We all want different things from the South Carolina football team this year. Some of it is unrealistic (a 15-0 season) and some of it, well, is a little more achievable (is a couple of games over .500 and a bowl appearance too much to ask?). Whatever the destination, there are several ways to get there, it seems.
So we asked our staff this question: what do you want to see this upcoming season that is unrelated to the team's final record, bowl destination, or potential championships? See what we thought and post yours/fight it out in the comments.
I would love to see this offense live up to the cautious offseason praise it's been getting and just explode onto the scene. It feels like it's been a while since South Carolina was truly competent on that side of the ball, minus a few skill players, and things look to be setting up nicely with a lot of returning young talent. Georgia's Jacob Eason has been hogging the SEC's spotlight for quarterbacks, especially in the East, and Jake Bentley seems unfairly overlooked at this point. Last but certainly not least, Will Muschamp has a (largely deserved) reputation for being a terrible offensive coach. It'd be poetic justice if he finally gets that breakthrough unit, and especially with an unheralded USC squad after the talent he had at Florida never got it together. A high-flying Gamecock offense would prove a lot of people wrong, myself very much included, and it'd be a blast to watch on multiple levels because of that.
As an honorable mention, I would love to see a throwback uniform at some point. The Muschamp era has been a high water mark when it comes to experimenting with different (and classic) combinations, and I'd say the Gamecocks are well past due for a true old school look.
I want to see Carolina absolutely kick someone’s ass. This isn’t a vengeance thing. I genuinely don’t care who’s ass the Cocks kick. The offense has been so abysmal the past two seasons that I think as fans, we deserve a game that is over by halftime.
In 2016 we beat a 3 win East Carolina by 5, a 2 win UMass by 6 and a 2 win, FCS Western Carolina by 13. I won’t mention a certain November 21st game in 2015. The last time Carolina beat an opponent by 4 scores was in November of 2014 when it beat South Alabama by 25. The last time the team beat a team by more than 30 was a month earlier in a 41-10 victory over Furman.
Who is the best candidate on the schedule for a blowout? Maybe Wofford, even though they are coming off a top ten FCS finish. Maybe Mizzou or Vandy. Honestly, who cares? I just want to see Carolina beat the dog crap out of someone.
I would absolutely love to see a top 4 finish in the SEC in sacks. Our defensive line has been atrocious at times ever since Clowney left, and multiple people are going to have to step up big time this year. South Carolina has a ten plus sack candidate in DJ Wonnum, and hopefully the sophomore can step up big time in the void left by Darius English.
Being able to get that stop on 3rd down with a sack is something that hasn't come very often over the last few years for USC. If the defensive line steps up and has a big year, it will go a long way in the chances of us winning more than 6 games. A sack on any down goes a very long way, and a pass rush is something we're in desperate need of this year.
Hopefully the BAW, DJ Wonnum, and Shamiek Blackshier (I may have spelled his name wrong) combination will lead to a big year sack production wise for the Gamecocks. Losing Arden Key to LSU in recruiting is hurting us very bad considering the production he's having there. If we can break the 30 mark in sacks this year, look for us to have a very good year.
I just want to beat Clemson.
I hate it when my inner irrational fan comes sprawling out and casts the forward-thinking journalist aside. I normally try to do my best in masking my fandom when it comes to writing articles for this site, but this is a wish list. So let me fan out here a little bit.
The five-year stretch of SC victories over Clemson was like snorting a line of high powered stimulants the length of the runway from Fast and Furious 6. Clemson Twitter trolls could fling all the insults they wanted, but during that glorious run the jabs disintegrated before they could reach my soul. For once, Gamecocks had the upperhand in the intrastate trolling and I would commit various illegalities to get that feeling back.
This desire has been made worse with Clemson’s recent success. All of a sudden the mountain which Clemson fans have perched themselves on has grown even higher -- so high the only thing that would make it better is if some way SC could knock down the side of that mountain to see Clemson pride fall off the top and splatter on the ground in a gory, beautiful mess.
I know beating Clemson has nothing to with SC’s standing within the SEC, but I’ll trade a .500 record in the SEC for having the Clemson Barstool account neutered for a year.
Am I ashamed? Not in the slightest.
I’d like to see a pair of things: a big step forward in the pass rush and marked improvement from Jake Bentley. As Bentley goes, this team goes for the most part, and while much of that is tied to the play of the offensive line, seeing if he’s been able to grown into his role over the offseason and develop the skillsets he needs to become a legitimate SEC quarterback. Granted, you kind of can win in the SEC without solid QB play, but it’s a lot easier to do so with it!