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How South Carolina's next head coach can have the Gamecocks flying high again

South Carolina's next head coach must inject some much-needed excitement and buzz into a program that's gone from 11-2 to bowl-less in less than two years.

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Cockiness. Confidence. Swagger.

These days there are a number of terms use to describe the type of bravado and confidence winning breeds.

Somewhere between January 1, 2014 and now, this assuredness and the victories that come with it have seemed to elude South Carolina.

I won't delve into what ultimately caused the downfall of our beloved Gamecocks, but most seem to attribute the program's current state to a dip in recruiting efforts and poorly calculated coaching hires.

While most of us already have a wish list of candidates we'd like to see don the garnet and black, I've got a checklist of things I want, nay need, to see from our next coach to bring cockiness back to the Gamecocks.

Commitment to Commitments

Seems pretty obvious and most Gamecock fans would agree. X's and O's are important, but I'm ready to see stars.

Spurrier and Co. did well enough seemingly waiting for recruits to come to them, imagine the classes we could pull in with a staff hitting Florida and North Carolina even harder?

At some point an air of acceptance of the status quo seemed to creep into Columbia. The recruiting classes have continued to be amongst the Top 25 in the country, but the drive to be consistently among the Top 10 looks to have disappeared.

The best The Palmetto State has to offer should all at least have a South Carolina cap in front of them on signing day. Too often we've seen players like A.J. Green, Quinshad Davis and Mason Rudolph leave state lines without much of a fight from the Gamecocks.

Let the Stars Shine

Seeing Arden Key fly all over the field for LSU makes me wonder what kind of playing time he would've gotten had he ended up in Columbia.

Outside of a handful of players (Marcus Lattimore, Alshon Jeffery, Jadeveon Clowney), freshmen haven't seen a lot of the field during the Spurrier era - for whatever reason. One could make an argument for the program's player development initiative, but well, some of those players just haven't developed.

A bright spot of Shawn Elliott's tenure has been being able to see freshmen like Boosie Whitlow, D.J. Neal, Terry Googer and others get more significant in-game action. A trend among top-ranked teams seems to be redshirting players who need that extra year to develop, while getting potential playmakers on the field - and not all of these are Five Stars. They fill needs, they fit molds and make plays.

I'm not advocating pandering to potentially selfish players who demand action, but it's clear that early playing time can be a big factor in a prospect's decision.

Make the School Cool

TCU's #WeDemBoyz. UGA's #CommitToTheG. Heck, even Clemson's Bring Your Own Guts.

These programs understand the power of the slogan, marketability of a hashtag and critical importance of a digital presence. Our already-beloved Tom Herman has raised his profile through on-field success and off-the-field campaigns like H-Town Takeover. As obnoxious as they are, the Dabo dancing videos seem to be striking the right chords with recruits.

Off the top of your head, do you know what football team's hashtag is? The slogan of our athletic department? #WeCocky is the closest thing I can come up with, but I think that may just be among recruits.


I know these things won't automatically lead to gridiron success or a return to Atlanta. Alone, they're all bark and no bite. But across the college football landscape these appear to be some of the factors that launch non-traditional powers into the national conversation.

I know plenty will be disappointed if we don't end up with Herman, Smart or Fuente, but let's not forget that Jim McElwain and Hugh Freeze weren't the sexiest of hires at the time, but both have yielded early success for their respective schools.

Whether it's Tom Herman or Kirby Smart or even Dino Babers or Matt Campbell, whoever patrols the sidelines of Willy B in 2016 just needs to show me some of the above and I'll be a happy man.