Interim OL coach helps Gamecocks prepare for Birmingham Bowl
Interim OL coach John Latina has been quick to turn heads during his brief time at South Carolina.
“At first, it was a different change for us,” sophomore guard Zack Bailey said. “He’s growing on us the past couple days. We are starting to understand his style of football and what he is carrying out. He wants you to move people off the line. That’s the goal.”
Latina takes over a unit that was much maligned during the season.
The offensive line, thought to be strength in the offseason, struggled out of the gate — especially evident in a tight game against Vanderbilt and a loss to Mississippi State.
With the emergence of QB Jake Bentley, the line play seemed to improve, but when facing top defenses such as Florida and Clemson, the offense as a whole sputtered.
Look for the offensive line to improve in the Birmingham Bowl with more time to get everyone healthy and possibly throw in some wrinkles and new techniques under Latina.
Lattimore chimes in on skipping the bowl
Former South Carolina RB (and mayor of Williams-Brice) Marcus Lattimore offered his thoughts on RBs Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette skipping their respective bowl games.
— Marcus Lattimore (@MarcusLattimore) December 19, 2016
If anyone understands the dangers of an in-game injury, it’s Lattimore.
The 2010 SEC Freshman of the Year missed out on what would’ve likely been a solid NFL career due to two knee injuries suffered during his time in Columbia.
Clemson’s loss is Carolina’s gain
“I’m not scared of competition. Everywhere you go, there’s going to be competition. But I want to do what’s best for me and I want to play. Everything happens for a reason. Clemson was always one of my tops schools, but I’m not going to trip over it,” said Class of 2018 QB Dakereon Joyner when explaining his reason for dropping the Tigers.
You have to appreciate the Fort Dorchester quarterback’s candor — he’s completely transparent in his love about the idea of quarterbacking the team from the Upstate.
But with fellow Class of 2018 QB Trevor Lawrence committing to CU last week, the Gamecocks are in an excellent position with Joyner. Let’s hope coach Will Muschamp and his band of ace recruiters can capitalize on the situation.
The State’s Phil Kornblut goes in-depth with Joyner and his decision.
Note: Hmm. An in-state dual-threat quarterback flipping from Clemson to South Carolina. Reminds me of someone …
Gamecocks hand out awards
South Carolina coaches and players honored their own earlier this month at the annual end-of-season awards banquet.
Seniors Perry Orth, T.J. Holloman, Marquavius Lewis and sophomore Hayden Hurst took home some of the highest honors, while others were recognized for tenacity, leadership and more.
— TheBigSpur.com (@TheBigSpur247) December 19, 2016
— Spurs & Feathers (@SpursFeathers) December 19, 2016
The Gamecocks predictably fell in the latest AP Top 25 following their loss to Seton Hall on Dec. 12.
With G Sindarius Thornwell suspended indefinitely, the No. 22 Gamecocks’ freshmen will continue to be counted on — especially with Clemson (just outside the Top 25) coming to town on Wednesday.
“I feel like with Sind being out, it gives them more opportunity to be thrown into the fire like we were our freshman year,” said senior guard Duane Notice. “But at the same time, Sind is still around. He’s still a positive voice. He’s still leading. He’s still getting reps in practice, making those guys better through practice.”
In case you missed it
— The Greenville News (@GreenvilleNews) December 20, 2016
- Freshman tight end Evan Hinson still working part-time with Frank Martin.
- For USC offensive linemen, Shawn Elliott’s departure brings a bittersweet goodbye, from The Post and Courier.
- SB Nation on Alaina Coates’ impact on the Lady Gamecocks’ success.
- The Big Spur with a look at the Gamecocks’ Birmingham Bowl depth chart.
- Despite his commitment to UGA, the Gamecocks aren’t going to stop recruiting former Carolina commit Devonte Wyatt.
In honor of Clemson week on the hardwood, let’s take a moment to salute Thornwell and his monster dunk against the Tigers last year.