The Latest Notes From Deep Within The Machine

Greetings once again Gamecock fans, The Scoopster here. I have plenty to share with you, even during these slow 'dark territory' times. Football season is just around the corner and there are plenty of hot topics to go around. But of course, as always, this is for premium subscribers only ...

Remember my last SCoop report? We talked about facility upgrades and stadium expansions. Well, I have more for you today.

It seems that the current regime is posturing for a quiet departure and smooth transition into a new command and control hierarchy within the next 36 months. Not always a popular topic to talk about publicly, it has now reached a point where we must realistically accept the inevitable. Dr. Mike McGee will not be here forever.

Here is how the story goes according to our sources. Dr. McGee has already decided when he will bow-out and hand over the reigns of the program to his successor. The exact time and date is a secret known only to a very privileged few. Yet, through sound deduction and carefully examining the circumstances we are able to reach a general conclusion. Here we go ...

Dr. McGee does not want to handle the next stadium expansion. He has done his part already and the next expansion will be handled by his successor. Our sources tell us that ideally, expansion and upgrade construction on Williams-Brice, will begin immediately following the November 6, 2004 home game against Arkansas. That would allow almost 11 months of demolition and construction time before the September 3, 2005 opener against Central Florida.

This expansion will not be just about adding more seats. This expansion will include amenity upgrades on a grand scale - rest room facilities tripled in size and improved upon in functionality. (Seems there has been a "backup" problem for years that they intend to rectify with the next upgrade.) And the concessions facilities will be greatly improved upon as well - made wider and deeper to accommodate more patrons and more and better (more diverse) menus in the future. In addition, it appears that the plan, the aesthetic architectural upgrades in particular, are to facade the outside of the overall structure giving it more of a coliseum feel inside and out while integrating the older with the newer to make one seemless and ageless facility for all times.

"It will rival anything anywhere in the country," according to one source we spoke with on the condition that they remain anonymous. "A mix of Texas Memorial and Doak Campbell ... but better."

When you look at pictures of Doak and Royal stadiums - look from the sides, not the endzone shots. Although our north endzone will receive a major facelift that will include a grand entrance - and the west side will be built to welcome fans coming from what will eventually be a Gamecock Sports Complex and Mall where the State Farmer's Market now stands if things go as planned. Williams-Brice will become the Grand Palace of all SEC stadiums.

So who will be "The Man" capable of stepping in Dr. McGee's sacred and supersized shoes and running with the ball? Our sources tell us that former Gamecock great and current Assistant AD Brad Edwards will get the job. He will take over while in his early forties and with luck and support could be the guy to take the Gamecocks to the next level. To Gamecock fans he should be considered the best of both worlds. He is a Mike McGee protegee' and will always have Dr. McGee's ear in times of need. And Brad is also a serious businessman who has made his bones by working his way up through the system - a true Gamecock to the core.

So where does all of this leave us? With Coach McGee not wanting to start something he does not plan on finishing, and with the construction start date set for NLT November 7, 2004, we must assume that Brad Edwards will be the new Athletic Director just in time to dig the first shovel full of dirt when the next major facility upgrade and expansion gets underway. It is as simple as that ... November 6 - Brad Edwards - major renovations that far exceed just a simple seat addition to the stadium. Oh, and one last thing. The mind set has changed in one interesting regard. There will now be enough seats added to put the stadium over 90k capacity with a target max of around 92k sitting and 95k when standing room only rules are in effect.

On To Other Things Of Interest

Our coaches believe we are going to have a pretty good season this year. This is not a season like last where Coach Holtz will tell you that he is not sure what he has for the first time in his career. Obviously he was telling us the truth last season - that team had very weird chemistry - and so did the coaching staff.

This season things seems to be settled well in advance and the necessary pieces are falling into place early to indicate this might be a fun season for Gamecock fans.

The one single biggest question?

The play and performance of the quarterback position. One or the other is going to step forward and be a leader - make good decisions - handle the pressure. Whichever one does, whichever current QB of the top two steps forward and leads his offense the best ... he is the one that will get the job. What I am saying here for those unable to read between the lines is, don't be surprised if what you are sure is going to happen does not happen. And none of us would be shocked to see a two QB system employed early and often.

During the Spring Game a lot of this year's Junior College transfers attended. Of those many were most impressed with Woodley Telfort and Freddy Saint Preux. We were too. Saint Preux is huge - a big, strong athlete who looks the part. And Telfort was a big boy too ... but he had some baby fat he needed to shed.

We are happy to report that just the other day Woodley Telfort reported in top physical condition. He has dropped somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 pounds since the Spring Game and reported to camp at under 300 pounds. Folks, that is impressive! Where many were of the opinion that he was penciled in to redshirt this season, his hard work has paid off and he is now an almost certainty to have a great shot at making the two deep on the offensive line this season.

Regis Edgerson is a freak of nature. He failed to workout with the rest of the team over the summer - and he skated when it came time to join his buddies down in Georgia working out as well. So how is it that he returned in better shape and stronger than when he departed in May? Some kids are naturals ... pushups and sit-ups and a run around the track are enough during the off season. Kids with Edgerson's physical makeup are rare - few and far between. Now the next question is, how far could Edgerson go if he got off of his lazy backside and worked out on a regular basis with the rest of the guys? There is no telling.

In the meantime Edgerson needs to make the transition from tailback to fullback as quickly and smoothly as possible. Dave Roberts is going to have his hands full - Edgerson has the physical tools but has lacked the intensity in the past. He needs the mean streak light to come on in his head in a hurry.

There is a much ballyhooed showdown on the horizon between Kenny Irons and Demetris Summers. Summers has been working out with his fellow Gamecocks in the bowels of Williams-Brice all summer long. He has gained muscle weight, gotten rid of baby fat, and taken time off of his forty. But Kenny Irons has not been sitting at home twiddling his fingers this summer.

Kenny has been in Georgia working-out under the demanding and watchful eye of his Dad all summer, (David Irons, Sr.), and it has paid off. Kenny reported back to campus last week 15 pounds heavier than he was during the Spring Game - faster and stronger. We're not sure which one will emerge at the top of the tailback heap once two-a-days begin, but we like seeing the competition and knowing that both Irons and Summers are capable.

Well anyway, it seems that Syvelle Newton is a trash talker extraordinaire. But leave it to the returning upperclassmen, Troy Williamson in particular, to put him in his place in a hurry. They are not going to let Newton get away with running his mouth - but we have to hand it to Newton, he's not afraid or intimidated. Still, Netwon is being schooled right now in the ways of keeping your mouth shut until you earn the right to talk trash. There is a serious group returning on this football team who is establishing the heirarchy and they want all the newbies to take note. In particular there is one room in the quad that Caddy Newton may want to swing wide around until he earns his first letter. That would be the fearsome foursome of Kenny Irons, Regis Edgerson, Taqiy Muhammad and Troy Williamson. Those four are the posse this season - and they want to do it as a unit both on and off the field - so they have decided to room together.

Who do you believe is the offensive lineman most likely to succeed after Travelle Wharton? If we asked who would you say? Jabari Levey? Kris Mick? Nashan Goddard or Jonathan Alston?

Well the answer is, none of the above. Oh sure, all of those just mentioned are studs. They are all guys who are good enough to be considered for all sorts of post season accolades. But the real star of the future? For the moment that appears to be Stephen Sene. He is the whole package. Keep an eye on him this season.

Okay, Strickland to start at Center, Mick to back him up. Goddard to start at right tackle. I hope that answers all the emails I have been getting about those three. And even I admit it got a little confusing there for awhile.

Ricardo Hurley is all grown up. He is no longer Little Ricky Hurley (Lucy fans understand) ... he is now Ricardo Le Pooma (Puma) Hurley. He is a shiney black stalking cat of a presence ... pure, quick, smooth muscle - and his eyes twinkle when he talks about hitting people. Something tells us he will be our first true sophomore All-SEC player by the end of this year. Laury and Hurley are going to push each other to lofty heights.

You've been waiting for the JuCo transfers to finally pay-off and contribute right away? It seems that it has all been a matter of playing the odds ... and the main ingredient (band for which Cuba Gooding, Sr. was the lead singer) this season has been in upgrading the level of JuCo talent taken. This year the coaches may have cranked one out of the park. Shropshire and Lawrence are already contributing of course. But as we mentioned before, just wait until you see Telfort and Saint Preux. Both of these guys will play this year and both of them will be with us for three years rather than two. That is big.

Mathew Thomas is still on track. I probably received more emails about him after my last SCoop report than any other. Our fans are the best and they love Thomas and want him to do well. Well then, I am happy to report that Thomas has almost completed his community service and is set to return to the team on a full time basis once Coach Holtz clears him to do so. He's a new man with a new mission and a renued focus.

While on the subject of Coach Holtz granting reprieves, Daccus Turman is waiting on a pardon from the Senior Holtz as well. Word is that he will get it, but with a caveat attached. Something along the lines of, 'don't find yourself in this situation again ... ever.' Right or wrong every player on the USC football team had better take note where these girls are concerned - patience is running thin in that regard.

There is more, but if I try to include it all in this SCoop report it will reach book length proportions. I'll save some for the next time.

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