The Gamecock Insider Report On The Game

A few tidbits to consider that may leave you with a different perspective of South Carolina's first game of the 2003 season ...

  1. Lou Holtz was not the least bit upset after the game - he seemed to be taking everything in stride. That leads us to believe that while he was not expecting such a close game, neither was he surprised. "First games scare the dickens out of me," he had said earlier in the week.
  2. An off the record comment from one of our coaches after the game paraphrased: This was the first game of the season for an offense with basically a new quarterback, new tailbacks, a new offensive line and only one returning starter at wide receiver. The coaches were not surprised nor were they particularly disappointed. The object is to get that first win out of the way no matter how you get it - then move on to game two.
  3. Lou Holtz's teams have a history of showing massive improvement from game one to game two ... normally. This team is custom made to show massive improvement because they are young and hungry and very very moldable. Throw Saturday night's game out of the window. You cannot use it to judge the value of this year's talent and/or potential. (Overhead tonight in the press box ... "Remember how the 1984 season started?")
  4. There were fifteen basic plays used by the offense all night. It may have seemed like more but there were fifteen basic plays used by the offense all night. That is what you call playing it close to the vest and not showing much. That is the definition of vanilla.
  5. We told you over the Summer to watch for Turner in the slot. Did you see it tonight and wasn't it great! In total the tight ends' numbers were called five times tonight. Turner caught three and dropped one. Brian Brownlee had a sure touchdown ball thrown over his head - it was uncatchable folks. Pinkins should have gotten that one down. The point of all this is that tonight the offense went to the tight end more in one game than they did in the final five games of the season last year.
  6. Demetris Summers finished the night as the All-Purpose yards leader with 75 total. His ribs will be iced down tonight and tomorrow and they plan on fitting him with a special flak vest in time for the game against Virginia. They will watch him closely for the next couple of days for clotting we were told - but he is expected to be back in time to get in the required practices in this week.
  7. Travelle Wharton's problems were muscle cramp related. He did not suffer a knee or ankle injury as some of the earlier reports were claiming.
  8. As we told you before the game in our pregame report - Daccus Turman was used in the tailback role more than he was in the fullback role. Saturday night the Gamecock coaches used four running backs, Irons, Turman, Summers and Boyd. Expect this trend to continue but expect to see Boyd eventually moved to the slot to work behind Muhammad and Newton.
  9. You are going to find as this season progresses that Louisiana-Lafayette was underrated. They are a good football team that will win their fair share of games this season. If Sparky Woods or Brad Scott had been coaching the same game tonight South Carolina would have lost. Instead, we noticed that no one pannicked, the thought never crossed a mind on the sidelines that South Carolina could lose the game. This was not a bad victory - this was a good victory.
  10. Marcus Lawrence and Jeremiah Garrison led the team in tackles. That is what you want out of your defense - you want your linebackers leading the team in tackles. It is especially a good sign when they go 1 and 2.
  11. No excuses - but this was basically an entirely new team on both sides of the ball. If you take into account the number of freshmen and JuCo transfers that started or contributed tonight it is completely understandable that the game was closer than anticipated - this team needed a game under their belts in order to come together. Marcus Lawrence, Darrel Shropshire, Freddy Saint-Preux, Woodly Telfort - all JuCo transfers that played big minutes who were not here last season. Brandon Schweitzer, Demetris Summers, Syvelle Newton, Ike Crofoot ... freshmen that played major roles - only one of them was here last season. Taqiy Muhammad - new position. Lance Laury out until late in the game. Kevin Caldwell, a walkon LB, starts the game and does well including making a key play that stopped a ULL drive. We expected too much out of this team for their first game.
  12. DO NOT FORGET THIS WAS A WIN! There are more major upsets on opening day than any other day of the season year after year. Half of all teams in America lost their openers this weekend. The other half won ... and the Gamecocks are in the good half.
  13. A little tidbit on the Clemson game. Tommy Sharpe and Charlie Whitehurst had a confrontation or two on the field. You have got to hear this. The reason Whitehurst was upset with Sharpe was of course the bumbled/fumbled snaps and exchanges. Why the fumbles? Why was Whitehurst having a difficult time holding onto the ball? Because Sharpe has a nervous disorder (sic Stan from South Park around girls) where he throws up uncontrollably. Sharpe was throwing up on the football before snapping it to Whitehurst and Whitehurst was understandably upset about that - it made the ball quite slick we hear. Sharpe also threw up on Tommy Bowden's leg today. (We tell you this to remind you that Gamecock fans have much to be thankful for today. You could be a Clemson fan - imagine that.)
  14. We are not completely sure that Daniel Weaver will be back this week. More on that one way or the other Sunday afternoon.
  15. We expect Lou Holtz is going to tell us Sunday morning/afternoon that after reviewing the film ULL's secondary defended very very well and that was the reason for some of the dropped passes. We're telling you, our fellow insiders, that we spoke with players and coaches after the game and they all praised the ULL defense as being very competitive particularly the ULL secondary.
  16. A very worthy ULL offense was held scoreless Saturday night by what is going to be a very good South Carolina defense. It was good to see Lance Laury in the game and delivering blows in the fourth quarter.
  17. We were told that the reason Mike Rathe did not play Saturday night was because Skip and Lou wanted to stick with Dondrial, allowing him to gain as much experience and confidence as possible before heading into the Virginia game. In our opinions this is going to prove to be a very very smart move - Pinkins got better and better as the game went along. We were told that early in the third quarter the light came on for Pinkins and he began making the correct reads and checking off with the right plays.
  18. Prepare for a season of playing the "hot back." One week it may be Summers and the next it may be Irons and the next it may be Turman. Prepare for a season of seeing them all and whichever one has the hot hand, that is the one that will play. That is not a bad thing. It would be nice however if fans would not constantly claim one back is better than the other and one back should be played over another. These coaches seem to think they have a feel for their stable and will use them accordingly.

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