Hey there Gamecock fans! Let's get down to business and talk about the latest gossip from the friendly confines of our USC campus.
Matthew Thomas has been granted (or will be within a very very short time) pretrial intervention and is set and enthusiastic about beginning his community service. He wants to do a good job, get it out of the way, and move on with his life at South Carolina. Let's hope Matthew has really learned his lesson and is ready to concentrate on the task at hand. That being his wide receiver duties, his studies, and him keeping himself out of trouble. Don't run with the wrong crowd Matthew! And don't backtalk the coaches - that's one you will always lose.
George Gause was not happy with the way he was forced to stay within certain 'creative limits' from his defensive end position last season. Truth be told he was very unhappy with having to do things during games in such a way that he felt he was being 'hog tied' and not allowed to use his pure athletism to make plays. But all that has changed. George sees this season and the new defense as a chance to show his stuff. He likes Jappy Oliver a lot and he likes being 'turned loose' to make plays in the backfield. Expect to see George given the greenlight to do damage in backfields - no holds barred. That means he will line it up and simply go on the snap of the ball. Look out SEC quarterbacks! His goal is ten, count'em 10, sacks this season!
Moe Thompson received a lot of attention last year and it was deserved. But Jason Capers was the one on fire until his injury forced him out of the lineup midway through the season. Capers intends to return to form early this year and he has in no way conceded a starting job to Thompson or Gause. We like hearing that because no matter how you line them up, any two of Gause, Thompson, Capers and Silas would appear to be a solid pair anchoring the ends of what could be a very good pass rush for the Gamecocks this season.
Look for the Gamecock coaches to place major emphasis on the big uglies this recruiting season. Word is that there are as many as a dozen scholarships being allocated to be split equally between offensive linemen and defensive linemen signees. And the coaches have the ones on the board to make this a very fruitful class in that respect. With Matt Raysor and Dorian Capers already early commitments/heavy leans, Dorrel Scott, Leon Hart, Bryan Bishop, Cory Lambert, Mack Frost, Phillip Merling and Corey Mills are just a few of the names wearing garnet and black targets on their chests. There are a dozen more so we should expect a class of trenchmen like few have ever witnessed signed this season if things go as planned. This next class could rival anything in the SEC.
Our track program could play a major role in our recruiting endeavors this season. We know of at least a half dozen major prospects on the board who are also looking for a program that offers a championship caliber track team to boot.
Josh Malloy is a monster - a big man that carries around a lot of weight. But his knee injuries have forced him to slow down and has limited his mobility and confidence. Two key elements to being a top-notch SC offensive lineman. Word is that Malloy may not be able to handle the rigors of SEC offensive line play for much longer. Whatever happens in the next fourteen months we wish Malloy well and will be keeping Josh in our thoughts. He is a good Gamecock.
Travis Lee nailed his most recent entrance exam. So much so that you know those NCAA flag bearers are going to run around him in circles claiming his jump was impossible. But Lee pulled it off on his own and like GamecockInsider.com reported way back in February, Lee tutored and studied hard to get his score up to a qualifying level. Our coaches are all over this and we should expect them to appeal now and get it out of the way rather than waiting to hear back with the inevitable from the boys and girls with nothing better to do in Indianapolis. Too bad that when it comes to the NCAA Clearing House and just about anything else NCAA related you are guilty until proven innocent.
Tray Rogers is going to be close when it comes to qualifying to enroll this season. The son of the legendary Gamecock Heisman Trophy Winner George Rogers, Tray has 'a ways to go' - so far in fact that the words JuCo and Prep are being mentioned more and more frequently. Whatever happens we hope that Tray remembers where his roots are and that one day soon we will see him wearing his family colors ..... Garnet and Black.
Last season Lou Holtz tied his mentor Woody Hayes on the All Time Wins list for college coaches. He did that seven games into the season. Who would've thunk it - he failed to pass Woody in the remaining five games? The big question now is, when he does pass Woody early this year - what next? Will that be enough for Lou? Stay tuned.
Ever wondered if Skip might be a better head coach than most have considered? One day, maybe sooner than you realize, we will find out. Is it a done deal? Maybe, maybe not. But in the meantime word is that Skip is one of the finest organizers and managers there is to be had anywhere. And for you fans that think head coaching is all about Xs and Os ... forgedda 'bout it. Head Coaches these days make their names by being great managers of their players and their staff. The best head coaches hire the best people to do the coaching and then they make sure it all gets done. Skip is a great assitant coach in his own right. But Coach Skip Holtz's forte is multitasking. Insiders say he is one of the best at making it all come together. And you want to know something else? He is a great recruiter and one of the strongest closers in the country. Maybe even better than his Dad. All of this is what you hope for in a head coach. The only question that remains is, can Skip motivate?
Who is the biggest slotback wide receiver that you have ever seen line it up away from the offensive line? Well, no matter how big he was you will see a bigger one line up in that position for the Gamecocks this season. Look out opposing DBs!
How fast is Demetrius Summers? Some say he is only 4.6 fast. But our insider sources tell us he consistently times in the low 4.5s. And better than that, is that with a football in his hands he has been known to outrun many a claimed 4.4 defensive back chasing him. So 'football speed' is what Mr. Summers has - no more need to worry about his legs.
Heard recently from someone who matters concerning Noah Whiteside. 'Maybe the best combination of speed, hands and vision we have seen in a long time. He has that knack for finding the opening and hitting it fast and hard. He will need to work on his overall strength when he arrives but he has playmaker potential and we are expecting great things from him.'
There is talk about stadium expansion. It is going to happen sooner or later. But what is the hold up? Our insider tells us that it may be Mike McGee's desire to let the next Athletic Director take the ball and run with future Billy-Brice getting bigger plans. So how many more years might Dr. Mike McGee stick around? Let's look at it this way. We know there will be no expansion begun this season. 2004 is the most logical time to start construction given the fact that we end the season on the road and demolition could begin immediately after the final home game against Tennessee - while we are away playing Florida and Clemson. So is McGee going to call it quits after this season or sometime during the 2004 season? We do not see him leaving midseason, so maybe he will set it up and leave it for his replacement to carry through to completion. Either way we are going to miss Mad Mike when he walks out of that office of his for the final time. That will be a sad day for all true Gamecock fans that recognize what this man has done for us.
Do you have a question for me? If you are an Insider and subscribe to GamecockInsider.com then fire away. Email me at Scoop@GamecockSports.com with your questions. I will do my best to get an answer for you. And if you will, if you don't mind that is ... include your first name and last initial and what town you are e-Mailing from. We like to keep it on the up-and-up. I'll use my sources to help keep you informed on the latest talk from around the USC watercooler.
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