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Old 05-13-2014, 06:43 AM   #1
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Default CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

I'd like to hear some of your thoughts about what you think changed the
rivalry.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I'm a "BLACK & WHITE" kind of guy myself. I remember on this board in 2008
when we were talking about what it would take to "Turn The Corner" or
get to a point where we were competitive in the Rivalry game with Clemson.
Ideas were thrown out (all of which had been discussed for years) with no
real solutions ever being produced up until that time. ..... My opinion at that
time was that in order for South Carolina to start winning in the Rivalry
game, we would have to put together a string of wins (more than 2) and
(I thought) one of those wins would have to be DECISIVE ! ... meaning
a blowout, or more than a 3-4 TD margin. .. My opinion then was that
the game was basically a "head" thing with us. Most of the kids playing
grew up in the State of SC and had been saturated with the annual
game, and had taken sides in it, and were surrounded by family members
who were passionate in their loyalty to one of the teams. .. With that,
the majority of the teams knew where their team stood and with SC, it
was that they had grown up knowing of the one sided record towards
Clemson, and the pressure that was on the Gamecocks to try to change
that.....then they became members of the Garnet and Black, and it was
partly their responsibility to correct the situation. I think at points in the
game up until the 2009 and 2010 wins, every time something went wrong
in the game, almost collectively the team subconsciously went "OH NO,
HERE WE GO AGAIN". ....

Five Years Later:
For whatever it was starting in 2009, South Carolina has shaken that
"funk". I really did feel like a string of victories in our favor was essential
to getting our team feeling like we were better than Clemson going into the
game. We got that string of wins. We've yet to Blow Clemson out (for a
single game anyway), but winning five in a row by a Double Digit margin
of victory has (IMO) served the same purpose as a Blowout win. We just
graduated / completed the year were there should be no single player
who was around when we won the game in 2009. A full class who began
the streak is now gone, yet all the talk surrounding the program is about
OUR recent dominance, and OUR taking over the rivalry now. The class
of 2009 has changed the rivalry for SC, like no other in the history of the
program. We go into the game now feeling like we will win, instead of
Hoping we Can win. We've stopped hoping that this will be the year we'll
win that second game in a row to almost feeling like We Will Not Lose Again.

What do you guys think was the "X" factor in the change ?
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

It seemed like Spurrier started putting more of an emphasis on game and the other coaches and players fed off it. HBC obviously has a way of getting into people's heads.
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

The one BIG thing that has come out of the win streak, and is a REALLY
HUGE fly in the ointment for the Tiger fans when looking down the road:

We just dominated Clemson's best team they've put together since the
late 70s / early 80s. Talentwise, they were at a 40 year peak, and had
the athletes on that 2010-2013 class that were better (IMHO) than their
1980 class. ... Boyd, Hopkins, Watkins, Ford, A. Ellington, etc..... yet at
no point did that talent, speed and ability challenge the Gamecocks and
look like they were going to beat us. Our House, Their House ... made no
difference.

THAT is a BIG PLUS !
It shows not only how fast we've been able to assemble a team that has
both the talent AND the mental part of the game to take over the rivalry,
but proves that we've done it so quickly that we were not only able to
match them, WE'VE PASSED THEM AND PUT THEM IN THE REAR VIEW
MIRROR !

2012 Was BIG for South Carolina in that streak. ... I really feel like that
was their best team EVER (at least in my lifetime). Speed, Skill, Athleticism...
they were LOADED... they were playing in their stadium, we went into the
game with a backup QB, RB and left Tackle. Clowney was about 80%
after dealing with a foot injury and we still controlled that game from
start to finish. That was proof to me that we had taken over and at that
point, I think our team now feels like we own the rivalry and can win
under any circumstances.
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

Ironically, it is Clemson's players and Coaches who now have to deal with the psychological effects of losing. Spurrier has climbed so far up into Swinney's head its comical. Now they have "the clock". The pressure mounts every year, squeezing them like a grape, and I don't see them having the team to turn the corner this year either.
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

Spurrier has taken to creating his best game plans for the taters. Many claim his offense is predictable. Well, it's not against Clemson. In fact, he seems to dial up a number of looks that seem predictable, only to yank the rug out from under them.

I love it. If it becomes six, seven will easily happen.
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:38 AM   #6
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

I think it was inevitable that we passed Clemson. The SEC advantages (recruiting, facilities, coaching talent, and passion) just continue to give us an annual edge. We get to play huge games all year, while Clemson is stuck playing yawner games like Duke, Wake, or BC. The Clemson opponent fan bases are less vocal, smaller, and mostly distracted by other interests. The SEC fans are wilder and louder, and are exciting.

The best high school players naturally gravitate to the SEC. Thus, we are winning the SC recruiting year after year. Clemson's demise was inevitable.
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:44 AM   #7
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Default CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

We've gotten in their heads. We play at a higher level week in and week out. We coach with real coaches. We win.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

I think getting that string of top recruits in the state was the key. They were used winning and brought that mentality to Carolina. Instead of looking at past games and records against our opponents, they came in thinking I'm gonna play my game and that was infectious, creating that expectation of being competitive.

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Old 05-13-2014, 08:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yearofthegamecock View Post
I think getting that string of top recruits in the state was the key. They were used winning and brought that mentality to Carolina. Instead of looking at past games and records against our opponents, they came in thinking I'm gonna play my game and that was infectious, creating that expectation of being competitive.

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I think everyone so far is touching on all the little things that eventually
came together and played a part in the "change", but what Yearof just
said here I THINK is also a big factor.

Before 2009 (and it was addressed by Holtz a few times in the media),
is that our younger players (freshmen / Sophs) were actually more talented
and athletic than the Juniors / seniors on some of his teams.... THAT
made for an atmosphere of content as the older guys didn't like "taking
advice or commands" from the more talented younger players. It bred
a locker room full of split feelings. I remember Ryan Brewer talking about
it on one of the talk shows a few years ago too. It was a by product of
Holtz getting some of the better players in the state, and some other
states, that weren't blending well with the experienced "average" players
we had on the team.

That class of 2009 I think changed all of that, and gave us some young
players that demanded the role of leaders by default. Stephon Gilmore,
DeVonte Holloman, DJ Swearinger etc... They grew as leaders early,
set up a program of leaders and left the program in better shape when
they were gone.... when you think of the leaders of our teams since
2009, you understand why that class was HUGE in getting the ball rolling.
Not only for the rivalry, but in the rest of our schedule as well. After 2009
you had LEADERS like Lattimore, Cunningham, Ingram, Swearinger, Shaw,
Thompson, Ellington etc.... It was the beginning of our success and the
start of a new Carolina
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

Quote:
Originally Posted by yazoo View Post
I think it was inevitable that we passed Clemson. The SEC advantages (recruiting, facilities, coaching talent, and passion) just continue to give us an annual edge. We get to play huge games all year, while Clemson is stuck playing yawner games like Duke, Wake, or BC. The Clemson opponent fan bases are less vocal, smaller, and mostly distracted by other interests. The SEC fans are wilder and louder, and are exciting.
I agree in technicolor.

Two things stand out...
-Our speed and athleticism on defense, especially our DL has pretty much dominated CU the past 5 years. 2011 was especially brutal...our DL was unstoppable in that game.

-Playing in the bigger venues really showed out...not taking anything away from our guys, but some of the CU players really choked on the big stage. Coaching may have played a big part in this.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:56 AM   #11
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

Better coaches and the SEC makes the difference. We go into that Game "Battle Tested". The cupcake schedule that Clemson plays in the ACC, does not prepare them or their coaching staff for our game
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:57 AM   #12
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

I'd be interested to see a breakdown of in state top performers for each school. Does SC have more home state stars to whom the game means more?
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:06 AM   #13
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

The X factor IMO..Recruiting. Marcus Lattimore was a turning of the page,keeping the best of the best instate players just fell into place
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:23 AM   #14
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

I honestly think the "X" Factor is in the trenches. Back in the 80s and 90s, You knew Clemson was going to run it down your throat but could you stop it? Late in those games, it would be sweep left, sweep right, option here or there. But our guys were so exhausted from being beaten down for the first 3 Quarters, they could not stop it.
We have now become more dominant than them on the lines. They have hung with us at least for a half during the past 5 years, but after a while, the 320 lb lineman banging into their smaller lineman begins taking its toll. Spurrier has done a great job of controlling the clock and bashing them into submission. By the 4th Quarter, it looks like we can do anything we want to do. Ironically, this is the way it use to look for them.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:44 AM   #15
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yearofthegamecock View Post
I think getting that string of top recruits in the state was the key. They were used winning and brought that mentality to Carolina. Instead of looking at past games and records against our opponents, they came in thinking I'm gonna play my game and that was infectious, creating that expectation of being competitive.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spurticus View Post
I think everyone so far is touching on all the little things that eventually
came together and played a part in the "change", but what Yearof just
said here I THINK is also a big factor.

Before 2009 (and it was addressed by Holtz a few times in the media),
is that our younger players (freshmen / Sophs) were actually more talented
and athletic than the Juniors / seniors on some of his teams.... THAT
made for an atmosphere of content as the older guys didn't like "taking
advice or commands" from the more talented younger players. It bred
a locker room full of split feelings. I remember Ryan Brewer talking about
it on one of the talk shows a few years ago too. It was a by product of
Holtz getting some of the better players in the state, and some other
states, that weren't blending well with the experienced "average" players
we had on the team.

That class of 2009 I think changed all of that, and gave us some young
players that demanded the role of leaders by default. Stephon Gilmore,
DeVonte Holloman, DJ Swearinger etc... They grew as leaders early,
set up a program of leaders and left the program in better shape when
they were gone.... when you think of the leaders of our teams since
2009, you understand why that class was HUGE in getting the ball rolling.
Not only for the rivalry, but in the rest of our schedule as well. After 2009
you had LEADERS like Lattimore, Cunningham, Ingram, Swearinger, Shaw,
Thompson, Ellington etc.... It was the beginning of our success and the
start of a new Carolina
If I recall, around '08-'09, SOS spoke about having to change philosophy of recruiting. I noticed that kids from "established" HS programs that were leaders on their teams (almost by default they were the "better" players as well) became the targets that were pushed hard for. That began to change the mental makeup of this program IMO. You can have the most talented players but if you don't have player leadership (usually hard work ethics comes along with leadership), that talent may not get you to the top.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:47 AM   #16
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

One word, SPURRIER!!!! There's no coach on this planet like him. He did to Georgia, while coaching at Florida, what he's now doing to Clemson. He has the right gameplan and is absolutely the best sideline coach around, knowing how to make adjustments yet sticking close to his original plan. And every year he's recruited the positions he needs to keep our depth as strong as we've ever had, choosing not only talent on the field, but the right kind of players with leadership mentality that help model the new guys coming in the right way. And probably one of the biggest differences he's made is getting our facilities where they need to be to compete at a higher level! Damn it's great to be a Gamecock!!
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:59 AM   #17
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

If you attributed our dominance over clemson to 1 factor, I believe it would stem from coaching. We simply have better coaches than they do/did. Spurrier >> Abo. Ellis Johnson and Ward >> Steele and Venables, etc.... We recruited competitively, our classes were ranked lower than the taters, but we beat them and we were ranked higher in the AP and Coaches Polls.

Truthfully, I think that this current dominance was attributed to a variety of factors:
a.) A Fanbase that was f**king tired of losing and willing to put up the $ to change that.
b.) We were funding our Gamecock Club with more $ through the YES program, and we got more $ from our conference than they did. That money is being reinvested in the program with new and upgraded facilities.
c.) We hired great coaches who were solid recruiters, but did a great job of developing talent.
d.) We kept the elite in state talent going to SC (Gilmore, Holloman, Lattimore, Clowney, Roland, etc....)
e.) We play in a conference that has dominated CFB the past decade, a lot of players who want to play against the best competition came here, those guys have winning attitudes.
f.) Our ARP has been really improving, we were 1 of 13 schools recognized for our multi year ARP score.
g.) We are having a lot of players drafted (not so much this year, but only 8 were available, and 7 of the 8 are now signed to deals with NFL teams.)
h.) winning begets winning, we've been consistently winning, that's changing the culture in itself.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:24 AM   #18
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

Stephon Gilmore started it.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:28 AM   #19
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

I actually think that the success came as a byproduct of winning in the SEC. Anyone who has played sports, especially football, know there is a huge difference at the end of the season when your team is successful verse being average or sub-par. That winning attitude and success led to a more energized team and successful record.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:29 AM   #20
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Default Re: CAROLINA vs CLEMSON (Five Years Later)

You guys are overthinking it.....
We started recruiting better players starting in 2007.

HBC finally put an emphasis on recruiting after his first few years here and realized he couldn't win on coaching alone anymore because the game had changed. He realized we needed better players and it got kicked off in 2007. Then the 2009 class really got things going
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