Gamecocks get defensive
The Gamecocks have improved more than just their record in 2016.
Under the tutelage of defensive gurus such as head coach Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson and others, the South Carolina defense has seen unprecedented improvements this season.
The defensive unit is currently ranked No. 40 in Football Outsiders’ advanced S&P+ rankings — just a minor improvement from its No. 97 ranking in 2015.
Traditional statistics tell the same story, with the Gamecocks ranking No. 48 in total defense.
Goon squad back.
— Gamecockology (@Gamecockology) October 31, 2016
South Carolina has surrendered an average of 382.5 yards per game — that’s just 5.2 yards per play.
Those figures alone are impressive. Against last season? Worthy of my back-to-back Most Improved awards from football camp (Note: 1994-1995 in Atlanta, I seriously won Most Improved twice):
- 2016 Defense (RK):
- 382.5 yards per game (40)
- 21.2 points per game (25)
- 2015 Defense:
- 432.7 yards per game (92)
- 30.4 points per game (89)
Many expected the defense to improve under Muschamp’s watch, but to see it unfold and get better and better through the year has been beyond expectations.
With four games left, #Gamecocks are one fumble recovery and two interceptions away from matching last season's takeaway totals.
— David Caraviello (@dcaraviello) October 31, 2016
There’s been much discussion over the past couple weeks over the similarities between South Carolina QB Jake Bentley and former QB Steve Taneyhill.
Bentley, like Taneyhill, took over as starting quarterback halfway through his freshman year. Also like the mullet-sporting gunslinger, Bentley led his team to an upset victory over Tennessee.
Now in Columbia, as the owner of Group Therapy in Five Points, Taneyhill can’t escape the comparisons to the Gamecocks’ current quarterback.
With his charisma and fun attitude, the similarities between Taneyhill and Bentley extend beyond their shared positions:
“I was so thankful to be playing. I chose South Carolina, to play early and to play in the SEC. You don’t ever expect something like that to take place, but to start three games and win all three. It was great for our team. It was so much fun. The guys were having fun,” — Taneyhill told SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan.
Carolina fans hope the parallels continues, as Taneyhill went on to defeat Clemson in Death Valley to cap off his freshman campaign.
Tucker says thanks
Freshman Robert Tucker, the former tight end forced to give up football due to injury, sent out a heartfelt thank you to South Carolina fans on Wednesday:
— Robert Tucker ||| (@Say_Trey) November 2, 2016
Great to see USC honoring his scholarship. I’d love to see Tucker again during his time Columbia, hopefully in an off-field role with the football team or in a position in the athletic’s office.
In case you missed it
- If National Signing Day 2017 were today.
- Gamecocks’ most dangerous foe Saturday might not be Missouri, says Gamecock Central.
- From Garnet & Black Attack, the Digital Gamecocks take on the Digital Tigers.
- The Post and Courier warns Mizzou’s defensive changes may cause trouble for South Carolina.
— Gamecock Football (@GamecockFB) November 2, 2016
- The Daily Gamecock caught heavy flak on USC Twitter for its piece on Wednesday questioning coach Frank Martin’s recruiting tactics.
- From men’s basketball, freshman forward Maik Kotsar sits down with GamecocksOnline.com.
— GamecockWBB (@GamecockWBB) November 2, 2016
The nonrev report
— Gamecock W. Soccer (@GamecockWSoccer) November 2, 2016
- Women’s soccer rallied to defeat Texas A&M 2-1 on Wednesday night. With the win, the Gamecocks advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament.
- Equestrian’s Paige Stopperich and Raegan Renfroe were honored as SEC Riders of the Month for October.
The #Gamecocks will honor their 2016 Olympians on Saturday during the football game against Missouri.
— Gamecock Track (@GamecockTrack) November 2, 2016
Top 5 South Carolina trios
- Jake Bentley, Rico Dowdle and Bryan Edwards
- Cocky, Sir Big Spur and Gamecock Jesus
- Darius Rucker and two of the three of the other guys
- Groucho’s, Village Idiot and Grilled Teriyaki
- The Towers trio of Snowden, Laborde and Moore (no love for you, Dirty Douglas)