Who's ready for some 11 a.m. blackout football? Uhh, yeah us too. Spurrier's gone, but the Gamecocks are still playing football. We sat down to try to learn as much about them as possible through a series of
hastily-thrown-together thoughtful questions. Thanks to @JorgeBrosada for visiting with us!
We just faced two of the most iconic fanbases in the SEC: Alabama and Ole Miss. We may as well get to know South Carolina fans now that we are rivals, so what is the generic stereotype? Where do you all land on the BAMMER<----->BOAT SHOE spectrum we've recently been exposed to in consecutive games?
Like most deep south fanbases, we've got our share of preps and 'necks and Salt Lifers and slackjaws. But overall, we're a humble and proud bunch because what else can you be when you've dealt with a century of mostly uninspiring product. But "loyal" is the label most often assigned to Carolina fans—so many still bandy about that "sold out every game during winless season" line, despite it not exactly smacking of dignity.
But I think it all stems from the fact that South Carolina arguably leads the nation in per capita state pride, which often manifests itself in less than flattering forms but does lend itself to highly-pressurized levels of devotion to the two major programs in-state. While Gamecocks are generally a passionate but docile bunch, I will say that unprecedented 2010-2013 season, some fans got a lil' too showy. Which, I suppose, is a byproduct of winning. But it gave rise to a number of INSUFFERABLE parody accounts and hashtags that thankfully look ridiculous now.
First off, congrats on still being ahead of Mizzou in total offense in the SEC! What's been the main problem on that side of the ball this year? What will the Gamecocks do differently against A&M?
The answer is some combination of thin ranks, inexperience, and an increasingly apathetic ex-coach. We graduated a couple key receiving threats after last season, as well as an underrated passer in Dylan Thompson, an NFL caliber back in Mike Davis, and a couple chunky-ass linemen. So we basically brought back megastar Pharoh Cooper, titanic-but-unreliable tight end Jerell Adams, and a couple linemen. And ultimately, the replacements simply haven't gelled. Instability at quarterback has yielded three different starters, including a true freshman and a former walk-on. We've also played true freshmen on the line, at tight end, and at receiver. Our best RB (Brandon Wilds) can't stay healthy, our uber-hyped RB (David Williams) can't take the next step, and our lovable if not reliable veteran RB (Shon Carson) has been wildly inconsistent to the point of starting and then DNPing a few games later. Speaking of running plays, Steve Spurrier was content to call the same two plays (literally!) against Missouri. Shawn Elliott did mix things up a bit against Vandy, and it yielded a 100 yard rushing performance for Wilds. But Vandy's line ain't A&M's line. As to what they'll do differently: expect more I-formation and two back sets. Also, a few speed options developed well against Vanderbilt. May we be content with that and not tempt fate further with that silliness.
What percentage of your defense is Skai Moore? If the answer is less than 100, who else should we keep an eye on?
Skai's on track to lead the team in tackling for the third consecutive season, but keep an eye on defensive end Marquavius Lewis. A major JUCO recruit, he'd been fairly quiet early in the season but seems to be settling in. I wouldn't be surprised to hear his name called on Saturday. Also: Boosie Whitlow, the true freshman DE who's worked his way into the rotation and has a few highlights to his name. Also, his mom got mad at me for Photoshopping a beard on him. Other than that I'm not entirely sure we have any other defensive players.
What's the general mindset of the fanbase surrounding the departure of Steve Spurrier?
I think there's a general understanding that it was absolutely time. I don't know anyone who maintained he'd be around for 2016 after, say, the Georgia game. And while his resignation was startling, I didn't find it particularly surprising. Did we really think Steve Spurrier was going to hang around and take a series of spankings before crawling out to a podium in December and announcing he'd had enough? Nah son, there's still plenty of warm weather. I can't imagine how many holes of golf he's played since retiring two weeks ago. I'll put the over under at 200.
What is your stance on the "Spurrier quit on his team" take, in other words, why is it so wrong, lazy, and stupid?
Folks spouting "Spurrier quit" are right, but it's the "on his team" part that feels lazy. It would be better said that he quit "for his team", and also "for himself". Clemson fans, in a SHOCKING development, believe the Tigers were the primary motivator, since Spurrier retiring midseason meant he avoided a likely a loss to Clemson and maintained his 5-4 overall overall mark in that rivalry. (By the way, if South Carolina does lose to Clemson this November, there will at some point be official literature published by Clemson University that lists Spurrier's overall record against the Tigers at 5-5. This is not a prediction, it is a certainty.) But Spurrier said it best: he's a recruiting liability, and recruiting is the lifeblood of college football. If you and I knew Spurrier wouldn't be around much longer, surely the class of 2016, '17, '18, and '19 certainly knew it. Of course it wasn't a completely selfless gesture, but nothing is with HBC. Who cares? This is just one fan's perspective, but I don't feel the least bit slighted, and look forward to putting a little distance between this stank-ass couple years and the time when I'll remember HBC for that historical '10-'13 run.
What's your favorite Spurrier memory during his time at South Carolina?
This is kind of a copout, but it's his collective media presence. If I had a favorite one liner, it was his response to a journalist wondering why he likes to go for it on 4th down and goal situations instead of settle for field goals. "If you miss once, you still have seven points, and that's better than two field goals. [starts grinning] Seven is better than two threes. Did y'all know that? Seven's better than six?" And his post-practice interviews were sheer unscripted entertainment, akin to watching a late night monologue. It didn't really matter what questions were being asked. He'd ultimately answer the ones in his head, and the beats were merely his Ed McMahon or Andy Richter to playfully mock for asking a generic question or forgetting an obscure factoid from some game in 2006. For now, we have Shawn Elliott, who's a ball of enthusiasm but doesn't seem to be at ease in that environment quite yet. Here's hoping Spurrier finds his way in front of a camera, which evidence suggests may be in the works.