South Carolina Gamecocks 2012 Football Preview

If Clowney gets it mentally this year, the sky could be the limit.
2011 Record: 11-2, 6-2 SEC
2011 Bowl: 30-13 W vs Nebraksa @ Capital One Bowl
Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Odds to win BCS: 35/1
Odds to win SEC: 11/1
Odds to win SEC East: 11/4

Betting Futures from Bovada


Connor Shaw emerged as a legitimate starter who is a dual threat after taking over following Stephen Garcia’s dismissal. He came up with huge performances against Clemson and Nebraska. He’s now entering his junior seasons and his speed will make him a great scrambler if things get dicey in the pocket. But he’s been encouraged to do so less, and keep his eyes down field. We’ll see how that adjustment takes hold.

Shaw’s running and the running of RB Marcus Lattimore, who is returning from knee surgery, should keep South Carolina at the top of the SEC’s rushing yardage, where they ranked 3rd last year with 192.1 yards per game. Former Gators coach Steve Spurrier has been leaning more and more on the running game, which differs from how he did back in his heyday in Florida. Last year, the Gamecocks ran 42.5 times per game, as Spurrier sought to utilize the team’s true strengths, rather than stick with a system which wouldn’t suit the team as well. Consequently, the Gamecocks’ passing ranked 95th in the nation with only 181.5 ypg.


Defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor are going to make the Gamecocks dangerous defensively. Clowney had a lot of trouble learning defensive schemes last season, but seems to have gained some understanding this year, and “got it” in spring, which could be a huge sign for the Gamecocks, as his talent alone should make him one of the best defensive ends in the SEC. He had 8 sacks last year as a true freshman.

South Carolina lost their leading tackler and outside linebacker Antonio Allen, but defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward replaced him with starting strong safety DeVonte Hollowman. Hollowman is a much bigger player, which should improve the blitzing and the aggression will strengthen the defense significantly, a defense which already ranked 3rd in the nation, giving up only 267.7 yards per game last year.

CB Stephon Gilmore went pro a year early, so that hurts. The other CB C.C. Whitlock is gone, too. Corner Akeem Auguste returns though ad he started 19 games over the two seasons prior to last year, when he was sidelined with a foot injury. D.J. Swearinger will start aside him at the other CB position.

Special Teams

The Gamecocks lose their punter and kicker from last season and are seeking to Patrick Fish or Mike Williamson to step in as punter. Adam Yates will be the kicker.

Bruce Ellington decided to play both football and basketball next year, for the second consecutive year, after playing only basketball as a freshman. His 20 kickoff returns prove his value to the special teams.


The Gamecocks have been a strong program now for the last couple years, with a 20-7 record over the last two seasons. It’s been long in coming for a patient fan base, and Spurrier is the reason why. The Gamecocks are a legit threat to win the SEC East Division, but need to protect home field in their first two home games against the Navy and Vandy. Then, when Auburn and Florida come later, the tone will have already been set.

The Georgia game will likely decide the division title.

Last year, their losses to Auburn and Arkansas kept them from making their second straight SEC championship game.

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