Athlons predicts Lou and Crew to go somewhere in the range of 3-8 to 5-7. Many many others both locally, regionally and nationally have predicted South Carolina to notch 'another' losing season. There are common denominators in all of the talking heads' negative foretellings.
- An inexperienced quarterback! Funny how they base all of this on last year but at the same time refuse to recall (more memory problems) another inexperienced Junior by the name of Phil Petty who led USC to their first Outback Win in 2001.
- A new defensive scheme! Yet everyone agrees that the 3-5-5 or whatever it was simply wasn't working. The 'new one' can only be worse right? Talk about a glass half empty.
- A new defensive coordinator! Hey don't look now, maybe I should duck, but in my humble opinion South Carolina traded up in that category. Chris Cosh will prove to be a better defensive coordinator than Charlie Strong was, and everyone will know that three games into the season.
- A new offensive line! Maybe, to some degree. But the bottom line is that this Gamecock offensive line is much bigger, more talented, and not nearly as inexperienced as the cookie cutter rag-ests are peddling.
- Lou is leaving this year! How quickly that one came and went. Bad weather forced Coach Holtz to avoid the cookie cutter convention in Hoover, Alabama and they punished him by spreading their speculatory batter as far as the fans would listen. Max Howell said Holtz was gone. Paul Finebaum said Holtz was gone. Countless other sports news bureaus said it too, "HOLTZ IS GONE! HOLTZ IS SETTING UP TO LEAVE BEFORE THE SEASON STARTS! HE'S HANDING THE REIGNS OVER TO SKIP!" Remember?
- South Carolina is too small in size and too slow of foot! This one completely leaves us shaking our heads. When you hear a radio talk show host in Atlanta or Birmingham evoke this one, tilt your head back and belly laugh. When you see a writer write it, make note to cancel your subscription to that rag that very day. These people are liars and that is a simple matter of fact.
- South Carolina is lagging behind the SEC in the talent department! Again, same as the above about size and speed. These people, these sports writers and radio talk show hosts, have no clue so they are telling lies to fill space.
- Columbia, USC: It's a construction project! Hey listen. Maybe we could understand if some of them were saying 'reconstruction project' to some degree, but construction project it is not. And therein lies the major malfunction behind all of this cookie cutter naysaying.
Have you ever stopped to think that Lou Holtz may be the greatest college football coach to ever grace a sideline? With his first victory this season he will surpass his mentor Woody Hayes on the all-times win list ... and it took Woody two more years to do it while spending most of his career at one school, Ohio State. And if that is not enough to make you stop and think about the greatness of the head man in Williams-Brice, consider this. No other human being that has ever walked this earth can say they have guided four different programs to Top 20 final rankings. Which brings to mind the fact that Lou's lofty total wins record has come through rebuilding efforts everywhere he has ever been - an amazing feat. He could win a conference championship at South Carolina before he leaves, making him the first coach to win Conference Championships in three major D-1 conferences, the ACC, the SWC and possibly the SEC. Not to mention the MNC (Mythical National Championship) at Notre Dame.
The cookie cutters think this could be a tough year for the Gamecocks?
Let's talk tough binds. Lou Holtz takes over in 1999 after a 1-10 season and promptly goes 0-11, his first ever winless campaign. Everyone knows that story right? Famous coach comes in, everyone says he has lost his touch. He goes 0-11 with a team that did not have enough talent to compete in the ACC much less the SEC and worse, it was a team with a fragile mental state of mind thanks to the shortcomings of the previous coach.
Lou Holtz proceeds to turn the South Carolina program around, put together three solid recruiting classes in a row, (the last two being Top Tens), defeats Ohio State on New Years Day not once but twice, and along the way he turned the program's players and fans into winners by changing their collective mentality, by teaching them to think positively, by forcing them to raise their standards. Whew. It leaves you breathless.
Comparatively this season will be a cakewalk for Holtz and company. This 2003 football season shows the Gamecocks as loaded with young and moldable talent and a solid and experienced coaching staff. The team psyche is on the same page. The schedule is custom built for a big season. The players are familiar with Lou's system ... there will be no surprises. And two Top Ten recruiting classes have loaded these young but inexperienced Gamecocks; they are hungry and full of desire.
So why all the negativity from the many and so little hope from the few? Because South Carolina is South Carolina. It is easy for the lazy to go back, to reference that 21 game losing streak. It is easy to use the old cliche' descriptions and to tout the virtues of the traditional favorites in the league. Professionally trained sports writers for the most part are fainéant, slothful and forgetful people. They live pitiful lives and would prefer to drag others en masse' down to their level. Those of us that have been around for more than a few years can name them endlessly. Billy Reed in Lexington. Finebaum in Bama. Cedric what's-his-name the laugher in Spartanburg. Ron Morris at The State. Herman Helms before him. Bart Wright in Greenville and the list goes on and on. South Carolina's program has been a favorite target.
These sports journalists, they have to be reminded that most fans and almost all coaches are more knowledgeable than they, the people that are out there telling us how things should be or are going to be. Sports writers are the lower life forms of a seedy and often ill-informed media in the first place. Sports talk show hosts, especially those who try to lay claim to regional fame, are often worse because they feel it is their job to incite discontent and encourage anger and strife. Keep that in mind. Never take them seriously. Ex-QBs in Atlanta. Bald agitators behind mics in Birmingham. Comical preseason college football publications who do about as much homework before going to print as a Tennessee Volunteer or Ohio State football player does before taking a test. So why take them seriously? Why give them an ounce of your consideration? It is a waste.
This season will be a reminder of why Lou Holtz is who he is. The cookie cutter sports journalists need reminding every now and then. Without the reminders they will almost always take the easy road, the one most traveled. The one leading downhill so that their lazy walking is aided by gravity and their path clear and wide.
That's a road Coach Holtz has never walked and one which South Carolina fans are unfamiliar. It has always been an uphill climb for them, these two greats which were brought together by fate and are destined to forever be linked to at least one spectacular season. No wonder so few understand the potential of this season for the Gamecocks, especially those that claim to be the more well informed. They, those with the poison pens, will be reminded this season.
Thank you for investing in GamecockInsider.com - a place where no cookie cutters of any sort reside.