Since we’re in the open week (which conveniently falls at the exact midpoint of the season), we can reflect on Will Muschamp’s first six games at the helm of the Gamecocks program and see that it’s been a fairly frustrating experience. Sure, they’re just OK defensively, but the offense has been a different story. It’s not 1999 bad - pretty much everything about that particular year stunk - but it’s still pretty poor.
The Gamecocks can’t score points.
Through six games, the Gamecocks have scored a grand total of 84 points and have averaged just 14 points a game. Only Buffalo has scored less points, and South Carolina’s 14 ppg is dead last in FBS. That’s pretty bad! They did score 20 against East Carolina, but that same Pirates team has allowed 54, 47 and 38 in their other three losses to Virginia Tech, UCF and South Florida, respectively. Even Muschamp’s 2013 team averaged 18.8 points (12th last in FBS). To be fair, this offense isn’t as bad as the one that scored just 87 in 1999, Lou Holtz’s first season, and Muschamp-led teams have always struggled in this area, but I kind of expected a little better here - perhaps I was a bit too optimistic.
Running game? What running game?
Through six games, the Gamecocks’ leading rusher is A.J. Turner with 300 yards. As a team, Carolina has 554. Twenty-five players in FBS have more rushing yards than the entire Gamecocks team. That 554 number? Sixth-worst in FBS. The 92.3 rushing yards per game? Only Georgia State (84.2) and Texas State (82.2) have less. Are you there, offensive line?
The passing game: Not horrible, but...just kind of there
To be fair, we knew that QB would be a gigantic question mark coming into the season. And it still is, partially due to the fact that their true freshman has shown flashes of talent, but is, well, still a freshman and hasn’t been able to show his full talent (see: offensive line play and conservative calls from the sideline), and their redshirt senior is too inconsistent to carry an offense by himself. Full marks for the two of them only throwing three picks between them, but that’s partially due to an offense that refuses to take risks. But this is a little tricky in that the guy you thought would be a #1 threat (for what it’s worth) hasn’t been able to get on the field, and the freshman WR you brought in this year still doesn’t look 100% after a knee injury suffered during his senior year of high school less than twelve months ago. In any event, if your longest completion is 42 yards and you’re averaging 11 yards a pop with just two touchdowns through the air, then you probably want to shake things up if you’re the offensive coordinator. By the way, what’s with Muschamp limiting Kurt Roper’s access to the media after games? Makes you think.
I suppose the good news is that the Gamecocks play UMass, and their 29.5 points allowed per game, out of the open week, but then again, this is a Gamecocks team that only managed to score 10 points against a Kentucky defense that gave up 42 to New Mexico State, so our optimism will have to be highly cautious. Still, as bad as the offense has been, things have to look up at some point, right?