GBH: What is Steve Spurrier's legacy going to be at South Carolina? Is there still a lot that hasn't been written?
GABA: Steve Spurrier is perhaps the single most important figure in South Carolina football history, but I think his legacy will be defined by what happens after he retires. Did he establish South Carolina as an upper tier program, perennially attractive to top playing and coaching talent alike? Or will his time in Columbia represent a singular Golden Age, a reflection of his unique and peerless style? If it's going to be the former, South Carolina's got to fend of regression by nailing the eventual transition out of the Spurrier era. DO NOT ZOOK THIS, SOUTH CAROLINA.* But I think it's reasonable to assert that, for now, Spurrier has repositioned South Carolina as a destination and a contender in most regards. An SEC title would certainly fortify that claim and erode the most significant "Yeah, but even Spurrier couldn't ____" that looms over the program.
*Of course, even Ron Zook couldn't erase all the clout Spurrier brought to Gainseville. Florida remained a brand, and Urban Meyer parlayed that into rings.
GBH: Explain your hate for Clemson in 50 words or less.
GABA: Clemson University is not college. It's daycare for young adults. "Join your suburban high school friends for years of ultimate frisbee and Tigertown t-shirts at Camp Clemmy!" And damned if they'll let you forget that dominant rivalry win by that [TEAM WITH NO PLAYERS NOT ON CURRENT ROSTER] Clemson squad.
GBH: Cock jokes. Are there any that you have not heard or aren't horribly unoriginal at this point?
GABA: I'd like to think I've heard them all. Prove me wrong, folks!
GBH: If you could give one tip to Ags traveling to Columbia for the game, what would it be?
GABA: Make sure to spend a bit of time on campus. Our stadium is infamous for its location, which is a mile off campus and nestled amidst fairgrounds and some low-lying commercial sprawl. The past several years have seen the athletic department take great strides in beautifying the surrounding areas, but one could easily make it to and from the stadium without getting a taste for campus or Columbia proper. I'd recommend swinging up Assembly St. and getting into the guts of the University. Take a stroll around the Horseshoe, at least. It's not far from the State House, where I understand y'all will be yelling some junk or somethin'.
GBH: What kind of QB is Dylan Thompson? How is he similar to or different from Connor Shaw?
GABA: As has been written to death, Dylan Thompson is more of a pro style quarterback than Connor Shaw. But as Steve Spurrier likes to say, "Dylan can run a little bit." This is true, insofar as he has the locomotive ability to run. A little bit. He may get a designed draw or keep a zone read here and there, but Dylan's bailiwick is gunslingin'. Wide receiver Nick Jones mentioned Dylan's throws have more "pop" than Connor's. We'll probably see a few more picks than we did from our starter last season (this shouldn't be surprising, considering Shaw threw just one). But I get giddy thinking about how difficult a Dylan to (sub-4.3 runnin' wideout) Damiere Byrd go route could be to defend.
GBH: Can we expect to see a pretty heavy dose of the run game?
GABA: Probably—this whole "Mike Davis could miss the A&M game" is pretty much bunk—but also expect typical Spurrier theatrics. If he doesn't go deep on the opening drive, I'd check him for a pulse. But yes, running back is a position of depth. Keep an eye on redshirt freshman David Williams, who will likely get his first career touches next Thursday. In two years when he's garnering Heisman hype, you can be a David Williams hipster. "David Williams? Uh, yeah, I was big on him in 2014."
GBH: Who is a player to watch on the Gamecock defense?
GABA: Linebacker Skai Moore, and this should be a popular answer. As a true freshman last season, he became more visible as the year wore on, slowly assuaging the concerns fans had harbored early in the season regarding the linebacker position. Defensive coordinator Wammy Ward recently mentioned that he sees Skai as a potential three year guy.
GBH: We're all skipping out on work early on Thursday, right?
GABA: Not early enough, but yes.