When I asked Skip earlier tonight about how his offensive talent has improved over the years, he made an interesting observation. He told me that since they have been here only two offensive players have been drafted, and one of those is now a linebacker at Miami.
Skip Holtz really seemed to feel that he has big play personnel on his offense this year. He even made a comment along the lines of having watched other big time teams in the recent pass and he was so impressed with some of their big play "playmaking" offensive personnel. He believes we have those caliber players on the offensive side of the football this year.
When I asked about D'Von Hill Skip told me that D'Von was being moved up because of the injury to Andy Boyd. He said D'Von will be a receiving tight end but has not yet put on the weight to be much of a threat as a blocking tight end. I expounded about Hill having the advantage of having been here in the Spring and Skip said he would play, but at 220 pounds he would be a receiving tight end - especially since they would line up with two tight ends a lot during this season.
Someone asked Skip about Mathew Thomas and if he had suffered any ill effects of having missed Spring ball and Summer workouts. Skip stated emphatically that Thomas had worked hard on his own, had rededicated himself, and had reported in very very good shape. Skip also commented on something that let me know he is a lot like us - he looks back at old film. He said Thomas tends to take the easy catches for granted but he makes the more difficult catches. He harked back to Matt's freshman season. I admit to thinking the same thing every time I look back on Matt's freshman Georgia game and freshman Alabama game. Thomas is such a special talent - if he turns in on this year look out.
Skip told me that between Matthew Thomas, Troy Williamson and Taqiy Muhammad he felt like he had a playmaking group of wide receivers ... then he added the "young" running backs, Kenny Irons, Demetris Summers and Corey Boyd. He keeps talking a lot about Boyd and that leads me to believe that Boyd has surprised some of the coaches and is evidently quite a talent.
Make no mistake about it ... Summers, Boyd and Newton will see action on the offensive side of the ball this year. Now what I am about to say is strictly my opinion based upon an educated observation thus far:
Noah Whiteside and Derrick Harper will be redshirted this season if at all possible ... and with our upperclass talent at wide receiver it is most certainly possible and likely.
I asked Skip in a round-a-bout way about one QB being more prone to tuck the ball and run while the other QB was more prone to force a ball into coverage but at least he stays in the pocket and tries to make something happen. Skip is a smart guy - very intuitive. He picked up on the gist of my question. Basically what he said was the Pinkins is very athletic and has tons of talent ... but Rathe has better "pocket presence."
The reason I asked the question was because I have been hearing things ... and that is that while Rathe may force a ball every now and then at least he is reading the defenses and staying in the pocket long enough to try to make something happen through the air. That's important. Now, the more I tried to drive the point home with Skip the more he told me that Rathe often failed to read the hot route or receiver ... he even illustrated looking to the right but throwing to the left.
Skip added this ... and perhaps this was reading between the lines but I think Skip likes Swygert's fundemental understanding of the game better than either Rathe's or Pinkins' right now. And he even commented that Mitchell is going to be very very good one day. Anyway, back to the issue at hand.
Skip, in my humble opinion, will find a QB who can run the offense and get the job done - but we still do not have a QB on this team that can win a ballgame for us. I think that is probably okay - we just need a QB that will not lose a game for us. Again, IMHO Pinkins will start but fellow Gamecock fans, it could be anybody behind center two or three games into the season. Who knows.
Syvelle Newton must really be something special in the eyes of the coaches. He is not in the slot right now ... he is playing in Troy Williamson's X receiver spot. That should tell you what sort of speed and athletic ability Newton has.
Bowers is kicking off, Stellfox is his backup. Returning the ball will be either Matt Thomas, Troy Williamson or Chavez Donnings or any combination of the two IMHO. Summers and Boyd are also getting some work there from time to time.
Sunday's scrimmage is very very important. There will be more than one or two decisions made with regard to who will play where after Sunday's scrimmage. Here's the deal. During the last scrimmage it was 10 plays and out for everyone. This week, Sunday, a QB will get reps until he scores with his offense or is either shut down and forced to turnover possession. So if a QB wants more reps he simply needs to keep his drives alive.
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