“I told the guys, ‘Next year’s team, they’ll try to win 12, because 11 already happened.’”

Paul Myerberg’s South Carolina preview (#10, and, no, Georgia hasn’t shown up yet) is solid.  I especially like the way he sums up how Spurrier has his program settled:

What you love about South Carolina is its ability to tackle these issues. For one, the system should be so simplistic in its overall goals – move the football on the ground, avoid turnovers – that every lineman on the second tier should be able to step into a starting role and keep this offense clicking. As noted, the issues in the secondary can be offset by a healthy pass rush; there’s every reason to think that Clowney and Taylor are going to give U.S.C. one of the best edge-rushing tandems in college football. That’s how you fix the sort of issues that could be unfixable elsewhere: with coaching, for one, but also talent, and the latter is something U.S.C. continues to add every February.

When you have superlative talents like Lattimore and Clowney, you don’t need to complicate things.  Special teams look a little messy (gee, where have I heard that from?) and I’m not as convinced that Clowney and Taylor are going to cure whatever might ail the ‘Cocks secondary, mainly because it looks like this year’s slate of opponents possesses more formidable passing attacks than what South Carolina faced in 2011, but if Lattimore stays healthy, Myerberg’s conclusion that another 10-win season is in the works is a reasonable one.

38 Comments

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38 responses to ““I told the guys, ‘Next year’s team, they’ll try to win 12, because 11 already happened.’”

  1. Jrod1229

    Everyone says that Clowney will be a beast this year because he understands the playbook and is on the field more.. I look at it another way.. 4th quarter he’ll be tired from having played 3x more than he did last year. His numbers overall may improve but I’d be curious to watch his performance in the 4th year since he won’t be in just to run his ass off at the QB.

  2. X-Dawg

    It will be fun seeing SCar get Dawgraded.

  3. Say what you will, Clowney is a grown-a$$-man. He threw Murray around like a rag doll last year. We just need to out coach (and out hate) Spurrier.

    • Yeah, although I acknowledge that football fandom isn’t a rational art, I’m surprised so many of you seem to think Clowney is going to be a bust. Take the red-and-black glasses off, please. I know you’re probably shocked that such a player chose to play at USC, but Clowney has frequently been called a once-in-a-generation player, perhaps the best overall prospect of the past 25 years or so. He met expectations last year, which is saying something, considering how high they were and that DE prospects usually take a couple of years to make an impact. It would be a shocker to me if Clowney didn’t have 10+ sacks this season and plenty of game-changing plays, and 15-20 sacks and an All-American-type season is probably more likely.

      Our cornerback situation, on the other hand, is a different story. I think we’re in trouble back there. Vic Hampton is potentially nearly as good as Gilmore, but we’ve got Jimmy Legree starting opposite in place of Auguste, and I’m not sure Legree is capable of playing at the highest level. And heaven forbid if either of these two go down, because it might very well be walk-on time at that point. And as good as Clowney and Taylor are, no pass rush can make up for truly poor play in the secondary.

      • Governor Milledge

        I’m sorry, but at the same time you have to acknowledge you’ve sipped a little bit of the Kool-Aid with your prognostication. Julius Peppers had 15 sacks his sophomore season, leading CFB (and only being a 2nd team All-American), occurring in the mediocre ACC. To say that 15-20 sacks is “more likely” from Clowney is asinine, especially with the word being out about Clowney and not starting across from as top flight of a DE as last season.

        To things in perspective, Peppers only had 30.5 sacks over 3 seasons of play. Even with the additional game versus Peppers, to say that Clowney may not just match it, not simply exceed Peppers, but be “perhaps the best overall prospect of the past 25 years or so”…… step away from 5 Points very very slowly.

        • Come on, man. I really don’t think a reasonable observer would say I’m exaggerating here. Maybe he won’t get the 15-20 sacks, we’ll see, but it’s not just Gamecocks fans like me who have said that Clowney is one of the best overall prospects of the last 25 years. This has been repeatedly said by nearly every recruiting expert in the country. He’s considered to be nearly a lock for being a top-five pick in the 2014 draft, quite possibly the top pick overall. Obviously he has his whole career in front of him, so a lot could happen between now and then, but right now, there’s no reason that he won’t be a players on the level of Julius Peppers. If you want to stick your head in the sand and act like we’re crazy for thinking he’s so good, be my guest, but don’t say I didn’t warn you while you’re watching Clowney sling Murray all over the field…again. You would think that the fanbase of a team that watched Clowney go ballistic against their team IN HIS SECOND-EVER COLLEGE GAME would be able to see a bit more potential in the guy.

          And don’t sleep on Devin Taylor. Taylor was projected to be our DL star last year heading into the season, and Melvin Ingram got many of his sacks while Taylor was being double-teamed. Go back and watch. Taylor is just as good as Ingram was off the end, although he lacks Ingram’s versatility.

          • hailtogeorgia

            I think 15-20 is a little ambitious, but I don’t doubt that he’s going to be good. The kid’s a beast…I don’t think he’ll be ‘slinging Murray all over the field again’ though. You sound like Wilmy.

            • Since you’re effectively calling me a homer, I would respectfully suggest that any outsider observer would think that the skepticism towards Clowney expressed here comes across as much bigger homer-ism than anything I’ve said. Like I said, I think I’ve got solid ground to stand on when I’m saying that Clowney is going to have a great year.

              And while you might be right that Clowney won’t get 15-20 sacks on the year, I’m sure he’ll have some big plays against Georgia. Not saying we win, but Georgia isn’t going to shut Clowney down. No team will. That’s why he’s the player he is.

              • To give a comparison, you don’t see me harping on my blog about how all of your best players are going to bomb out this year. Give credit where credit is due. That’s all I’m saying.

                • hailtogeorgia

                  You mistook the way I meant the Wilmy statement. I meant that the choice of words used – ‘sling Murray all over the field again’ – sounded like Wilmy…I didn’t mean that I thought your expectation was because you were a homer. Again, I think 15-20 is a little ambitious, but I’m with you that the kid’s a gamechanger, and I agree with you that he’s going to live up to the hype again this year. I’m interested to see how he performs if they really do use him at linebacker, because I don’t think that’s very conducive to his skill set, but I could be wrong.

                  • OK. That’s fair enough. All I can say in my defense is that I find this conversation a little exasperating. It’s thoroughly bizarre to read people who are essentially saying that Clowney is all hype. But I guess I shouldn’t expect reason to govern a conversation in a blog’s comments section.

                    15-20 might be a little ambitious, but it’s certainly not out of the question with a player like Clowney. Again, he had half that many last season, when he played fewer downs than he will this year, was immature physically, and didn’t fully comprehend the playbook.

              • No question about Clowney being a great player, but he’s playing in a conference full of smart coaches and good players. He’s going to be getting a lot more attention this season. Not to say he’ll be shut down – he’s too good for that – but it’ll be important for the new DC to find ways to make effective adjustments for that.

                • That’s certainly fair enough. I would think that focusing too much energy on Clowney will be risky considering that South Carolina has some other good talents at DL and LB. However, you’re right; it’ll be up to the coaches to make sure the opponent pays for however it tries to compensate for Clowney, and to get Clowney himself into position to make plays.

                  • Appreciate the link today. I think I amuse tryptic. ;)

                    • The snark is strong with that one.

                      That said, I admire your ability to talk about the scheduling issue with a bit of balance. I can why Georgia fans would find it annoying that Spurrier harping on the schedule, and indeed it began to grate on my nerves long ago. Seems like he’s setting up an excuse in case we don’t make win the East. But I’ve also found it a bit disingenuous that so many Georgia fans act like they can’t see that you caught a break with expansion scheduling.

                    • Honestly, with regard to Spurrier, I don’t think it’s excuse making. It’s more like frustration. He knows he’s close to his last big goal – an SEC title at S. Carolina – and he also knows there’s not a very big window left for it.

                    • That makes sense, although I’ve disagreed with you before that the window is closing, other than in the sense that he won’t coach more than a few more years. That said, I’m afraid that it’s going to seem like excuse-making if he’s still talking about this towards the end of the year. Although, this will probably only remain an issue if the schedule really does make the difference, but I tend to agree with you that it might not end up making as big of a difference as many think.

                    • … other than in the sense that he won’t coach more than a few more years.

                      That’s how I mean it here.

                    • You’ve implied a few times that you think our chances are up once Lattimore and Clowney move on. Or perhaps I’m misreading you.

                    • That’s an overstatement. I don’t think SC is going to return to mediocrity after the two are gone. The OBC has recruited well enough of late to avoid that fate.

                      But the facts are these: in 2010, Carolina made it to the Dome with a nine-win season and despite winning two more games in 2011, failed to secure a return trip. The top of the East is getting congested again. Georgia appears to have caught a second wind. Florida may not have a head coach as good as Meyer or Spurrier, but Muschamp recruits too well to keep the Gators from returning to the land of double-digit wins.

                      Yes, there are five-star kids coming out of South Carolina high schools every year and the OBC is doing a better job of keeping them home. But even within that level, there are five-stars and then there are five-stars. There is only one player on SC’s roster who’s being discussed as a Heisman candidate and there’s only one player on the roster who’s a credible SEC DPOTY candidate. They’re special talents – as even you seem to regard Clowney – and those types of players aren’t easily replaced. (Don’t forget that Dabo may suck as a head coach, but he’s turning into a bodacious recruiter, so it’s getting harder for SC to get an uncontested shot at some of those five-star kids.)

                      The medium-term trends don’t favor Spurrier, IMO. On top of that, at some point on the recruiting trail, his age and longevity in the job are going to be used against him effectively. Spurrier’s not dumb; he knows he’s running against the clock as much as anyone. That’s why I think he’s frustrated about the scheduling issue.

                    • And I should note that I don’t necessarily think we’re done once the current cast is gone. This is, of course, assuming that Spurrier stays more than a couple more years.

  4. Gravidy

    I have some snark-free questions here for anyone who follows SC’s off-season happy talk more closely than I do: What are the realistic expectations for Lattimore’s recovery from knee surgery? Is he already at full speed in practice? Or is he expected to debut later in the season? For that matter, I have the same questions about Knile Davis.

    I ask because UGA’s history with recovery from knee surgeries has been spotty at times, and I’m wondering if there is any reason to assume Lattimore’s recovery will go any more smoothly – ar are they just hoping for the best?

    • Joe

      Depends on the nature of the injury. We’ve had guys scoped and back in 3-4 weeks, then there was Albert Hollis. I don’t know about Lattimore’s injury specifically, but it sure didn’t look very bad on film, so in the grand scheme of things, so 11 months may be doable. Just depends on the extent of the damage and what they needed to do to fix it.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Scoping is one thing. Usually involving clean up and cartilage. Not real invasive. Ligament surgery is a horse of a different color. They often refer to a torn knee ligament as an ACL regardless of which ligament it is. The lateral and medial collateral are the two ligaments on the outside of the knee. The ACL forms an X on the inside. Different types of injuries cause damage to these structures in different ways. Rehab back is dependent on which one and extensive and how quick they can repair it. Waiting is not always a good thing with partial tears because any frayed loose ends are changed by the body and not available to a future repair. Lattimore suffered a twisting injury to his ACL with body weight other than his own included in the injury. That’s not good. It will take awhile before he knows where that knee is in space without having to think it. Straight ahead he’ll be fine unless he gets stuffed at the line and wrestled to the ground. He is not gonna be slashing and burning right away. I think he gets back to 90% at best …. if he stays healthy.

        Hollis had a dislocated patella. Very painful. He also damaged a nerve during the dislocation which affect his foot and how he was able to move it. That he even ran around on football field post injury was a tribute to Georgia rehab team and the doctors.

        • The Lone Stranger

          Thanks. That was a nice thumbnail sketch of the architecture in there. Now I’ll be more informed when following rehabs/training info. Was Thomas Brown’s more of a scoping, then? I remember he bounced back fairly quickly if memory serves. But then again he is one tough nut.

    • Governor Milledge

      The basis in my mind has always been Kregg Lumpkin. Dynamic player, clear #1, then he tore his ACL and for the rest of his career was the clear #2 behind Thomas Brown (and #3 when Knowshon showed up).

      There’s way too much happy talk with Lattimore

    • Take this FWIW, but I follow practice reports pretty closely, and Lattimore has looked like his usual self so far, including in full contact. We’ll see what happens next Thursday, though.

  5. I’ve reached saturation on South Carolina posts. Pass along more of that dawg coolaide–preferably with some Samuel L. Jackson mixed in. ;)

  6. And Clowney and Taylor will stop the seas from rising….and Clowney and Taylor will bring peace to the mid-east…and Clowney and Taylor will add two inches to Stevie’s…….height.
    USC will be improved over last year. And so will UGA. Given last years results as a starting point, the outcome may very well depend on if SS still has a golden horseshoe up his ass. That game was a FLUKE! Georgia is going to be the team that comes out of the locker room with fire in their eyes for a change. It’s time to play with emotion and “payback” in mind.
    If the individual talent level of both teams is proportional to last years, UGA should have a good shot at winning this one. It’s always close, but so was Auburn/UGA until last year, which was payback time for ’10.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      UGA/Auburn game was a great game for Dawg fans. We threw the ball twice in the second half. Bobo placed a billboard on the sidelines at halftime with the message: “We are going to run the damn ball …. you try and stop us.” I believe we could have broke a scoring record on that Saturday. But then ” we are not those kind of men … it’s peace and quiet that we need to get back to work again.” TGIF!

  7. MGW

    I hope Lattimore’s 100% when we play them. I want to see the D stop Lattimore, not hobbled Lattimore. It hasn’t happened yet.

    • AusDawg85

      When we beat them, they will definitely claim Lattimore was less than 100%…after the fact of course. SOS brings that with him from gatorland.

      • A 90% Lattimore is still pretty good.

        • AthensHomerDawg

          a 90% Lattimore is a tentative Lattimore. He gets stuffed and wrestled to the ground at the LOS and he becomes an apprehensive Lattimore ….. Have you forgotten that UT,UF and UA got 58 yards total against our D? I sense some wrestling going on and some flashback to what just happened a year ago when Lattimore found himself all tied up.
          Bring it on.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Doesn’t matter… we aren’t scoring this on a curve.