Originally Posted by Spurticus
I'm convinced that the freshman Class of 2009 was the key to what
turned this program and the rivalry around, and in our favor. It goes (IMO)
beyond just the talent in that class. We've had talented Classes in the
past. I think we found a group of leaders in that class that pass on the
right kind of instructions to those that came behind them. ... I also think
very strongly that the core was the talented kids we pulled in from this
state. Stephon Gilmore, Devonte Holloman, Damario Jeffery, Alshon Jeffery,
DJ Swearinger, Justice Cunningham .... Grew up steeped in the rivalry, and
were highly recruited by both schools. Once they signed with SC, they knew
well about the Clemson/SC game and got busy putting their talent towards
making the Gamecocks the better school in the rivalry game. They
came from a time in SC football where a lot of their rivals in HS and
even some on their own team, went to Clemson, so there was an added
incentive to prove they were not only the better player in the State in
HS, but could take that to the next level against their rivals in college.
Whatever it was, I know it was that class that sparked the program, and
gave Spurrier a twinkle in his eye about play calling with a very deep and
very talented team.
I said for years when talking about the Clemson / Carolina rivalry that
in order for us to turn it around, SC would need to run off three / four
wins in a row, and I said at the time, that one of them would have to
be a "DECISIVE" win (by 25-30 points or more). We didn't get that major
blowout I thought we needed, but running off 5 in a row by double digit
margins, against the best team Clemson has put together since Danny
Ford and the 80s, was a HUGE Factor in SC's ability to change what
was in regards to the rivalry game from our standpoint. I really think it
was 80% mental most of those years. It took a run of 3-4 games and
all by more than 10 points to get the old way of approaching the game
out of the player's heads, and now they approach it as "we are the
better program in this rivalry and this state, and if you want to change
that...... better pack a lunch and plan on some overtime"
It would be ridiculous to say we will never lose again. .. .We will lose
a game at some point soon. But I would be willing to bet that we've
seen then end of those 3/1 -4/1 Clemson win ratios again. This rivalry
will become more of a rivalry from this point forward, and I think the
class of 2009 was the foundation of the turnaround.
I do think it is about mind set now. Ours and theirs. If you would have asked me two years ago when we went into the Valley with Thompson, I would have told you we had them beat before we even stepped onto the field. I truly believed that. There wasn't a question in my mind at home last year.
And now, as another date in the Valley approaches, I have no fear, nor trepidation. We believe, therefore we are. They have the clock, we need no such mind games, we just need to bring it.