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Old 05-02-2014, 04:40 PM   #21
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

I think at least early on, we are going to have to outscore people. May even struggle all year in certain areas on defense.

You're right about the DE's though. Someone is going to have to step up and we have to stay away from injuries.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:51 PM   #22
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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Most Positive outcome from the Spring:

For me its the play of the defensive backs. While this group is lacking in numbers (and quite possibly talent), from what I can gather and from what I saw in the Spring Game I think this group played better than expected. Rico McWilliams looks like he is starting to round back into form pre-ACL, and has pretty much locked down one starting corner spot. Jamari Smith from all accounts made some strides now that he has finally settled into one position. Still needs some polish and game experience but I think he has the instincts and athletic ability to help this year possibly as a nickel. Brison Williams, physically, looks like a different player and has shown enough to the coaches that he will be relied on at Corner and his usual Boundary Safety spot. He actually looks like a defensive back now. He was getting a little heavy. I'm also encouraged with the return of TJ Gurley. I think this guy is the wildcard of the group. If he can stay healthy, I don't see how the coaching staff can keep him off the field, and it would allow the coaches to be flexible with Brison. From what I saw during the Spring Game, Kadetrix Marcus is playing as fast as I've ever seen him play. Probably due to experience. I don't think he has lived up to his 4 star billing so far but maybe this is the year he gets it going. We also saw Chris Moody get into the rotation some. I think he is an interesting prospect too. Seems like he has been here forever but he is only a RS Sophomore. I still think he is going to be a good one when its said and done. Can't really say too much about Chaz Elder. He has been solid ever since he got here. I think he is poised to be an All-Conference player. It will be interesting to see how Ali Groves does when he returns back from injury. Coaches think he has the ability but he hasn't been able to stay healthy since he has been here. Also curious to see what they do with Jasper Sasser long term. IMO, I think he is candidate to end up at WR before its all said and done given what we are losing after this year. Good athlete.

Add in the talented freshman group of Wesley Green, DJ Smith, Chris Lammons, Al Harris, and Darrin Smalls .. I think our defensive backfield is in good hands for a while. The more that I think about it, the less I am concerned about this year. If Williams (at Corner), Elder, Marcus/Gurley, and McWilliams are our starting backfield, I think we are in good hands. Then rotate in Jamari Smith and the freshmen at the nickel and for depth purposes and we could be working with something.


Most Concerning outcome from the Spring:

While its easy to point out Special Teams (particularly the punt unit), I'm going to go in another direction and I'm going to say Defensive Ends. I don't know how else to put it other than saying we are in trouble right now. We have ZERO pass rushers at the position. I'm rooting for Darius English just like everyone else but I'm just not seeing it right now especially from a guy that logged a good amount of snaps last year. Of course the weight is an issue that is being worked out but until he gains enough weight to be an every down player (if his body will even allow it), I don't think we can trust him. I think Gerald Dixon is going to be solid but I don't envision him being a player that other teams have to game plan for. After those guys its really a who's who. Are Cedric Cooper and Mason Harris going to get big enough? Given that they are both RS Jr's, probably not. Gerald Turner has pretty much disappeared. In theory, he would fit the new BOB Linebacker we have when we go to the 3-4 sets but I haven't heard anything about him practicing there. David Johnson has some big potential but is he going to grow into a DT? If he can control his weight, I think he is one of our better players at DE. Will Devin Washington's health even let him play? He has missed so much practice time.

Ontop of that, Dante Sawyer who would've been in the rotation Day 1 didn't qualify. Things have gone quiet with Dexter Wideman, but it doesn't seem like many think he will make it in. Last I heard, Jhaustin Thomas has to take an online course to qualify (how often has that worked out for USC). Luckily, USC got a steal with Blake McClain but, IMO, he is in the same mold as David Johnson. He might grow into an interior lineman.

So for a 4-2-5 team that has made a living rushing 4 and dropping 7 .. this is not a good situation to be in right now. There is a lot of "what ifs" and unknowns with this group. It also begs the question, given our success with defensive lineman, why are we in this position to begin with?


Prediction: Breakout Player of 2014:

Not many people have talked about it on the board but Pharoh Cooper had a big, big Spring. He is really coming along as a receiver and you can tell from looking at him that the weight room has been good to him. He is built like a brick house right now. Ideally, he is what your want your slot receiver to look like. His hands have been improving since he got here and it looks like he is past the learning stage of playing receiver in Coach Spurrier's offense and now playing on instincts. Its going to be hard to replace Bruce at the Z receiver, we all know that, but even Bruce was an unknown at one point when he was playing Wildcat QB. Pharoh seems to be following in the same path and in truth, could be an upgrade down the line. I'm willing to bet that Pharoh catches 30 balls minimum this year and will be our leading receiver the following 2 years. I don't expect him to play much Wildcat QB anymore now that he is dedicated to WR full time.


Player with the most to prove this season:

This one is easy, IMO. It's Dylan Thompson. I'm going to be honest, I'm worried about this guy. The reason being is that if you look at what has been our formula for winning the past 5 seasons, its been defense / big play on offense / and limiting turnovers. As much as us as a fanbase and even Coach Spurrier got onto Connor Shaw for running too much and holding onto the football, he didn't turn it over and give our defense short fields. Actually looking back on it, I think an argument could be made that the teams that Connor QB'ed might've been better suited for Dylan and that this year's team needs a Connor. Those teams the past couple of seasons had stellar defenses that could bail the offense out if it turned it over at midfield. I don't see that this year so I'm worried about the turnover margin.

If there is one thing Dylan has to do well above anything, its make smart decisions and do not turn the ball over. We know the guy is a gunslinger and we love that part about him (see ECU / UAB / Clemson 2012) .. He is going to hang in the pocket longer and make some throws that Connor couldn't or wouldn't risk making. He is also going to face more blitzes than I think Connor saw. I think its going to take a concentrated effort from Dylan and the offensive coaching staff to make sure we aren't in situations like 3rd & 12+ where Dylan has to make a throw into the teeth of a defense. If Coach Spurrier can balance his passing attack just enough to where we are playing ahead of the chains, I think Dylan can have some success. But if he starts facing a bunch of 3rd and longs against the defenses in this league, he is meat. Kind of how like things went with Mitchell and Smelley.

Its also worth noting that he is a 50% career passer. That can not be his completion % this year. He can't have those mechanical faults that have showed up (against Missouri for example) last year. He also has to protect himself when he scrambles or runs the QB draw. Given the inexperience behind him, we are in big trouble if he goes down. Finally, the one thing that absolutely frightens me about Dylan is that he isn't a spot starter or relief player. He is the guy and all the criticism, right or wrong, will be directed at him first. He is the guy that defensive coordinators are going to be scheming for every week. They are going to know his weaknesses. And on top of that, he is playing in some big time football environments this year. For a guy that Coach Spurrier admitted doesn't have a lot of live reps under his belt, its a cause for concern. Good things have got to happen and happen EARLY not only in the season but in the individual games or he is probably going to struggle. The last thing we need this year is a Quarterback carousel to start up again.

So while I'm being overly critical, I do think Dylan is going to have a good season. I think he makes the offense more explosive than Connor did. I think Coach Spurrier is going to have an easier time calling plays than he did with Connor. I think the players on the rest of the offense are going to feed off the opportunities that Dylan gives him by throwing it and giving them a chance to make a play. I'm just really cautious about what happened pre-Garcia/Shaw. Basically, the underlying point is, the offensive line better keep his jersey clean.
I have been concerned about our DLine since the end of the season and recruiting results panned out as they did. We had some guys who were going to come in and contribute get screwed by the process, but at least it wasn't USC admissions office fault this time. When someone made a thread about "What position are you most interested in seeing in the spring" I said DL, and it wasn't close. A few people immediately quoted me and said, "You meant DB, right?" No, DL is a concern if for no other reason that the fact that we have to change how we have historically done things there, which you touched on well C2.

I have said a few times in several different threads, I think we are going to have to get our pressure up the middle from dominant DT's or LB's with occasional Safety blitzes. Defensive Ends will probably end up focusing on containing the QB rolling out to the side or the run outside either tackle. It will be very different than the past 5 or so years, in my opinion.

DB I just always believed would pan out ok, and we have yet to see but I think most are feeling better after the Spring. If there is one place on your defense you can afford young talent, its DB, as the most has to happen for the offense to take advantage.

I think in general our offensive line has to play extremely well all year, or we are in trouble. If we can't run and pass with above average efficiency I am not sure our Defense can hold off many of these teams.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:02 PM   #23
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

As I thought before the spring drills and game, we may well have to rely on 2 or more DL packages and adjust them to the offense we're facing. Our depth may be our biggest strength. I would guess Dixon44 and D Johnson will be best against the run unless English can develop some good tricks to get off blocks and play upfield. I'm hoping Thomas comes in ready and can seal and pursue as well as rush. We won't have Clowney killing them from the backside and affecting their schemes, so I'm hoping the rotations we have at DT can hold, get a push, and command some double teams. The linebackers will have to show some stopping power and develop some savvy at handling fakes as well as pass rushing.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:24 PM   #24
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Default Some post-Spring superlatives

While I take issue with your suggestion last years D was superlative, I do agree that having Connor was a great benefit to the defense. Our run defense, particularly toward the end of the season ,was not good. It might have been average at best. However, other teams could not exploit it because we had a very good ball control offense. Connor running for third down and long conversions time and again will not reoccur with dillon at qb.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:54 PM   #25
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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While I take issue with your suggestion last years D was superlative, I do agree that having Connor was a great benefit to the defense. Our run defense, particularly toward the end of the season ,was not good. It might have been average at best. However, other teams could not exploit it because we had a very good ball control offense. Connor running for third down and long conversions time and again will not reoccur with dillon at qb.
Points. You're always spot on with your posts regardless of the topic. DL got weaker overall this year. I do hope someone(s) steps up and proves me wrong though. Our lbs will have to be our strength if we are to get to 11 again.
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:18 PM   #26
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

Sounds like most on here are nervous about the dline, as am I, but we all know Coach Whammy has been pretty masterful at adjusting to situations. We have to trust him and Deke to just take care of business coaching guys up and doing what it takes to make things work.
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:54 PM   #27
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

The way you guys seem to feel about your defensive backs coming out of spring is very similar to the way we feel about our linebackers.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:03 PM   #28
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

Yes, Dylan Thompson worries me.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:15 PM   #29
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

I see this defense creating a lot of turnovers. This should be one of the more athletic lb/secondary units USC has had under Spurrier.
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Old 05-03-2014, 12:34 AM   #30
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

Dylan hasnt looked the same since he went to that QB coach during the 2012 offseason. He holds tge ball ifferent and his release is different. I dont think he has the same power in it
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:31 AM   #31
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

We have the best online we ever have had. And we have a decent rb ha. Dylan is set up for a hell of a season. If he gets hurt all Mitch has to do is hand the ball mike. That's what Garcia did with latti. And latti had a lot worse o line.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:35 AM   #32
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

Garcia threw for 3,000 yards so he didn't just hand it off to Lattimore.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:42 PM   #33
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

Player with the most to prove this season:

This one is easy, IMO. It's Dylan Thompson. I'm going to be honest, I'm worried about this guy. The reason being is that if you look at what has been our formula for winning the past 5 seasons, its been defense / big play on offense / and limiting turnovers.

I just finished watching the Clemson game with DT under center, and I think we are going to feel the pain next year. We were spoiled with CS running the offense with minimal turnovers. DT was lucky not to have multiple turnovers in the Clemson game. There were many poorly thrown balls that should have been intercepted. If his decision making has not improved, I suggest picking up an extra six pack to get through the game. I hope that he has matured in decision making since that game.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:58 PM   #34
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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Player with the most to prove this season:

This one is easy, IMO. It's Dylan Thompson. I'm going to be honest, I'm worried about this guy. The reason being is that if you look at what has been our formula for winning the past 5 seasons, its been defense / big play on offense / and limiting turnovers.

I just finished watching the Clemson game with DT under center, and I think we are going to feel the pain next year. We were spoiled with CS running the offense with minimal turnovers. DT was lucky not to have multiple turnovers in the Clemson game. There were many poorly thrown balls that should have been intercepted. If his decision making has not improved, I suggest picking up an extra six pack to get through the game. I hope that he has matured in decision making since that game.
That was two years ago. He has improved since then.
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:19 PM   #35
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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I agree to an extent, but some QBs are not part of that idea. Look at your Jameis Winston's, and your Johnny Manziel's. That does not always apply to every single Quarterback.
True Freshman Christian Hackenberg did well for PSU as well.
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:47 PM   #36
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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True Freshman Christian Hackenberg did well for PSU as well.
I agree and I have watched Connor Mitch enough to know, he knows this system, his check downs are amazing. He can put the ball right where it needs to be, and he is a tad more athletic than Thompson when it comes to taking off and running. He is a pure pocket passer, but the best attribute any pocket passer can have after throwing power and accuracy, is the ability to see your check downs and put the ball in open space. He does this extremely well.
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:29 PM   #37
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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Garcia threw for 3,000 yards so he didn't just hand it off to Lattimore.
Right...he threw it to Jeffery
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:32 PM   #38
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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I agree and I have watched Connor Mitch enough to know, he knows this system, his check downs are amazing. He can put the ball right where it needs to be, and he is a tad more athletic than Thompson when it comes to taking off and running. He is a pure pocket passer, but the best attribute any pocket passer can have after throwing power and accuracy, is the ability to see your check downs and put the ball in open space. He does this extremely well.
Mitch isn't as quick as Thompson. I don't know what you mean by athletic. Thompson will certainly not be a scrambler, but he is quick enough to run zone read keepers and Qb draws. I don't know if he throws on the run, but I know he can get some yards with his feet. Nosovich is likely the run threat quarterback. I hope we get to use all 3 key backups in mop-up and change-of-pace, not from necessity.
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Old 05-03-2014, 09:58 PM   #39
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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Originally Posted by FanofCarolina1 View Post
That was two years ago. He has improved since then.
Looked like he regressed last year.
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:02 PM   #40
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Default Re: Some post-Spring superlatives

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Originally Posted by Gamecocks1137 View Post
I completely agree, to me the 2012 Dylan played much better than the 2013 Dylan. I am still scratching my head on that, as to why.
Dylan played very little in 2013. He also got blamed for our troubles in the 1st half vs Mizzou when in fact if M Davis hadn't fumbled twice near the goal line we would have put Mizzou away in the 1st half and Connor Shaw would not have had to play.
Do you think Connor Shaw could have won the Mizzou game if M Davis had fumbled twice while he was QB?
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