GamecockNation posters that actually signed in included:
Bethelcock, Rudecock, Gamecocksfan1969, Ogerface, TeddyKohnCock, tomtomusc, Cocky2001, 2Cocky, Megacockfan, Batcock, Airbornecock, HartsvilleRedCock, GarnetThunder, Oceangrace24, Badcock, aug1956, Woodencock, usc4evr2001, VRCock, unicock, NaCockFan89, DieselBoatCock, USC2001jcb, shoelessjoecock, Charlestoncock, MeredithMercer, icecocked, uscboy, Mynok, gamecocksfan, roosterssis, and SilverDolphins.
These posters, along with their family and friends, combined to see one of the largest GamecockNation gatherings in recent history. A preview, if you will, to the 38,806 official record setting crowd.
By 11:00 am, most of the crowd was assembled. Old friends were quickly greeted and the newbies were given the traditional pickled okra and a shot of Fighting Cock to welcome them into the official fold of the GamecockNation tailgaters. Conversations revolved around the expectations of the new Spurrier era, prognostications for the quarterback slot, stadium rennovations, and of course, taters.
Plates were filled with bratwurst, hotdogs, potato salad, slaw, chips, baked beans, peach cobbler, banana pudding, brownies, and other homemade goodies as the Gamecock faithful managed to verbally correct absolutely every flaw known to USC football. (It is regretable that Coach Spurrier was otherwise engaged as he certainly would have benefitted from the free flow of expert opinion found under the GamecockNation tents.)
If you were not in this assembly, you missed a great opportunity to actually meet face-to-face with some of the posters you exchange props and barbs with on a daily basis. As a member of this incredible community, we certainly encourage you to join us in the future. Plans for tailgating events before and after each home game will be posted in the Roost, so there are no excuses for not stopping by.
As the crowd filed into the Williams-Brice, many were seeing the new paint and banners for the first time. Each of the four corners of the Brice bore huge garnet banners. They honored 1984 National Coach of the Year, Joe Morrison; 1980 Heisman Trophy Winner, George Rogers; 1986-87 All-American, Sterling Sharpe; and the 1969 ACC Championship team. The 38,806 record setting crowd roared as each of these honorees were presented hommage in the pre-game festivities. These changes were much needed and were perhaps the first tangible sign that the Gamecocks were under new leadership. Gamecock fans began the love affair with the Old Ball Coach that Gator fans enjoyed for years. Coach Spurrier is known for his direct manner of communication and those in attendance were not disappointed. Spurrier's comments regarding the fans' loyalty and what they deserve in the future saw a standing ovation response. This is going to be good and there was literally a rush of emotion in the Brice!
As the game got underway, fans were excited to see the ball aired out so often. Yet another clear indication that the Gamecocks' future will be considerably different than their past. Blake Mitchell and redshirt freshman, Antonio Heffner got the better part of the snaps though Mike Rathe did get a few reps as well. Rathe's status with the NCAA and his request for the elusive 6th year of eligiblity remains just that...elusive. One thing seemed certain, the Gamecock Offensive scheme just got bumped up a few notches and the complicity was a welcome sight.
The crowd went wild at halftime as the 2005 NIT Champion Gamecock Men's Basketball team was ushered onto the field. Carlos Powell was recognized as the NIT's Most Valuable Player. Renaldo Balkman engaged in an unannounced competition with 2004's Capital One Mascot of the Year; Cocky. Though the results were not conclusive, it appeared that Balkman took "best do" honors as the two entertained the crowd with their antics.
Gamecock fans everywhere were told in advance that the team they saw during the Garnet and Black game would not be the team they see in the September 1st opener. What we did get to see was a tantilizing taste of things to come. And it was good! As the fans left the stadium, the anticipation was electric. The roar of the crowd, the spine-tingling strains of 2001, the smoke-filled tunnel, the cheerleaders, the band, the sea of garnet and black, the talent-loaded 2005 squad of Gamecock athletes and the presence of Head Coach Steve Spurrier leaves the faithful with one big question ... Why not us? To which the ear splitting reply is heard ... GO COCKS!!!