Anthem Roundtable: UAB

Gamecock Anthem returns the weekly feature "Anthem Roundtable" as we take a look at the UAB Blazers in this weekend's contest on FSN at 7:00 p.m.

The Anthem Roundtable is back this week with a look at the UAB Blazers. South Carolina went to the air last week behind backup quarterback Dylan Thompson while the Blazers had a bye week coming off a tough loss to Troy.

Today's roundtable features staff writer David Porter, Publisher Adam Garrett and guest bloggers Leftover Hot Dog and The Meat Locker Sports.

Please make sure you click their names and frequent their blogs too - you won't be disappointed.

We'll get started with this week's edition of The Anthem Roundtable...



Dylan Thompson stepped in and performed extremely well against East Carolina throwing for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Were you surprised by his performance and can he repeat it against UAB if he starts?


PORTER: I'm not surprised that Thompson threw the ball well, but I am surprised that he threw it that well. Thompson has the stuff to be a great quarterback, but just had to put it together. He definitely did that last week. I believe he is capable of another performance, but I'm not sure if he will. If Thompson gets the start, which is looking more and more like he will, then I expect another solid performance.

GARRETT: I knew the Gamecocks would focus on the passing game against ECU but was pleasantly surprised by Thompson's performance. We knew he had a great offseason and had the makeup of a solid quarterback but he looked like a season veteran on the field Saturday. His passes were precise, on time and had some zip behind them. I think Thompson gets the start this weekend and I'll think he'll repeat his similar performance from last week. The numbers may not be the same but I think we'll see another great outing from Thompson overall.

LOHD: Not sure I would label it as a surprise as we all knew he had the talent based off practices and his high school career. I do feel he can repeat it if Coach Spurrier allows it with the play-calling. UAB has a suspect secondary that Thompson has the potential to have a field day with.

MLS: After the criticism that was thrown in Dylan Thompson's direction last week on my behalf, my foot has appropriately been inserted into my mouth. Credit has to be given where it's due and Thompson came out of the gate slinging. Provided it was ECU and not an SEC opponent, Thompson really did a nice job leading the offense. A similar performance could be expected, should his number get called on Saturday. Thompson gained some much-needed confidence last week and should be capable of putting up some big numbers against UAB.

South Carolina's running game suffered against East Carolina's 3-4 defense. Should there be concern for the Gamecocks?


PORTER: It is cause for some concern, but I'm not too concerned right now. Marcus Lattimore is usually more effective later in the game after he has pounded the defense all game. He never really got that chance because they were throwing the ball so well. ECU seemed focused on taking away the running game at the expense of the passing game. If UAB takes a similar approach, we may see a lot of Thompson. I don't think they will and Lattimore and the running game should be better.

GARRETT: I wouldn't be too concerned. Last week's game, ECU came in focused to stop the run and it showed. However, it allowed for some prime matchups in the passing game and USC went with that. We know the Gamecocks can run the ball. They did it week one against Vanderbilt. Yes, it would have been nice from a statistical standpoint to see Lattimore go for over 100 yards so his name would be in the Heisman talk, but when the Gamecocks need the running game we know they can use it.

LOHD: No as the ECU game gave way for a strong passing game and that was the focal point. If USC wanted to pound the Pirates with the run, they could have but why do it when the offense is clicking via the pass.

MLS: Like last week, I still think the Gamecocks will attempt to unleash the rushing attack, while mixing it up with the passing game. After one week of not having success it's not quite time to hit the panic button. Expect the Gamecocks to still try and run the ball and with better success this week.

UAB was able to throw from 325 yards in the season opener against Troy. The Gamecocks allowed 333 yards to East Carolina. Will the Blazers be able to attack the secondary this weekend? Who needs to step up there game right now for the Gamecocks in the secondary?


PORTER: I'm not sure the Blazers will have the yardage that ECU had in the passing game. It's just a different offense. If UAB runs the type of offense Arkansas does, the Gamecock defensive line should have a field day with all the downfield routes. Victor Hampton has to step up. We have not heard much from Hampton this year.

GARRETT: ECU's offense relied on the pass heavily last week against USC. The offense is built on the quick pass and plenty of them. The key thing is the Gamecocks held the long plays in check. ECU had 4 catches go over 20 yards with the longest pass play being 34 yards. The defenders kept them in front and in turn, it kept ECU off the scoreboard. UAB had a big passing game against Troy in week one but USC has a much tougher secondary and should be able to minimize the big play. The player who needs to step up for me would be Devonte Holloman. He's been awfully quiet this year.

LOHD: Valid point and the one area that UAB could cause concern for USC. In saying that, I feel USC will do enough to limit the threat. To the question of who needs to step up, I feel DeVonte Holloman at Spur. Where has he been? Jimmy Legree, Vic Hampton, Swearinger and the linebackers have had a good start to the season. The entire secondary needs to play as a unit and not try to make a big play. Simply block, tackle and limit the threat.

MLS: After two games, our new-look secondary has gained some confidence and had some time to gel. UAB shouldn't pose as much of a threat to the secondary. The player that needs to step up is the player that has shined in his new role, Jimmy Legree. Legree has put together two impressive performances and that needs to continue as SEC play continues next week against Missouri. Another impressive performance for Legree puts him in great position to trust his play leading up to a stretch of very critical games.

With the Missouri game on the horizon, will the Gamecocks overlook this week's opponent and come out flat this weekend?


PORTER: That is a tough question. With the type of leadership on this team, I'd like to say no. I think the team will come out and take care of business early much like last week. I think this team realizes that each game is important and they can't take anyone for granted.

GARRETT: Back-to-back weeks of non-conference opponents who you are expected to beat easily could lull you into a mindset of going through the motions. I don't think you'll see that this weekend though especially on defense. Brad Lawing called out his younger players this week at practice for their lackluster effort against ECU. There should be plenty of opportunities for younger players to see the field and I'd expect the Gamecocks to be focused on this week's opponent and not look ahead.

LOHD: Let's hope not and I truly feel this will not be the case. The Gamecocks know they need to continue to take care of business and get the win.

MLS: The Gamecocks should be expected to come out with the same intensity that they did last week. Knowing that it's a similar opponent to ECU, they should be able to put some big numbers again and give the fans a show in the first night game at home. The level of concern shouldn't be something to be concerned this week. Expect lots of fireworks again this week.

A hot topic this week was the early exodus of the Gamecocks fans from the home opener. Is there anything that can be done, in your opinion, to keep the fans in the seats?


PORTER: As much as it would be nice to see the fans there the entire game, the truth of the matter is that it is their ticket and they paid for it. If they want to leave early they can. There's really not anything anyone can do about it except continue to plead for them to say. I do find it kind of strange that fans complain when Carolina struggles with a lesser opponent, but when they take care of business they leave early.

GARRETT: I'm not sure you can do anything to keep the fans in their seat. Obviously exciting, intense close games will do it but blowouts, heat and the party factor played into last week's exodus from Williams-Brice. As a fan, you'd think you would love the chance to watch a blowout win at your home stadium regardless of who the opponent might be.

LOHD: Not really as this has always been sort of an issue. In big games, the fans stay. In the heat, fans will exit in a blowout. Over time, it will be corrected but it takes continued winning to change the culture at USC. Big strides have taken place but still some work to be done.

MLS: The way that Coach Spurrier addressed the situation this week was perfect. He expressed his disappointment on the Steve Spurrier Show and also throughout the week. Coach Spurrier remains the face of the program and for him to openly express his displeasure with the empty seats, the message has been delivered. It's a night game, it won't be a scorcher and hopefully the tailgaters are nice and full on their beverages leading into the game. With coach making these statements, I would expect to see the crowd showing their respect and obliging the request.

Who has been a surprise player or two for you so far this season? Will there be any surprise players this weekend against UAB?


PORTER: Jimmy Legree is the easy pick for me. He has been tremendous through the first two games. The best way to tell that is that you haven't heard anyone asking when Auguste will be back. He's been very effective. Even though it's only been one game, Dylan Thompson was a pleasant surprise. Carolina went from one quarterback to two quality quarterbacks. I think Shaq Roland can be a surprise this week. He finally got in the groove with those two catches last week and we all saw how explosive he is to get open. I expect him to have a big catch or two this week.

GARRETT: Damiere Byrd and Jimmy Legree have been nice surprises so far this year. Byrd is leading the team in receiving yards and Legree has filled in greatly at cornerback for Akeem Auguste. As for a surprise this weekend, I think Chaz Sutton could see a lot of playing time at defensive end and have a nice game this weekend. There likely won't be the need to play Clowney and Taylor for too long this weekend so Sutton could end up logging a lot of snaps. He's the got speed and agility to get to the quarterback. On offense, I think K.J. Brent could see a few catches this weekend.

LOHD: I've been delighted to see Shaq Wilson start off this season in a solid way. He has been great and exactly what USC needed. Also Jimmy Legree has been a playmaker and the Gamecocks needed that. This weekend, I would love to see a wide out really step up and have a big game or a tight end. Last week was nice but still what to see the wide outs excel.

MLS: Jimmy Legree and Jerell Adams. Jimmy Legree firstly because he's never really shown in the past that he was ready to grasp a more involved role. He's always played a little scared. For him to come out and play the way he has in the first two games is a great indication of how well coached our defensive backs are. Akeem Auguste is going to have work to get back into the mix and challenge Legree for the playing time that was his heading into the season. The second player would be Jerell Adams and the lack of his involvement with the offense so far. We've all read and seen what this young talent was doing in practice. He got on the field last week, but in Thompson's 330-yards, none of them went in Adams favor. Hopefully Adams can get more looks and get more involved and help develop that dynamic tight end package that we've been anticipating.

Prediction?


PORTER: I think this is another game where Carolina takes care of business early and cruises in the end. Gamecocks win 38-7

GARRETT: South Carolina wins this one 45-13 over UAB with another big offensive day and the defense creates a few turnovers themselves.

LOHD: The Gamecocks cruise to a win with a 37-10 win.

MLS: 37-10. Lattimore gets more involved and helps lead a balanced offensive attack. The defense will remain hungry and will do a nice job of "protecting the house."

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