In addition to appearing on Finebaum to talk about the ‘Cocks, Seth Emerson ($$) also penned something about the state of the program in Columbia. It’s good stuff, although I don’t think there are any real surprising takes on Will Muschamp’s team right now. The talent level has slowly been rebuilt from the bare cupboard Spurrier left, although South Carolina isn’t recruiting at the same elite level Clemson and Georgia are, the offense and defense are far from the conference’s worst, and that schedule is absolutely brutal. All told, it’s easy to see why Seth is looking at a 7-5 season for them.
The thing is, seven wins is what Will Muschamp is basically good for as a head coach. He’s got seven seasons under his belt in the SEC. Five of those season have seen win totals ranging from four on the low side to seven; four of those, he’s tallied six or seven. It’s what he does.
Boom has had two breakout seasons, one at Florida and one at South Carolina. Not coincidentally, they’ve both come when his teams have notched their best turnover margins during his time in each place. Here’s the breakdown:
- 2011 (UF): 7-6; -12
- 2012 (UF): 11-2; +15
- 2013 (UF): 4-8; -2
- 2014 (UF): 6-5; +6
- 2016 (SC): 6-7; +7
- 2017 (SC): 9-4; +11
- 2018 (SC): 7-6; -5
In 2012 and 2017, turnover margin masked some real shortcomings with his teams’ offenses. In 2018, SC’s offense was actually pretty decent (as Seth notes, the ‘Cocks were sixth in the SEC in yards-per-play last season), but the negative turnover margin hurt. Jake Bentley threw 14 picks, tops in the conference.
Given the schedule, it’s hard to see how Muschamp’s team can expect much if it doesn’t get turnover margin into positive territory. If things stay in the hole, bowl eligibility may become a real question.
Remember how we speculated in the preseason about whether Boom would remain committed to his new hurry up offense if the going got a little tough? Well, guess what.
In the first half against Texas A&M last week, South Carolina’s running backs averaged 6.8 yards per carry. In the second half, those backs got a combined six carries.
That was not the plan, which is becoming something of a problem for the Gamecocks offense. South Carolina offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon called eight run plays that turned into pass plays because of the team’s new run-pass-option scheme in the second half of that 26-23 loss to the Aggies, head coach Will Muschamp said on his weekly “Carolina Calls” radio show.
“We’re calling runs and we feel like we’re running the football and we end up throwing the football,” Muschamp said…
That reality has convinced Muschamp to tinker with South Carolina’s offense during the open date. The Gamecocks will remove some of the passing options from their RPO scheme for the second half of the season, he said.
“We are looking at having more run-to-run and taking some tags off the RPOs,” he said. “We’re going to still do the RPOs, that’s been very good for us, but sometimes we’re getting too far away from the run game and not sticking with it.”
Either one of two things is happening here — either Bentley is doing a terrible job reading what opposing defenses are giving him on the RPOs, or Boom wants to play more Boom-style offense, regardless of what opposing defenses are giving South Carolina on the RPOs. I’ll leave it to you to choose which.
Today, in things that make you chuckle…
Better get those hotel rooms booked soon, ‘Cock fans. Avoid the rush and all.
If you had “Will Muschamp won’t stick with his new offensive scheme once adversity hits” in the 2018 SEC season’s predictions pool, collect your winnings.
Some of the issue came with the new emphasis on RPOs this season, which gives Jake Bentley the opportunity to run the ball or throw it if the defense gives him a better passing look.
Those could lead to more lopsided run and pass ratios (South Carolina threw it almost 50 times against Georgia) so Muschamp said the Gamecocks will be more cognizant moving forward about calling run plays.
“You’re calling a run, and based on a look, you’re throwing the football. We had some affective gains the other night throwing the football,” Muschamp said. “But you need to be able to call it and haul it at times and just run the football and know you want to hand the ball off regardless of what the look gives you.”
Yeah, never mind taking what a defense gives you, or that your best players on offense are your top three receivers and quarterback, just run the damned ball because… well, just because you can. You’re welcome, defensive coordinators left on SC’s schedule.
Today’s question: which is more futile, being Boom’s offensive coordinator or the genius’ defensive coordinator? It’s a tough call, methinks.
It’s only Tuesday and this is already turning out to be one entertaining game week.
He’s complaining about something he didn’t get that nobody else has gotten, either.
Kirby ought to send him a roster that contains 85 names, all linked by “OR”.
Of all the hills to die on if you’re a university president…
… backing Will Muschamp’s ignorant, hypocritical play is a weird one to pick.
And, yes, South Carolina has a journalism school. Why do you ask?