GamecocksOnline: On the pitch, both Carolina sides continue to impress - Gamecock Men's Soccer Takes Down No. 7 New Mexico in 2-1 Overtime Thriller and Gamecock Women's Soccer Earns 3-0 Win Over Alabama. Shelley Smith's squad improves to 10-1-0 (4-0 SEC) and Mark Berson's men are now 2-0 in C-USA play (5-2-1 overall) with back-to-back take downs of top 10 opponents.
SECCountry: South Carolina Gamecocks: Unsung heroes from win over UCF. Alec Shirkey shines a well-deserved spotlight on Dante Sawyer and Mason Zandi; a great piece - wish I had thought of it. I will, however, remain perpetually dissatisfied by any praise heaped on USC assistants for sharing playcalling duties with the HBC - win, lose or draw! Call your own ball plays, Steve! Clearly our money isn't being spent on recruiting so do what we're paying you $4.5m to do, dadgummit!
The Big Spur: Knowledge of defense key in Holloman, Moore duo. T.J. to "Mike" and Skai back to "Sam" was inspired. And didn't we talk about this in the game thread comments -
Moore accused Holloman of stealing his interceptions after taking over the MIKE linebacker spot. "I was teasing him about that a little bit," Moore said. "As long as we get a W, I’m fine with him taking the picks. It’s all good."
GamecockToast: Sunday Morning Thoughts: It’s ‘Zo Time. This analysis is bleak:
The secondary remains a huge liability, and honestly, I don’t think the staff has any options or the talent to correct the issues this season, so I’d expect the corners to continue allowing huge cushions. I do think the return of Chris Lammon (injury) and freshman Rashad Fenton (suspension) will bolster a depleted secondary that has struggled to tackle and show the type of ball skills required at the FBS level.
The defensive backfield is "co-Defensive coordinator" [cough, cough] Whammy Ward's responsibility - a position he's coached for us for the past six years. He has sent Carolina DBs to the NFL and he's not stupid. Thus, the only logical explanation for this season's perpetual 10 yard cushion is that the staff has decided with this group that we'd rather be burned underneath than over the top - because we're going to get burned either way. Ugly. I say let them burn us over the top because (a) its get the D off the field faster and (b) they might miss more often on the long ball.
The State: Scouting the Gamecocks’ next opponent: The Missouri Tigers. At the end of the day, Mizzou has a good front 7 and a talented QB. The former is going to cause us problems if Wilds isn't back and Williams has another slow start toting the rock; as for the latter, Tiger QB Maty Mauk has been struggling - true - but he's plenty good enough to pick apart the USC DBs; surely he is chomping at the bit. We'll need our best effort from the secondary. Perhaps the biggest decider will be whether Mizzou's star RB Russell Hansbrough will be ready for more action - he was limited for the UK game.
Rock M Nation: None other than Bill C. publicly argues in favor of benching Mauk for Drew Lock. Clearly, Bill has let advanced stats cook his brain. If Carolina can help enshrine Grayson Lambert into the all-time NCAA record-book, then Gary Pinkel would be insane not to tote out Mauk against us to build up his confidence. Benching Mauk for the USC game at Faurot grades out as a "F / -" in my mind (Ed. - yes - that is a feeble attempt at advanced stats humor, but then does 'S&P+' and 'FEI' really lend itself to mirth? Advanced stats suck the very life out of a game fueled by passion, tradition and guts). Wait - I take that back. Put in the new guy who didn't beat us last year! It likely won't make a difference either way (unless we find some fire in our belly on pass-rush and coverage outside of the LBs).
Post & Courier: Freshman QB Lorenzo Nunez "had to win the game" for Gamecocks. He's likely going to have to do it again in his first road start in the other Columbia. Of course you could make an argument that Cooper won it for us after nearly giving it away - but then you'd be forgetting that hellacious block Nunez threw to spring Pharoh on the 29 yard TD run after the busted trick play.
Palmetto Recruiting: Former Mauldin star appearing on USC's radar and Harmon, Keita made USC officials over the weekend. It's hard for me to get excited about recruiting now because I'm convinced there will be a new staff, and that will put every commitment and every target up in the air. Since it's completely out of our hands as fans, all we can do is hope for the best.
Daily Gamecock: Sports Editor Will Helms files his post-game report - Second half surge propels Gamecocks past Knights.
SportstalkSC: Win gives Spurrier reason for optimism for rest of season. Now I am reassured.
Saturday Down South: QB Lorenzo Nunez’s first start better than most expected for Gamecocks.
Bleacher Report: I think Nunez's national stock is only going to continue to rise - Power Ranking the Top 25 College Football Freshmen of September.
Dawg Sports: Major kudos for Coach Richt and the University of Georgia for staying deeply involved with Southern WR Devon Gales after his spinal injury on Saturday - including a hospital visit by Richt along with flying in the young man's parents to Athens at UGA’s expense. The surgery was successful by all accounts.