In this new feature, each week Gamecock Anthem will break down three players to watch from the opposing team. This week, check out three East Carolina athletes that the Gamecocks need to hold in check Saturday night in the season opener.
Three Key ECU Players to Watch
QB Dominique Davis – 6-3, 210 - SR-1L - Lakeland, Fla.
Quite simply, Dominique Davis is the engine that makes the ECU offense go. The former Boston College quarterback transferred to ECU after a stint at Fort Scott CC and made an immediate impact on the Pirates offense. Dominique Davis closed the 2010 season ranked second in the nation in
points responsible for with an average of 21.4 per game (278 points in 13
contests), second only to Cam Newton. Davis led the country in completions per game (30.2) in the Pirates quick-strike offense. Davis was named the amed the Newcomer-of-the-Year by the Conference USA coaches when he set single-season school records in touchdown passes (37), attempts (609), completions (393), passing yards (3,967) and passing yards per game (305.2).
get their hands up and bat passes. South Carolina has length up front -- it will be needed. The name of the game to ECU is spreading the field and completing short, high-percentage passes. That makes it hard for even the best of offensive lines to get to the QB. Guys like Devin Taylor, Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles, who have some length will need to make an impact by tipping passes and making Davis uncomfortable.
WR Lance Lewis - 6-3, 209 - SR-1L - Concord, N.C.
Lance Lewis burst onto the scene last year in his first season at ECU after spending time at East Mississippi CC. Lewis, with his length, size and experience should again be the Pirates' biggest receiving threats. The All-Conference USA selection started all 13 games and finished with 89 receptions, 1,116 yards and a single-season East Carolina record 14 touchdowns. His catch and yard totals were the second most in a year in ECU history. While the "Mike Leach offense" that ECU runs is best known for its quick receivers, Lewis also brings a nice size element to the outside.
jam Lewis at the line and force him out of his routes. Offenses based on quick passes are thrown completely off if the receiver can't get into his route. Stephon Gilmore is likely bigger than the cornerbacks Lewis is used to seeing. The Pirates' offense is based on spreading the ball to all of the receivers, so slowing Lewis alone won't stop the Pirates offense. But he's the go-to guy so it would definitely help.
It seems strange listing a running back as a key player in an offense that passes as much as any in the country. Reggie Bullock hasn't even played a game at ECU either. But like any great offense, I've got a feeling ECU offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley will run the football if it's open. And Bullock could be the guy that makes an outstanding offense even more prolific. Bullock was the National Junior College Athletics Association's (NJCAA) leading rusher as a sophomore at Arizona Western CC) in 2010, picking up 1,830 yards in 12 contests. He also topped the NJCAA's national statistics in rushing yards per game (152.2 ypg), rushing touchdowns (20) and scoring (132 points/22 TDs). Bullock has won the race to start and was named the Conference USA's Preseason Newcomer-of-the-Year by two publications.
play smart. South Carolina has a d-line with the potential to be great. With the Pirates' quick passing attack, they'll be doing everything in their power to get to Davis. But they can't lose sight of the running back who will be handed the ball when the defense least expects it. They also have to make sure to continue to play their assignments and keep an eye on Bullock in the passing game as well.