The Weekly GABAbag: Maiden Voyage!

JD's All-American dreadlocks - Kevin C. Cox

It's the Garnet and Black Attack weekly user mailbag. This week, we talk dreadlocks, Mortal Kombat, Ric Flair, and more!

A few days ago we hatched a plan to start a mailbag featuring reader-sourced questions. And you, fine readers, came through, peppering us with a variety of inquiries and reflections and scenarios pertaining to our beloved Gamecocks. Without further ado, here are my WILDLY unqualified responses. Please, comment with your own feedback. (Note: Some submissions edited for brevity/grammar.)

@Heisman4Clowney asks: "If you could go Mortal Kombat on any opposing SEC Head Coach, who would it be and what finishing move would you use? #Fatality

As with most males who came of age in the 90s, Mortal Kombat was key component of my maturation process. Did you know that the original Mortal Kombat was the first game to receive a Mature ESRB rating? Thankfully my parents cared not about such things, so I spent much of the 90s disemboweling, beheading, bifricating, dismembering, and pureeing various ninjas and cyborgs and hypersexualized female asskickers. Do I desire to administer similar acts of brutality to an SEC head coach? Absolutely not (unless threatened, which could only come to pass should I spawn a 5-star prospect and Saban gets that look in his eye.)

But we’re dealing in harmless hypotheticals, so I’ll go with Hugh Freeze by way of Sub-Zero’s Mortal Kombat 3 finisher, in which the assassin gorilla presses his victim, encases the body in an icy cocoon, then snaps the thing into a confetti of bones and viscera. This was my go-to finisher for wowing peers in mall arcades, mainly because of the relatively simple button combination required to initiate it. But why Hugh Freeze, a coach the Gamecocks have yet to face? Aside from the obvious rhetorical conformity "Freeze" and "Sub Zero" offer, the last thing the SEC needs is another powerhouse and Freeze is currently laying that foundation in Oxford. Time to squash the threat. In closing, MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!!

Heisman4Clowney also asks: "When a certain 'Habitual Capitalizer Of The First Letter Of every Word Of His Tweets' went down, what was your first reaction?"

H4C is referring to Mssr. Chadwick Kelly, Clemson 3rd string QB and All-World Twitterbro whose 2013 season is over before it started due to an ACL tear, suffered during Clemson’s Orange and White spring game. It’d be downright rotten of us to revel in Kelly or any player’s misfortune in this regard, especially since knee injuries significantly truncated Marcus Lattimore’s career at USC. We wish a speedy recovery for Chad and sincerely hope his rehab does not interfere with his tweet regimen.

@RubrChickens asks: "Going back at least five years you can add any former Gamecock player (in his prime) to the 2013 roster. Who would it be?"

Assuming this takes us back to the 2008 season, the logical selection would be a linebacker, since it’s our most inarguable position of need. To that end, I wouldn’t mind seeing Eric Norwood patrolling the grass behind our sure-to-be-beastly defensive line. (By the way, '08 was Norwood's final year at Carolina. Remember who played a reserve LB role that season? Shaq Wilson, whose final game was Jan. 1, 2013. Old timer!) A few others, off the top of my head: Ryan Succop, Alshon Jeffery, Kyle Nunn, Captain Munnerlyn, Antonio Allen, and for reasons of self-destructive nostalgia, Captain Brahsome. Leave your choice in the comments!

@Gamecock1998 asks: "How big a recruiter do you guys think Bryson Allen-Williams will be for the class of 2014 now that he’s committed?"

Crap, a real question. What do I do? Uh...go here and click play and when you hear JC Shurburtt talk, listen and you'll find your answer. But in the interest of not completely shirking my newly-assumed duty: BAW is vocal, gregarious, and makes the skills camp rounds. He seems to be one of the more visible Atlanta-area recruits, so one would imagine he’ll at least have some local influence. Am I sure? That's what it said on Ask Jeeves.

@duke_william says: "Not a question, but if we get Gameday this season, I’d like to see our celebrity picker be Richard ‘The Nature Boy’ Flair."

Absolutely. We must inform the nation that Darius Rucker isn’t the only prominent Gamecock fan. How cool would it be to see Ric Flair emerge from the College Gameday bus to the strains of "2001", wearing a sequined robe with a chesty valet on his arm? Woooo!

@jgunnels27 asks: "Does John Taylor+Michael Roth=Adam Westmoreland?"

If this is a question of mechanics and reliance on particular pitches and other such player breakdowns, I only wish that I had the time, patience, and scouting aptitude to adequately respond. If you are asking whether John Taylor and Michael Roth, combined, would equal Adam Westmoreland’s body mass, the answer is "almost".

Kevin asks: "With Gilmore leaving a year ago and Swearinger, Cunningham, Sanders and Wilson this year, do you think the trend of dreads is in danger? Who will carry the torch?"

Great question, Kevin. Indeed, the Dreadcocks (a nickname I’m retroactively bestowing on our recent wave of dreadlocked players) are dwindling in numbers. For instance, just look at our dreadlock depth as recently as 2011:

  • DJ Swearinger
  • Shaq Wilson
  • Sharrod Golightly
  • Marty Markett
  • Victor Hampton
  • Stephon Gilmore
  • Jadeveon Clowney
  • Nick Jones
  • Justice Cunningham
  • AJ Cann
  • Connor Shaw
  • Kenny Miles
  • Ace Sanders
  • DL Moore (He did have dreads prior to last season, didn't he?)
  • Damario Jeffery

And that doesn’t even include Latty’s impressive cornrows, Devin Taylor’s garnet scalp anemone things, and any number of less visible guys I'm probably forgetting. Of those players, only Clowney, Hampton, Cann, Golightly and Jones remain—Jones, by the way, bid his ‘locks adieu prior to the 2012 season. So where will that leave us in 2014? Clowney’s gone, we all know that. Hampton, a senior, is gone. Cann is a junior, but could declare after a strong enough year. Allowing for that, we’d only return Golightly in 2014. What about the up-and-comers?

In 2013, we signed 21 players. Judging only from 247Sports headshots, only Ali Groves and Gerald Turner sport anything resembling dreads. We’ve already received a commitment one potential Dreadcock for the 2014 cycle, Joe Blue. Other than Blue, 247’s Gamecock target list shows no other be-dreaded prospects. Coincidence, or a sign of a waning follicular trend? One has to wonder.

@TeamGarcia5 says: I wish football players had the equivalent of a baseball player's walkout song because [cat emoji.]

I guess the dilemma here is execution. Baseball players get an individualized spotlight when they walk to the plate (or, in the case of closers, trot out from the bullpen), so a preselected song is practical. In pro football and basketball, star players are individually introduced, but isn’t the same jock jam blaring the whole time? I guess the only viable opportunity for a football version of walkup music would be right after a player’s name is called over the PA. "Pass completed by Dylan Thompson (‘Goin’ up to that spirit in the sky! That’s where I’m gonna go when I die!’)" Better yet, why not during plays? Better not linger in the pocket much longer, Tajh, because those "Theme From Jaws" violin hits are getting quicker and OH GOD THERE’S CLOWNEY!

Chase asks: This would have to be during the UNC or Clemson game, but thoughts on a state pride uniform? Only a handful of states have flags that can inspire uniforms. I have really hated the digi-camo trials, so let's at least try to do something else. Solid blue with white letters and perhaps a large centered palmetto tree with smaller number on the upper left hand side...at worst it will inspire Spurrier for a "Hey Dabo, who’s THE university in South Carolina now?"

You’re definitely right about the widespread appreciation of our flag. A 2001 survey conducted by the North American Vexillogical Association determined our flag to be the 6th-best among US states. And as anyone who’s ever stepped into a souvenir shop within this state’s borders knows, the palmetto tree/crescent shape is already a valuable branding commodity and also a favorite for ankle tats and tramp stamps. General Moultrie would be honored.

Now, I don’t dislike the idea of incorporating the palmetto tree into an alternate uniform, which we sort of already did against Navy and perhaps others. But a complete color scheme switcheroo? That’s a bold suggestion! From a branding perspective, I imagine the university would frown upon the adoption of any look that isn’t garnet-based, no matter how temporary. But hey, if you want to get silly with it, what about a split helmet with the typical look on one half and then a totally blue half with the white symbols? They’d look pretty sharp on our players as they burst out of the tunnel and everyone over 40 suffers from cardiac arrest. I guess some men like to watch the world burn, don’t they Chase?

As for Spurrier, I can’t imagine he’d pay much heed to state pride superiority as it pertains to the uniform. In fact, I’m still not sure he knows much more about South Carolina than the route to and from work and the code to the private locker rooms at Kiawah. But he can commute from Gainesville for all I care, so long as we’re humming on all cylinders. The other thing to consider: if we wore state-specific duds and lost (or worse, were curbstomped), we’d be the laughing stock of college football. Our state’s national perception isn’t exactly glimmering, and such an unfortunate scenario would only fuel the fires of ridicule.

All that said, kudos to Chase for approaching the issue with bravado and a creative spirit. What are your thoughts, readers? Would a fully alternate, state-flag based uniform be OK for a game of particular standing? Any subtler ways we could infuse a lil’ state pride into the gameday threads?

GABA commenter CSlice asks: I fought tooth and nail to ensure my wedding was not during football season. How many awesome points do I get?

Scads of 'em! You're fighting the good fight, Slice. One of my lowest nights in recent memory involved the coincidence of a wedding and a Gamecock loss. The 2010 Kentucky game, no less. I spent most of the ceremony peeking at my phone, fending off elbow jabs from my girlfriend. Then it was off to the reception, where I sat alone at a round table muttering at the Scorecenter App as our lead evaporated. One of the bridesmaids was a Georgia fan, and celebrated in my face after the score went final. It's nights like that that give rise to that irrational, "WE WOULD HAVE WON IF I WAS WATCHING" line of thinking. Yeah, weddings on fall Saturdays should be outlawed.

***

And that's a wrap on our first GABAbag! If you're outraged, entertained, baffled, feel as though something went unsaid, or would like to correct a factual error of which there could be dozens, comment below.

If you missed your chance to get in on the fun, worry not, for next Thursday is but seven days away! Submit your questions/qualms/thoughts/etc. by tweeting @GABAttack or e-mailing them to GABAmailbag@gmail.com and we'll be sure to include them in next week's GABAbag.

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