees. It’s insane.

Make no mistake, if Muschamp’s buyout was five million dollars, there would be a press conference today announcing his dismissal. He’s not being retained because he’s a good head coach, he’s being retained because we are not willing to buy him out.

So next year, at the helm will be the same guy who failed miserably at Florida, and has pulled the South Carolina program out of the ditch only to drive it right back in. Muschamp is a good representative for our university, he is a decent recruiter, he talks Xs and Os with the best of them.

Unfortunately, he’s just not a good head coach. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with him.

BMac. By all accounts a great recruiter, a great guy and a wonderful asset to our football team, Bryan McClendon has to go. I feel bad for McClendon because he was put in a very difficult position. Instead of hiring a proven play caller to try and fix the ONE THING that has dogged him in his head coaching career, Muschamp hired a guy who was never an offensive coordinator. Now he’s going to have one more chance to hire the right guy.

The players. Going into 2020 we lose our best defensive player (Javon Kinlaw) and our best offensive player (Bryan Edwards). We will have maybe one or two players listed on pre-season all-SEC teams, which whether you like it or not is an important measuring stick. Our recruiting class will be top 25, but number ten or worse in the SEC. We have no idea if Jake Bentley will return, and if not we have no idea if Ryan Hilinski is the player we thought he was going to be. We lose our top running back. We lose the best punter we’ve had in years. From a personnel standpoint, the outlook is bleak.

Recruiting. One prominent Gamecock twitterer/podcaster was fretting over losing our “top 20 recruiting class” if we let Muschamp go. First, the overall direction of the program is more important that one or two recruiting classes. Second, we struggle to beat teams, and often lose to teams that consistently have worse recruiting classes than us (see: Kentucky, Missouri, Appalachian State). Maybe we’re getting decent talent, but we’re letting it go to waste.

Use your eyes. We’ve said this a lot over the last couple of years. When you look at this football team and this coaching staff, what do you see. What I see is a middling SEC team that struggles to win games going away, and with one very notable exception fails to compete against teams with more talent than us.

We lost eight games this year, and five of them were by 20 or more points. FIVE. That’s unacceptable. That’s not competitive. As South Carolina fans we probably shouldn’t expect 10-win season after 10-win season, but is it unreasonable to expect we don’t get blown out in 40% of our games?

Hope. I’d say over the course of the ten years we’ve been running this blog and Twitter account we’ve been much more positive than negative. But it’s hard to be positive at the moment given what we’ve seen from the administration and coaching staff over the last few months. It has been severely mismanaged at the administrative level and our players have been victims of coaching malpractice on the field. Yet we are choosing to stay the course with a head coach who has never once proven he can be successful at it.

I hope one day someone can send this link back to us and say “haha you idiots wanted to fire Muschamp” because we’ve just won an SEC title. I hope Muschamp can make it work, I really do. I hope we can get this thing turned around and at least field a competitive team sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately, hope is not a strategy.

Go Cocks.

Snap Judgments – 2019 South Carolina @ Tennessee Edition

Chasing. (Photo: AP/Wade Payne)

Some quick, barely researched, not fully-formed thoughts from South Carolina’s 41-21 loss to Tennessee.

Hard Knox. Over the course of the last several months I didn’t hear much worry from Gamecock fans about our biennial trip to Knoxville. When looking over the schedule our game against Tennessee was generally though of as an easy win for us at best, and a toss up at worst.* That led me to write and post on Friday night about our frightening history of games in Neyland Stadium. I mostly wrote this as a sort of warning to the South Carolina faithful – don’t take these guys lightly, even when we’re good and they’re bad, we seem to have a tough time at their place.

The game couldn’t have started any better, with Ryan Hilinski hitting Shi Smith for a 75-yard catch and run touchdown on the game’s first play. Then the game couldn’t have gone any worse, with Tennessee outscoring the good guys 41-14 in a whitewashing rarely seen in this series in the last 20 years. In the darkest recesses of my mind I didn’t see us getting whipped by three touchdowns and getting goose-egged 24-0 in the second half. It was a supremely frustrating performance, so much so that I left at the end of the third quarter to attend a birthday party to which I arrived ON TIME. I don’t have to tell you that’s extremely out of character for me.

Two weeks ago the South Carolina football team was flying high after beating fifth-ranked Georgia in Athens. Those questioning Will Muschamp were quieted. There was no one asking about buyouts, or making lists of coaching candidates. The program was finally trending up, and on the right track.

Last week against Florida the Gamecocks let one get away. The lead story was the poor officiating, but USC had chances to make plays and pull a second consecutive top ten upset, but couldn’t get it done.

On Saturday, the bottom fell out. Tennessee has been a program in disarray for years. Poor administration, botched coaching searches, bad hires, players with questionable character, transfers, a long SEC losing streak, you name it. Then they started 2019 with a home loss against Georgia State, and entered our game at 2-5 even though they had been playing better of late. But the butt of all SEC jokes ambushed Muschamp and company. They were better prepared, faster, more confident, and looked more like the 1999 Volunteers than the 2019 Volunteers.

So here we are, back where we were after the first week of the season, picking up the pieces after a horrible loss. The good will of the Georgia win is gone. Completely gone. After a mere two weeks.

*I know, this game terrified some of you.

Meltdown. I didn’t get to write a Snap Judgments after the Georgia game, but I think I tweeted something to the effect that our defense was finally starting to look like a Will Muschamp defense. Against the Vols, we got no pressure and gave up 351 yards passing to a quarterback who Tennessee fans dread seeing play and a true freshman seeing his first significant playing time as a collegian. We were consistently shoved around and wide receivers Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway seemed to running through our secondary with a ten-yard force field around them for most of the game. (Both those guys are full-grown men by the way).

I think some of our defenders may have been a little full of themselves after the Georgia game. Maybe this will be a wake up call. Or maybe the Georgia game was an anomaly.

Offensive. After complaining about Bryan McClendon and the offense, I was told by one Twitter follower that I was wrong and I should “break down some film and show the issues”. Well, I don’t really have time to break down film, and I’m not sure I know enough about RPM’s and screen door passes and drawing plays to tell you what’s going on. What I do know is this:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it appears we’ve regressed in most major offensive categories. If we were a great offensive team to begin with that would probably be acceptable, but we were no better than middle of pack in the SEC last year.

Put the blame on a freshman quarterback if you want, but watching Jim Chaney of Tennessee scheme the hell out of us on Saturday with a below average QB and a *gasp* freshman QB made me long for a real live veteran offensive coordinator.

If we want to continue to be unimaginative and middling on offense, we’re in good shape. If not, we need to open our pocketbooks and hire someone who has a proven track record.

QB1. Speaking of freshman quarterbacks, I have no problem with Ryan Hilinski at this stage of his career. He was thrown into a tough situation, has been getting pummeled in every game, and keeps coming back. He needs to get better, and he will, but right now we have to take the good with the bad.

The Muschamp Dilemma. Ah, yes, so we meet again. First of all, let me state for the record, no one from this blog or Twitter account has ever uttered the words “fire Muschamp”. If you can find evidence to the contrary please share it with us. First of all, calling for his firing would be futile, because it is obvious Ray Tanner is going to live, and likely die, with this hire. Second, nobody listens to us anyway. Third, believe it or not, we really really want Muschamp to succeed at South Carolina, even though we don’t think it is likely.

Once again, this is about using your eyes. Tell me what you see. If you throw out the Georgia game (but please don’t, cling to it like grim death) this has been a program of inconsistency and mediocrity under Muschamp. We’ve been slightly above average at our very best, and average to below average the rest of the time. Even our 9-4 season didn’t see us beat a team of real consequence. Add his time at Florida to his time here and what do you see? After seven-plus years as a head coach, nobody is calling Will Muschamp a coaching superstar.

And stop with the Spurrier argument. Please stop. Spurrier was given a ton of rope because he earned it long before he ever set foot in Columbia. Muschamp has yet to show he can be a successful head coach anywhere, so he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt. And if your argument is “it took Spurrier seven years and he’s a hall of famer we should give Muschamp more time”, how much time do you want to give him? Fifteen, twenty years? Lord knows, I’ll likely be dead by the time we hire our next head coach.

I know this is going to make some of you mad, it already has on Twitter. That’s not my intention, it’s just a matter of calling it like I see it. You might see it differently, so I’ll make you an offer if you have a strong opinion in the other direction –

Write a story in defense of Will Muschamp and this coaching staff, email it to us at, and we’ll publish it. Not kidding, if you want a voice, this is your chance.

Until then, go Cocks, beat Vandy.

Hard Knox-ville: As Always, This Halloween Tilt Will Provide Some Scares

(Photo: 247 Sports)

South Carolina at Tennessee – the thing of which nightmares are made.

1995 – My only trip to Knoxville for a game featured Steve Taneyhill vs. Peyton Manning. The Gamecocks took the opening kickoff and drove all the way to the Tennessee one-yard line, only to have a false start penalty stall the drive. The chip shot field goal that would’ve given South Carolina an early lead was blocked by Leonard Little and returned 90 yards for a Vol touchdown. It was all downhill from there as Tennessee went on to win 56-21.

2001 – The no. 15 Gamecocks and no. 9 Volunteers battled nip and tuck for three and a half quarters, but a Travis Stephens touchdown midway through the fourth quarter gave Tennessee a 17-10 victory. It was one of only three losses on the season for the Gamecocks.

2003 – Star freshman running back Demetris Summers ran for 158 yards on 27 carries and the Gamecocks played their first ever overtime game (I think) in Knoxville. But they lost in heartbreaking fashion as Tennessee scored a touchdown in their overtime possession after a USC field goal.

2007 – Talk about heartbreaking. The Gamecocks stormed back from a 21-0 halftime deficit to take a 24-21 lead late in the game. The Vols’ Daniel Lincoln hit a 48-yard field goal with five seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime, then made a 27-yarder in the first overtime period. Ryan Succop missed a 40-yarder with a chance to force a second overtime. At the time, had the Gamecocks won out, they would have won the SEC East (instead, they lost their last three regular season games).

2009 – The 22nd-ranked Gamecocks went into Knoxville against an aggressively average Tennessee team in their first and only year under Lane Kiffin. When the Vols ran out onto the field in black jerseys, on Halloween no less, the game was over. The Gamecocks gave the game away early, turning the ball over and falling behind 21-0 again. There would be no comeback this time, and UT went on to win 31-13.

2013 – Yeah, gross. The game that cost the Gamecocks a shot at an SEC title, and maybe even a national title.

2015 – The worst South Carolina team of the last two decades fell into a big hole again (sound familiar?), trailing by two touchdowns at the half. Once again they rallied to tie it up, and had a chance to win late, but Jerrell Adams fumbled at the Tennessee 13-yard line with :32 seconds left to play.

Even the wins in Knoxville have been pretty blah – 14-3 in 2011 when we had a vastly superior team, and 15-9 in 2017 when we dominated most of the game but needed a goal line stand at the end of the game to seal it.

That said, one of the great moments in Gamecock history happened in Knoxville in 2005 in Steve Spurrier’s first year as head coach. Josh Brown’s 49-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter gave the Gamecocks a 16-15 win, their first in Neyland Stadium. But as far as great USC performances in Knoxville, the list pretty much begins and ends with that game.

What am I expecting tomorrow? Who knows. What we need is an offensive breakout for this team. We’ve seen glimpses throughout the season, but it would be nice to see a four quarter performance from the offense where we put 35-38 points on the board and have the defense play at the level it played against Georgia. If we can pull that off, we should have a relaxing afternoon.

However, the Vols have been playing tough football, especially the last two weeks against Mississippi State and Alabama. So while there’s the performance I’m hoping for, there’s also the performance we’re most likely to get – a low scoring street fight that isn’t decided until late in the fourth quarter. As long as we come away with a win I really don’t care how we get it.

I’d just like to save all my scares and horrors for later in the week.

Snap Judgments – 2019 Florida @ USC Edition

“Excuse me sir, could I interest you in an eye exam?”

Some quick, barely researched, not fully-formed thoughts from South Carolina’s 38-27 loss to Florida.

Jobbed. First of all, let me state for the record, I hate people who perpetually blame referees, officials and umpires for the failures of their teams. It is indeed a loser’s mentality, and discounts the hard work, game planning and overall play of the opponent. Sometimes to win a game you have to overcome a bad call here or there to win, and typically there are many opportunities to do just that during the course of the game. I do my best to not blame officiating for the outcome of a contest.

(clears throat)


Yesterday against Florida was as close as I’ve seen since The Push Off to a game being decided by officials. Sure, we had plenty of opportunities to put points on the board or stop Florida from putting points on the board throughout the game. But if the referees had just been competent – that’s all we needed, competence – the Gamecocks’ chances of winning would have increased greatly.

There were calls that were questionable, but there were two calls that were absolute no doubters that gifted the Gators 14 points. Here’s a recap of a few:

  • Early in the third quarter the Gamecocks had taken a 17-10 lead after a Gator turnover and short touchdown drive. All the momentum was on the side of USC until Florida’s Dameon Pierce took a handoff 75 yards to paydirt on the first play of the ensuing drive. Except the play never should have happened. Florida right tackle Jean Delance came out of his stance before the snap, so the play should have immediately been blown dead. A false start or flinch by an offensive lineman is almost ALWAYS called because there is a dedicated official who looks for it. I saw it when the play started and couldn’t believe the play wasn’t whistled dead. On the Should’ve Called a Penalty scale (one to five flags) this one gets five flags.
  • The second part of that play – which seemed to upset a lot of you more than the false start no-call – is Florida wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland had a hold of Israel Mukuamu’s jersey for about 40 yards as he gave chase to Pierce. It was holding, plain and simple, but a very poor argument was made that almost pulling the jersey over Mukuamu’s head didn’t mean Cleveland necessarily gained an advantage. Conservatively I’ll give this four flags on the Should’ve Called a Penalty Scale.
  • With about 10 minutes to go in the game, Florida faced a 4th and 3 at the Gamecock 34 yard line. At the snap, Javon Kinlaw broke through the line and put pressure on Florida QB Kyle Trask. Kinlaw was basically tackled by a Florida lineman but no flag was thrown. Trask completed a pass for a first down, and the Gators took the lead for good on a TD pass on the next play. I’ve seen more obvious holds not get called, but I’ve also seen a lot less than that get called. That play gets three flags on the Should’ve Called a Penalty Scale.
  • Finally, with Florida leading 24-20 and South Carolina needing to hold them to a field goal to stay in the game, the Gators committed one of the most egregious pick plays you could ever imagine to free up Kyle Pitts for an easy touchdown. Analyst Greg McElroy called it immediately, which tells you how obvious it was. Instead of first and goal from the 15, the Gators for all intents and purposes put the game away.

Whining, sour grapes, poor sportsmanship, whatever you want to call it, we got jobbed yesterday. It’s a shame the Gamecocks didn’t get a chance to win the game based on how they actually played the game.

The Professor. We were hard on Will Muschamp earlier this year, going as far as saying it was never going to work with him at South Carolina. What has happened the last two weeks has once again given us a glimmer of hope. We didn’t get to write a Snap Judgments after the Georgia game, but that’s one of those “where were you” games that we’ll be talking about for years to come. It’s a shame we couldn’t follow that up with another top 10 upset yesterday, but we competed our rear ends off. Maybe this young team is figuring it out.

What we don’t need at this point are steps backwards. We need wins over Tennessee and Vanderbilt. We need a good showing and possibly a win at Texas A&M. We need to beat Appalachian State. And finally, we need to show Clemson we can compete.

We need continued progress. We need to build on that hope.

D Up, O Down. While the defense has started to play like the Will Muschamp defense we expected when he came here, the offense continues to struggle. Granted, Florida is an outstanding defensive team, and that had a lot to do with our pedestrian performance yesterday. But our play calling consistently leaves me scratching my head. The run game is the best it’s been in the Muschamp era, but our inability to pass protect and get receivers open is a concern.

H bomb. Ryan Hilinski continues to be a freshman. In other words, maddeningly inconsistent. I know…wait, let me rephrase that… I THINK he’s been injured on and off this season even though the coaches continue to tell me he’s fine.

He was stellar against Charleston Southern, outstanding against Alabama, bad against Missouri (hurt elbow?), ok against Kentucky, good against Georgia (for a half), and pretty bad against Florida (hurt knee?).

We had a chance to win the game yesterday on the strength of Hilinski’s arm. He missed at least four open deep balls in the first half that would’ve given the Gamecocks a cushion. Muschamp event mentioned those at the half, saying the Gators were daring him to go up top by crowding the line of scrimmage, and that Hilinski needed to hit those.

You know what they say the best thing about freshmen is? They become sophomores. Let’s hope Ryan becomes a sophomore, at least mentally, as soon as possible.

Fast Lane. Thank God for Tavien Feaster. Man, I’m happy for that kid and what he’s doing on the field for us this season. After Rico Dowdle went down with and injury, all Feaster did was rush 25 times for 175 yards and a touchdown. I never cared that he was a Tiger, I’m just glad he’s a Gamecocks.

On the flip side, I feel horrible for Rico Dowdle. The poor guy just can’t stay healthy. Here’s hoping he recovers quickly and can be back soon.

What’s next. Please do not sleep on Tennessee. Yes, they are a train wreck, but they’ve been a train wreck before and managed to ruin our season. They will not be a pushover, and I expect to be stressed for sixty minutes.

Go Cocks.

Not So Snap Judgments – 2019 Kentucky @ South Carolina Edition


Some no so quick, barely researched, not fully-formed thoughts from South Carolina’s 24-7 win over Kentucky.

Blue by you. On October 10, 2009, South Carolina defeated Kentucky 28-26. That win was the tenth consecutive for the Gamecocks over the Wildcats and completed a highly improbable decade sweep. Unbelievably the Wildcats broke the streak the following year, beating a Gamecock team that had just beaten top-ranked Alabama the week before and a team that would go on to win its only SEC East championship. (In other words, the most Gamecock loss of all time.) USC would then win the next three, making it 13 out of 14 games in our favor.

As we entered the annual tilt on Saturday night, the Wildcats were sitting on a just-as-improbable five-game win streak over the Gamecocks. The frustration level was such that the Kentucky game – THE KENTUCKY GAME – was circled on this year’s schedule as a must-win just to get the monkey off out back.

And dispose of that annoying primate we did, with a convincing 24-7 win that was as easy going an SEC game as we’ve seen in a while. The Wildcats never really threatened even though the Gamecocks never really pulled away, but you never got a sense that Kentucky was going to be able to mount enough offense to catch and pass USC.

The defense finally played like a Will Muschamp defense, shutting out the Wildcats and holding them to a paltry 128 yards before their final drive of the game. The offense produced two 100-yard rushers (Dowdle/Feaster) in an SEC game for the first time since 2001 (Watson/Pinnock).

It wasn’t always pretty, but snapping a 5-game losing streak to a middle-of-the-road conference opponent was downright georgeous.

The other news. Look, the streak is over, and that’s fantastic. The fans were outstanding, the stadium was loud, the uniforms looked great, and the game ended with the good guys with more points than the bad guys. It’s a pleasant way to go into an off week, we can relax and have a good off week before our showdown with Georgia.

However, this doesn’t mean things are fixed. The UNC game still happened. The Missouri game still happened. We’re still in for a lot of ups and downs over the next eight weeks, I’m certain. The hope, of course, is that this team has figured something out. That they’re learning how to compete week in and week out, at home and on the road.

But I go back to something I said in the offseason – show me. Don’t just show me once. Continue to show me every week, no matter the opponent. Then I’ll start to believe.

Calling his shot. Cole Cubelic says this was pretty cool, and I agree.

I’ve been pretty hard on Will this year, but I’ve always said he speaks the game as well as anyone I’ve ever heard. In 2016 he was one of the coaches in the ESPN Film Room for the Alabama-Clemson National Championship Game, and it was so impressive to hear him discuss formations and play calls. Every time he spoke he know exactly what he was talking about. The man knows the game of football, with that you cannot argue.

Let’s get physical. Kentucky had a five-game losing streak over South Carolina for one primary reason – they were tougher and more physical than us. The Gamecocks turned the tables Saturday night. USC was more physical in every aspect of the game, and it wasn’t close. That feels good.

The game plan. I watched Kentucky and quarterback Sawyer Smith a couple of times this season before Saturday. I thought, while not spectacular, he was more than competent enough to give the Gamecocks some trouble. I was wrong, he was terrible. Like 1999 South Carolina rotating seven quarterbacks terrible. It was obvious Travaris Robinson and company didn’t think Smith could beat us with the pass, employing a one-high safety and keying on the run most of the game. They were right.

Take it easy. I’m not sure if Ryan Hilinski was hurt against Missouri. I’m not sure he wasn’t hurt against Kentucky. All if know is about 90% of our passes were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Were they taking pressure off Hilinski? Or taking pressure off his elbow?

If it is the elbow we should all be grateful for the bye week. Because we’re going to need number 3 to sling it around the ballpark at some point this season.

Let’s all get healthy during the bye week and come back ready to kick Georgia’s ass*.

*quoting Ryan Hilinski’s prayer, which was hilarious

Go Cocks.

Snap Judgments – 2019 South Carolina @ Missouri Edition

Some quick, barely researched, not fully-formed thoughts from South Carolina’s 34-14 loss to Missouri.

Hello darkness. Well, here we are again. It’s only been three weeks, but we’ve once again seen a Gamecock performance so bad that we’re digging up buyout numbers on Will Muschamp. A record-setting performance against Charleston Southern (lol) and a respectable showing against Alabama pulled us back from the ledge after the season opening debacle against UNC. We once again had some hope that the team might be a little bit better than we thought, and they had a chance to prove it against a Missouri team that we should, at minimum, be on equal footing with.

But once again, a Muschamp-coached team – a team “desperate” for a win according to Dakereon Joyner – looked completely lost from the opening bell.

The defense propped us up for most of the game until they crumbled under weight of Missouri’s time of possession dominance. The offensive game plan looked like the incoherent rambling of an insane man. We had exceptionally dumb penalties by young guys (R.J. Roderick) and veteran guys (T.J. Brunson) alike. We looked ill-prepared, poorly coached and completely outclassed. And the final score reflected it.

Two guys stood out by busting their asses to the final bell – Bryan Edwards and Javon Kinlaw. Both seniors. Both guys I don’t know what the hell we’re going to do without. Because despite all the talent we seem to have accumulated in our recent recruiting classes, I just don’t know if we have anyone on the sidelines who can mold them into a competent football team.

3 and out. Friday afternoon word started to leak that on-the-cusp-of-freshman-sensation Ryan Hilinski had an injured right elbow. That was bad news, obviously. As we crept into Saturday we found out Hilinski was with the team, was going to “give it a go”, was dressed out, and then was going to start. There was never any official word from the team that I’m aware of. Good news, right?

Wrong. Hilinski was a shell of what we had seen the previous two weeks. The accuracy we had come to expect through two whole games was completely gone. He missed receivers in every direction – high, low, left right – his bad passes did not discriminate.

Immediately we attributed it to the mysterious injury that we’d all heard about but were never officially told about. After the game, Will Muschamp told Todd Ellis something along the lines of “if he was hurt I wouldn’t have played him”. Okeydoke then.

Where there’s smoke there’s fire. And if Will Muschamp was honest with us instead of trying to be some dollar store Bill Belichik the fan base would be much more appreciative. How about a simple “he’s got an elbow but has been cleared to play and we think he’s out best option.” Instead, the further down the toilet this program goes, the more surly Muschamp gets. His circling of the wagons is alienating the fan base at a time when he should be communicating more, not less.

Speaking of Hilinski, and I realize it’s only been three weeks, but I worry about the kid. He took a beating last week, and then took another one yesterday, particularly later in the game. He was in obvious discomfort most of the day, yet the staff kept trotting him out there, finally waving the white flag and giving Dak Joyner a chance with about three and a half minutes left in the game.

It was another stubborn decision by a stubborn man, and it’s getting oh so tiring.

The buyout. When it comes to Muschamp’s buyout, somewhere between $18mm and $22MM apparently, there are a lot of folks saying “it ain’t gonna happen” because it’s too rich for our blood.

I’m not so sure of that. We’ve been pretty lucky with coaches leaving in that we haven’t had any extravagant buyouts recently. Is that a heck of a lot of money? Sure it is. But what’s the cost of letting this program continue to slide into the abyss while fans don’t come to game in droves and stop buying apparel and stop supporting the program in general.

The bigger question may be what to do with Ray Tanner. Tanner will probably hit us with another “vote of confidence” this week because he’s the guy who had to hire his third choice and make it look like it was his first choice. Many of your expressed on Twitter yesterday extreme displeasure with the job Tanner has done, and I’m right there with you. In case you missed it, I wrote this after the UNC game:

Ray Tanner was a hall of fame baseball coach who wanted to be an administrator, and we rewarded him with a job he’s unqualified for because he won a lot of baseball games. Now the football program is paying for it. Other programs may follow.

If this season continues to spiral out of control, trying to figure out the buyout situation will become of utmost importance. Because $18-20mm dollars will be lost in short order through season ticket cancellations, fewer donations, less merchandise bought, etc. The cost of getting rid of Will Muschamp will be high and painful, but what will be the long-term cost of keeping Will Muschamp?

And of even greater importance, is the guy who hired and extended Will Muschamp really the guy we want negotiating a buyout and hiring the next head coach at USC?

WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE RECRUITS. Somebody had the nerve to tweet to me that we shouldn’t fire Will Muschamp because of the recruiting classes he’s about to bring in. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. What good does a top 20 recruiting class do if you don’t have a staff that can develop talent and put winning game plans in place?

Just for giggles, Carolina’s last four recruiting classes were ranked 20, 25, 21 and 18 by 247 Sports. Missouri’s last four classes were ranked 25, 43, 43 and 43. Kentucky’s last four classes were ranked 38, 34, 30 and 37. Make your own conclusions.

But. With all that said, the odds are still high Muschamp will be our coach in 2020. And as much as I don’t think he’s our guy sitting here today, I’ll be pulling like hell for him to win every game.

Headline news. After yesterday’s abomination, waking up this morning we certainly didn’t need this:

It was an extremely unfortunate gaffe by The State, a newspaper that has drawn the ire of Gamecock fans literally for decades. To their credit, they offered a quick apology (not quick enough for most) and explanation (not acceptable for most), and stated they reached out to the Hilinski family (which many questioned).

For the record, I haven’t lived in Columbia since 1992 and simply don’t have the history with The State that many of you do. I don’t think there’s some conspiracy within the paper to make our university or its sports teams look bad.

They made a huge mistake, mostly due to a clunky and inefficient editorial process that has people writing headlines without a real tie to the story. Personally I’m ready to move on. It sucks but I don’t need some virtual pound of flesh to make it right.

What’s next. Kentucky is next, and foolish me woke up this morning feeling like we’re going to win that game. We need a healthy Ryan Hilinski to do it, or we need a staff that’s honest with its fans to tell us he is indeed hurting, and Dakereon Joyner taking first team reps in practice this week. We also need fannies in seats, and I’m confident we’ll have a lot of them.

While I breathe I hope.

Go Cocks.