The 2006 squad will return just 10 starters from last year, including six players on offense and four on defense, though they boasts the return of 40 lettermen.
Headline the returning players from
last season is wide receiver Sidney Rice (6-3, 200, So.), who led the Gamecocks
in 2005 with 1,143 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, setting multiple school
receiving records and earning a spot on the All-SEC team. He ended his freshman
season with a commanding 12 catch, 191-yard game against
Joining Rice at receiver will be
Kenny McKinley (5-11, 181, So.), who was the third leading receiver a year ago with 291
yards and one touchdown while appearing in all 12 games. Noah Whiteside (5-10,
180, Sr.) will also play a role for
Jared Cook (6-5, 229, Fr.), who redshirted last season, made the move from wide receiver to tight end this spring, and could make the position utilized more in the Gamecock offense this year.
position loaded with talent in this years offense is tailback, where South
Carolina will return last year's leading rusher Mike Davis (5-9, 210, So.), as
well as Cory Boyd (6-1, 208, Jr.), who saw playing time in 2004 but missed last
season because of suspension. As a true freshman last season,
returning with experience at tailback is Bobby Wallace (5-7, 185, So.), who was
the starter at the beginning of the season last year but would ultimately serve
the ground game at full back will be Lanard Stafford (5-9, 242, Jr.) and true
freshman Clark Gaston (6-3, 233), with
At quarterback, the Gamecocks will bring back Blake Mitchell (6-3, 206, Jr.), who threw for 2,370 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2005. Also earning potential time behind center are Cade Thomas (6-2, 181, Fr.) and Tommy Beecher (6-1, 206, Fr.), who both look to make their first collegiate appearances after red shirting last season.
Returning starters to the offensive
line include tackle Jamon Meredith (6-4, 290, Jr.) and center Chris White (6-3,
316, Sr.), who has the most starts of any
On the front line, the Gamecocks return experience in the form of tackle Stanley Doughty (6-0, 331, Jr.) and end Jordin Lindsey (6-3, 248, Jr.), while several players look to compete for the other two open spots.
Marque Hall (6-3, 291, Jr.) and Matt Raysor (6-3, 313, So.) are the leading candidates to join Doughty at tackle, while Dakota Walker (6-3, 226, So.), who battled injury throughout last season, is the favorite to start at end opposite Lindsey. Former line backer Ryan Brown (6-0, 247, Jr.) also made the switch to end this season and is battling for the starting job.
At linebacker, the Gamecocks will be reloading at all three positions after losing the majority of their experience last season. Slated to start at the two outside linebackers in 2006 are Marvin Sapp (5-11, 216, So.) and Cody Wells (5-11, 212, Jr.), who recorded 23 and 31 tackles, respectively, as back ups a year ago. Junior College transfer Jasper Brinkley (6-2, 250 Jr.) is the leading man at middle linebacker going into the fall camp.
In the defensive secondary, USC faces their biggest replacement challenge in finding someone to fill the shoes of All-American safety Ko Simpson, who left early for the NFL draft. Looking to replace Simpson is Brandon Isaac (6-2, 191, Sr.), who saw time at both safety and cornerback last season, recording 34 tackles and three pass deflections.
At cornerback, Fred Bennett (6-1, 199, Sr.) returns as the fourth starter from last season, and will likely be joined by Carlos Thomas (5-10, 174, So.). In 2005, Bennett recorded three interceptions and a team-high 10 broken up passes.
After losing their starting punter and place kicker in Josh Brown during the off-season, Spurrier's team will look to fill the openings with Ryan Succop (6-3, 214, So.), who will also be charged with fulfilling both kicking roles. Succop was called upon on kickoffs last season, and was 0-2 on field goal tries as Brown's understudy.
All-Time Series: 14-2-1
Stadium: Williams-Brice (80,250)
First Meeting: 1930, LSU 7,
Last Meeting: 2003, LSU 33,
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier, 7-5 at USC, 1 year
149-45-2 overall, 16 years
2005 in Review: 7-5, 5-3 SEC
Final '05 Ranking: Not ranked
Off. / Def. Systems: Multiple / Multiple
Returning Starters: 10; 6 offense, 4 defense,
Last Bowl Appearance: 2005
Last Conference Championship: 1969,
Total Offense: 315.9 (9th - SEC / 100th - NCAA)
Rushing Offense: 95.2 (11th - SEC / 108th - NCAA)
Passing Offense: 220.8 (5th - SEC / 64th - NCAA)
Scoring Offense: 23.7 (7th - SEC / 75th - NCAA)
Total Defense: 360.8 (10th - SEC / 47th - NCAA)
Rushing Defense: 174.2 (11th - SEC / 85th - NCAA)
Passing Defense: 186.5 (5th - SEC / 22nd - NCAA)
Scoring Defense: 23.2 (8th - SEC/ 40th - NCAA)
Turnover Margin: +2 (5th - SEC / 50th - NCAA)
Rushing: Mike Davis – 146 rushes, 666 yards, 5 TD
Passing: Blake Mitchell – 315-186-12, 2370 yards, 17 TD
Receiving: Sidney Rice – 70 catches, 1143 yards, 13 TD
Date Opponent '05 Result
S-16 Wofford ---
O-21 at Vanderbilt W, 35-28