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Now what for the Gamecocks: Part 2

On my ride home from that disastrous 23-10 loss to Missouri, I had some thoughts. Many of them are probably shared with you all. I have had 48 hours to stew on them, so here they are.

NCAA Football: Missouri at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

So, what now?

Enough has been said about the offense. It is a mess and something has to change. Shane Beamer is doing way too much right at South Carolina as a head coach for the offense to be what stands in the way of him being a success here. Yet here we are and it feels like the offense’s lack of production is a giant anchor attached to the program’s upward mobility 21 games into Shane Beamer’s tenure at South Carolina. Shane Beamer is going to be a really successful head coach at South Carolina, I fully believe that. He just has to fix the offense.

I wrote after the Georgia game, when the Gamecocks were 1-2, that the season would be decided when they would be 3-2 going into the Kentucky game. Well, here they are now at 5-3, and 2-1 in that stretch. Honestly, had you told me that in August, I would have signed up for that. However, that now feels underwhelming given that South Carolina beat Kentucky and Texas A&M. Saturday’s home loss to Missouri felt deflating. Saturday felt like a carbon copy of the 2007 loss to Vanderbilt in Columbia when Carolina was ranked #6 in the country and lost 17-6. Carolina now has to rally the troops ahead of a tricky road trip to Vanderbilt. I can promise this, Vanderbilt will not be afraid of South Carolina. I anticipate that game being very similar to the one on Saturday in terms of pace and difficulty. Carolina has to start faster than they did on Saturday as we know that this offense just isn’t built to play from 17 points behind.

Looking at the bigger picture, Saturday is probably South Carolina’s best chance to get to bowl eligibility. It is going to be the last game this season that they will be favored in. Florida is struggling but they got going a little bit on offense Saturday against Georgia in Jacksonville. That game is also in The Swamp where South Carolina has two wins all time against the Gators, and they will have revenge on their minds following the 40-17 thrashing in Columbia a year ago. Tennessee currently sits at #3 in the rankings and obviously will be heavily favored over the Gamecocks in Columbia. Carolina will close out the regular season with a trip to Clemson for the first time since 2018 to face the undefeated and 5th ranked Tigers. Carolina has to find a way to make sure that they leave Vanderbilt with a victory or else missing the postseason becomes very realistic.

Moving forward, it feels like the same issues for South Carolina since Steve Spurrier retired and Will Muschamp took over in Columbia. If Marcus Satterfield is fired at the end of the season, Carolina will have their fifth offensive coordinator since the start of the 2016 season. They simply cannot find consistent success on that side of the ball since Steve Spurrier left. I don’t know what the answer is, either. I do know this, however. South Carolina’s offensive talent is not matching their production.

Here are some other random thoughts that I have had since the Missouri game.

  • Is it time to give Luke Doty some playing time? I think it is, but I also think Rattler should still be the starter. Doty is another guy that is way too talented to be sitting on the bench every Saturday. We have seen what dual-threat quarterbacks can do, and with some of the struggles of the Carolina offensive line, Doty’s legs would be beneficial.
  • On the bright side, Nick Emmanwori might be the best defensive freshman player in the SEC. That guy constantly shows up around the football. He is a joy to watch.
  • The fans once again showed up to Williams Brice, created a great atmosphere, and had the rug pulled out from under them again. Outside of the A&M game, Carolina continues to start games with a great atmosphere at home very slowly. This time it was 17-0 Missouri before Carolina was able to sustain a drive. The game was basically over midway through the 2nd quarter.
  • The December signing day is approaching quickly. You have to give South Carolina’s staff a lot of credit on the recruiting front. The 2023 class is shaping up to be a very nice one with a *very* important recruit left out there waiting to commit. Given what South Carolina did last year in the transfer portal, I anticipate they will leave a few spots open in this recruiting class for some more additions that they see necessary.