1992 Gamecock Flashback

This blog post and the accompanying audio were originally posted prior to the 2013 season

The year 1992 was one of the most eventful in South Carolina football history. It was the 100th anniversary of the program, our first year in the Southeastern Conference, and the team made things interesting by starting 0-5 and then winning five of their last six, including a victory at Clemson. In between several players led a “revolt” to try to have Sparky Woods removed as head coach.

Marty Simpson was a redshirt sophomore kicker on that squad, and he joins Buck to give some behind-the-scene stories on how the season played out, including:

  • The Wright Mitchell, Blake Williamson, Steve Taneyhill quarterback carousel that eventually led to Taneyhill taking over the starting job
  • What really happened in the locker room during the “player revolt”, and Sparky Woods’ reaction
  • Some significant contributors aside from Taneyhill that season, including Brandon Bennett and Toby Cates
  • How the filming of the major motion picture “The Program” impacted the team on a daily basis
  • And you know how Taneyhill famously signed the Tiger paw? Well, Marty took a piece of the Tiger paw with him

We’d like to thank Marty Simpson for joining us for this episode. Be sure to check out his website and YouTube channel.

Click here or click the graphic to listen, and enjoy!

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1991 Gamecock Flashback

This blog post and the accompanying audio were originally posted prior to the 2013 season

The 99th edition of Gamecock football was quite forgettable. Really, two things happened – Brandon Bennett set a single game rushing record with 278 yards versus East Tennessee State, and we beat defending National Champion (and bad football team) Georgia Tech.

So this edition of Buckshots is rather short, but we make up for it with the 1992 review. Big time.

Plus, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch if nothing else interests you.

Click here or click the graphic to listen, and enjoy!

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1990 Gamecock Flashback

This blog post and the accompanying audio were originally posted prior to the 2013 season

Buckshots takes a few minutes to discuss the 1990 Gamecock football season, and you’ll hear names like Bobby Fuller, Mike Dingle, Rob DeBoer, and…Everett Sands??? Yes, Coach Sands was part of the Citadel team that beat USC 38-35 and sent Buck into a deep, deep funk.

Buck talks about the AP (Colorado) and UPI (Georgia Tech) National Champions from 1990 because the South Carolina season was so devoid of action.  He also talks about a rare Thanksgiving night game for the Gamecocks.

Click here or click the BUCKSHOTS graphic to stream, and enjoy!

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1989 Gamecock Flashback

This blog post and the accompanying audio were originally posted prior to the 2013 season

Following a steroid scandal at USC, the disappointment of the way the 1988 football season ended, and then the tragic passing of Coach Joe Morrison in early 1989, new head coach Sparky Woods had his work cut out for him. But he guided the Gamecocks to a 5-1-1 start before Todd Ellis was lost for the season with a knee injury. A late season swoon (something we would all become familiar with over the years) and a humiliating 45-0 loss to Clemson followed.

Also covered in this edition of Buckshots – from Bugginout to Gustavo Fring, a young Steve Spurrier, and how hurricane Hugo nearly wiped out the Georgia Tech game.

Click here to stream.

Click here to listen on iTunes. 

Enjoy!

1988 Gamecock Flashback

This blog post and the accompanying audio were originally posted prior to the 2013 season

The 1988 Gamecock football season was one of the more eventful in our program’s history, and not for good reasons.

In a 10-day stretch our 6-0 and eighth-ranked Gamecocks lost on the road to a 1-4 Georgia Tech team, and a few days later a huge steroid scandal was exposed at USC by Sports Illustrated. The story of Tommy Chaikin can be found here, and I encourage you to read it if you never have. The future of South Carolina football was very much in doubt, in our minds if not in reality, during that time.

After a late season swoon (sound familiar?) that included a 59-0 loss to Florida State, a loss at Clemson, and a loss to Indiana in the Liberty Bowl, we thought we would have a respite from bad football news for a while. Unfortunately, that was far from the case.

Head Coach Joe Morrison died tragically after playing racquetball at Williams-Brice Stadium on February 6, 1989. Not only was this a huge blow to the University, it also happened THREE DAYS before National Signing Day. Within two weeks Sparky Woods was hired from Appalachian State to try to put the pieces back together.

I’m trying to keep these flashbacks short and concise – under 10 minutes, but this one does run long because so much happened in 1988. (Plus I bore you with a couple of personal stories.)

Oh, and on a side note, the music in each Buckshots will come from the year we are featuring. I’m sure you recognize both songs so far, 1987 was “Walk Like and Egyptian” by The Bangles, and in the this episode we have “Faith” by George Michael. (Don’t judge, I’m just trying to give you a flavor of the time!)

Click here to stream.

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Enjoy!

1987 Gamecock Flashback

This blog post and the accompanying audio were originally posted prior to the 2013 season

After our discussion on the last TRC Unleashed about 80s and 90s Gamecock football seasons, I had the urge to piece together all the seasons since my Freshman year (1987). And instead of writing about those seasons, which would take years, I decided to record short recaps in the form of Buckshots (a mini-podcast idea that never went anywhere).

So starting with 1987, I’m going to try to give a pseudo-recap of each season leading up to the start of the 2013 season. The purpose is to try to recapture the mood of the program, the major players, and some important/interesting/depressing games. Most of what I’m doing here I’m going on memory, so feel free to correct my ever-eroding memory in the comments section below.

One note I left off this episode, the Todd Ellis TD to INT ratio in 1987: 10-24.  Ugh.

There are two ways to listen:

Click here to stream

Click here to listen in iTunes

Thank you and enjoy!

 

Snap Judgments – 2017 Bye Week Addition

South Carolina’s next mascot? Maybe!

Honorary Chicken and 2016 Southeast Region District 6 Pickle Ball Player of the Year Jorge (@jorhay) fills in this week to give some bye week snaps. Enjoy! 

How did the seasons get their name? Starting off with some non-football fare! We all know it’s called ‘fall’ because leaves fall and ‘spring’ because it’s when ‘spring break’ happens. But did you know winter used to be called “Fall, but for Snow, Not Leaves”? But that was too cumbersome, so they called it “Winter”, which is an acronym for “Whence It’s Now To Enter [Fall, but for Rain, Not Leaves, or Snow]” which is what they used to call spring. Summer was named for famous mathematician Euclid who was believed to be born on June 21. Mathematicians used to be called “summers”, before they discovered forms of math other than addition, so the season now bares his vocation. This is all true.

Oh and autumn came from the colloquialism “Audem”, as in “hey guys, audem leaves startin’ to fall!”

The most exciting play in football? If you ask me, there’s only one real answer: the pass.

Unsubstantiated take on a subject that is probably way more nuanced than it seems but I still think I’m right about. Official replays should take 30 seconds max. These five-minute official replay sequences are simply Refereeing Theater. “Look how thorough and careful we’re being — trust us coach, we looked at it from every angle. We should be praised for Getting It Right™.” No. Reviewable circumstances are rarely ambiguous, and if they are, then don’t overturn it because it’s Not Conclusive.

IMVHO, it should be as simple as this:

Ref: “The previous play is under review.”

[replay booth should already be watching the portion of the play in question when ref puts on headset] 

Replay booth: “Ah damn yeah, his foot was out of bounds. Ref, the pass is incomplete, actually.”

Ref: [takes off headphones] “The pass is incomplete, 2nd and 10.”

30 seconds, done.

But, but what if they have to reset the clock and the yardage?

Yes this is always the announcer’s excuse for why overturned calls take so long. And I say garbage. Just have another ref get that information during the 15 seconds the review, just in case. The information has to be readily available. It’s not rocket science.

To summarize, it is unacceptable that a replay ever takes more than 30 seconds. I have never refereed football. Do not @ me.

Food for thought. It’s likely that all the animal mascots from recent USC baseball teams are dead.

Next coach? When Will Muschamp retires in 2031 after six SEC championships and two national titles (avg. 17 ppg) who’s up next? Our list of candidates:

  • Connor Shaw Recruits his son, and invites his father to be an honorary walk-on; is now a Coach of a Coach’s Son’s Father, and the Coach-Father of a Coach-Father’s Grandson (coach’s son)

  • Bret Bielema – Out of work for a decade frankly just needs somewhere to crash.

  • Steve Spurrier – 86 years young, Spurrier (now half-cybernetic) wants to give it one more go will attempt to “blue pill” the Cock and Fire offense 😉 Will win 8 games in 2032 and promptly stop recruiting in 2033.

  • Stephen Garcia – Seconds after winning championship, players douse him in a keg of Keystone Light.

  • Whoever got fired by a powerhouse like three years ago. (Let’s face it this is gonna be what happens.)

DID YOU KNOW! 

  • Did you know Jake Bentley was supposed to be in high school last year

  • Did you know Hayden Hurst was a minor leaguer

  • Did you know Jamarcus King is actually a prince of a small Dutch protectorate in the South Caribbean

  • Did you know DJ Wonnum is right behind you

  • Did you know Ortre Smith is an anagram for Rot Hermits, which is the name of my new punk band

Kurt Roper Is Good But Also Bad. What’s the deal with Kurt, amirite? I mean the guy’s wasting our talent. Unless he’s not. After all, if the players aren’t executing the schemes it’s not his fault. Although, it’s kinda his fault if he’s calling plays that his players aren’t capable of executing. But you can’t just gut an entire offensive scheme because your guard’s not pulling fast enough…right? Then again, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Play the hand you’re dealt! Of course, since coaches recruit the players, you’re kinda dealing your own hand. So Kurt Roper is good, but might be bad. Or the opposite of that. I need to lay down.

I just broke my tibia. I just broke my tibia.

Possible new mascot names. Ole Miss will begin to use the on-field mascot Landshark, which is an outrage because changing things is always bad (except for definitely slavery and maybe Kurt Roper) but given the political correctification of America, it’s safe to assume that every program will eventually have to adopt a zany, internet-approved mascot. Gamecocks are nefarious betting-birds, so we’re probably gonna be among the earliest to be forced to change.

Safest to go with some abstract, soccery mascot:

  • USC Stormsand

  • USC Traintraffic

  • USC No Gain on First

  • USC Stansbury Eye Center Football Team

  • USC Three Stars

  • USC Chaun Gresham

  • USC Demetra

Looking ahead. Vanderbilt is next on our schedule.

Looking behind. We played Tennessee last week.

Looking down. I’m wearing Vans.

Looking up. Will Muschamp is in the AC duct.

Looking glass. Makes it easy to read small words

Looking for a Way Out.  A great song by Uncle Tupelo

I bet you are excited for the bye week to be over. 

Go Cocks, beat Vandy!

Snap Judgments – 2017 Arkansas @ USC Edition

Photo: thestate.com
Some quick, barely researched, not fully formed thoughts from South Carolina’s 48-22 win over Arkansas.

Hope restored. Saturday at home against Arkansas was very much a make or break game for South  Carolina in the 2017 season. The win over North Carolina State looks better every week, but after disappointing performances against Kentucky, Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M, the season opener was feeling more like a fluke than a case of a good team beating another good team. Losing to a struggling Arkansas squad at home would’ve not only cast more doubt on our prospects for this season, but on the overall direction of the program under Will Muschamp.

What we got was that rare “breather” of an SEC game for the Gamecocks. Despite the occasional frustrating moment, the game was all but decided by the time the fourth quarter started. I don’t have to tell you that’s not a particularly common occurrence for USC football. The defense was spectacular and shut down pretty much everything the ‘Hogs wanted to do, while the offense did more than its share to help choke the life out of them.

Don’t get me wrong, no one is going to look at this as a season-defining win for South Carolina. But it might’ve been a season-saving win. Arkansas is on the fast track to firing the entertaining Bret Bielema, who is only 10-24 in SEC games since he arrived in Fayetteville. But at the same time it’s a team that took Texas A&M to overtime, and was within one score of sixth-ranked TCU until late in the fourth quarter. So the Razorbacks were certainly capable of coming into Columbia and causing trouble.

But Muschamp’s boys didn’t let that happen. As a matter of fact they imposed their will and pushed around another SEC school for the first time in ages. And in the process, they restored some hope that 2017 could be a pretty good season after all.

Let’s hear it for the D. I have been more critical of the Gamecock defense than pretty much anyone I know. I haven’t trusted these guys because they have no superstars and I didn’t feel like the stats were telling the whole story on this unit. I’m here today to admit I’ve been dead wrong.

While “superstar” might still be a little strong for anybody on that side of the ball, Skai Moore has certainly returned to form as the ball hawk we all remember. TJ Brunson is a tackling machine, and nobody in the league or out of the league has dared throw it Rashad Fenton’s way more than a couple of times a game. And now DJ Wonnum has become that disruptive force on the defensive line that has been so badly needed. There are plenty more who deserve praise as well.

The net result is the Gamecock D has held every opponent it has faced below their per game scoring average. It probably took me too long to get there, and I’m knocking on wood as I say this, but I’m now a firm believer in the system and players we have on defense.

Once, twice, three times. Per ESPN, the Gamecocks had not scored a defensive touchdown since 2014, the longest such streak in the SEC. In the second half on Saturday, USC scored three touchdowns over the course of five Arkansas possessions. One other defensive score was overturned when the ‘Hogs runner was (barely) ruled down, and early in the game Jamyest Williams let a scoop and score opportunity slip through his hands.

This is 40. South Carolina scored 40 points for the second time in the Will Muschamp era, and for the first time against an SEC opponent. It was also the first time a Muschamp-coached team scored 40 points in a conference game since 2012. The opponent that day? You don’t want to know.

Roper hope. Kurt Roper kept the wolves at bay for at least one week with a nicely called game. He mixed up the run and pass very well, and if Jake Bentley had thrown a couple more accurate balls we could’ve scored more than 50. All this with a patched together offensive line. The only thing I wish Roper would do is take a page out of the Spurrier playbook and take a shot at the end zone when we force a turnover in plus territory.

Wake up call. If Jake Bentley played the first quarter the way he plays the last three he would be first-team All-SEC. Once again Bentley got off to a slow start on Saturday, completing only five of his first 15 passes for 28 yards. He followed up the slow start by going 11-16 for 171 yards and three touchdowns. He is now third in the league in yards and touchdowns, trailing two quarterbacks in Shea Patterson and Drew Lock who a) have wildly inflated numbers due to early weak competition and b) are often forced to throw the ball a lot because they are behind.

Never kick. Never kick.

D Will. I genuinely felt bad for David Williams on Saturday, after a performance he called “embarrassing, to be honest”. Williams came to USC as a highly rated running back and heir apparent to Mike Davis. He never hit his stride in Columbia, and any time he rose to the top of the depth chart he quickly slid back down. He saw the writing on the wall this offseason and transferred to Arkansas, where he’s actually found a little success in the Razorbacks’ offense.

I’m sure getting beat by almost four touchdowns in his return to Williams-Brice was not in his plans, and I’m not sure he expected to hear boos when he hit the field either. I’m not sure why some fans booed Williams, to my knowledge he was a model citizen at USC and never caused any problems on or off the field. Both Muschamp and Bielema had high praise for him, and I really wish the best for him going forward.

Knoxville. South Carolina returns on Saturday to a place filled with so many horrors it’s no wonder the game was traditionally played on Halloween weekend.

  • 2007 – Gamecocks mount a furious rally from 21-0 down at halftime to force overtime, only to lose a heartbreaker 27-24.
  • 2009 – Lane Kiffin, Tennessee in black jerseys, need I say more?
  • 2011 – Ugly, ugly 14-3 win over a terrible Volunteer team.
  • 2013 – Arguably the best Gamecock team ever falls on a last minute field goal.
  • 2015 – Another big deficit (17-0), another rally, Jerrell Adams fumbles deep in Volunteer territory with a chance to tie or take the lead.

That’s four losses in the last five tries in Knoxville, with all four incorporating some delicious new form of knife-twisting pain for Gamecock fans.

This week USC will face a Tennessee program that currently makes a dumpster fire look like a field of fresh lilies. They have a lame duck coach, players getting suspended for fighting with one another, crushing injuries on both sides of the ball, and a fan base collectively lined up at the edge of a tall bridge.

Still, the Volunteers are favored. Given our history in Neyland, this is not at all surprising.

Go Cocks, beat the  Vols.

 

Snap Judgments – USC @ Texas A&M 2017 Edition

(Photo: thestate.com)

Some quick, barely researched, not fully formed thoughts from South Carolina’s 24-17 loss to Texas A&M.

Gigged. The Gamecocks had a chance to rebuild some good will Saturday night that had been lost over the last two weeks with a bad loss to Kentucky and a last second win over Louisiana Tech. After a shaky first quarter on offense in College Station, USC took control of the game behind the arm of Jake Bentley and a swarming defense. A touchdown pass from Bentley to OrTre Smith put the Gamecocks up 17-10  with 9:24 left in the third quarter, and the defense immediately held Texas A&M to a three-and-out on their next possession. Things were looking very good for South Carolina on the road in one of the most hostile SEC environments.

They didn’t look good for long.

The Gamecocks went three-and-out on their next four possessions, losing an astounding 30 yards of field position combined. Texas A&M unleashed the hounds on defense and found some rhythm on offense, and once they tied the score at 17 there wasn’t a lot of hope on our side that we could score again or stop them from scoring. What was a golden opportunity to tell the college football world “hey, we might be pretty good after all” turned into another in a long line of “almosts” for USC in conference road games.

Dominos. The standard arguments apply – it’s Kurt Roper, it’s the offensive line, it’s Will Muschamp, it’s our lack of a run game, it’s a lack of creativity in the offensive game plan (also Roper), it’s the lack of depth on both lines of scrimmage. The truth is, it’s quite possibly all of these things combined, and until we get at least one of them fixed we’ll never know the biggest culprit.

What happens is one thing goes wrong and the dominos start to fall. Saturday night our offense was not able to stay on the field long enough because for the most part we failed to establish a consistent run game. Once the defense was out there for enough plays they obviously ran out of gas and couldn’t stop the Aggies. Once we were put in must-passing situations our offensive line couldn’t hold up to the TAMU pass rush and Jake got killed.

Roper has had a season and a half and a bevy of skill players to help prove his ability to move this offense and score points. So far he hasn’t done that. At the same time, up 17-7 if we hadn’t run the ball on first and second down with a back that was gaining six yards per carry people would’ve screamed “RUN THE DANG BALL”. Instead, they’re yelling because we didn’t keep the foot on the gas and bury the opponent.

Kurt Roper has made himself an easy target based on the lack of production of our offense, but on Saturday night I think he was mostly victimized by our thin offensive line. Whatever it is, he needs to get it fixed or the cries for his head will only get louder.

Additionally, as @HJhughes79 puts it:

The USC Three-and-Outs. In addition to the four straight three-and-outs in the second half, the Gamecocks started the game with four straight possessions without a first down as well. The only reason we had four plays on one of those first half drives was because we recovered a fumble and missed a field goal. That means six of our fourteen possessions resulted in no first downs and we were off the field in an average of 1:37. That will wear a defense out.

T-bone’s Food for Thought. No coach has won an SEC title in the modern era who didn’t win at least nine games in his second season. I think it’s safe to say we aren’t going to win nine games. It’s also safe to say Kirby Smart at Georgia is.

On the other hand, we are 3-2, which is after five games is probably exactly where we are supposed to be.

Rocked. Jake Bentley is a hell of a football player, and we’re lucky to have him. He has a lot to learn and tons of room to grow, but it’s hard to imagine what our team would be without him. That said, if he keeps taking shots like he took on our next to last offensive play of the game and is allowed to keep playing we won’t have him around for long.

https://twitter.com/AthleteAdvisory/status/914570408451506176

I don’t care the situation, somebody – a Gamecock coach or player, a referee, anybody – has to see a guy staggering back to the huddle like that and stop the game. It’s not worth a serious brain injury to let a kid keep playing in that instance.

The Smith Brothers. It’s hard not to be excited about Shi and OrTre Smith. They accounted for both South Carolina’s touchdowns on Saturday night and will be centerpieces of this offense for the next four years. Now, how to get them the ball…

Winnables. Switching to optimist mode, South Carolina has winnable games coming up against Arkansas, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. Honestly the only two games left on the schedule that appear to be completely unwinnable are Georgia and Clemson. The key to the entire season might be getting Cory Helms and Zack Bailey back on the OL. If we can get them healthy and playing up to their potential 7-5 is not out of the realm of possibility. If not, well, basketball season is right around the corner.

Go Cocks, beat the Hogs.

TRC Unleashed 97 – Noise Pollution

**WARNING: WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY BAD AUDIO IN THIS PODCAST. THAT IS, ASIDE FROM THE USUAL BAD AUDIO OF US TALKING**

On episode 97 we celebrate week two of Gamecock football, and we lament week two of a Tbone-free TRC Unleashed. Fortunately for us, the one and only @BeatClem does a fantastic job of filling in and imparting his knowledge upon the podcast. Among other things the guys discuss:

  • How @BeatClem passes the time while we’re not beating Clem
  • The ease of the Missouri win, despite an early 10-0 deficit
  • Is this team fool’s gold?
  • Is Deebo a Heisman contend…of course he’s not don’t be silly
  • The Ginger Ninja Hayden Hurst
  • Dante Kinlaw. Or is it Javon Sawyer. Or Sante Jawyer.
  • How awful is Todd Ellis as a pxp guy
  • What the future holds for this Gamecock team

Click the graphic below to stream or listen to us on iTunes, and enjoy!