Chicken & Waffles. Your new favorite dish for all things Gamecocks. Grab a cup of joe and hide your screen from your boss as we fill you in on everything happening in the world of South Carolina athletics. Get your Chicken & Waffles right here, Monday through Friday.
Men’s hoops moves to 2-0 in SEC play
The Gamecocks (12-3) collected their second consecutive conference victory on Saturday with a 79-68 win against Texas A&M (8-6) in Columbia. Carolina outscored the defending SEC tournament champs 43-30 in the second half after trailing by 2 at halftime.
Junior G Duane Notice had been on a cold streak as of late but returned to form in a big way on Saturday — going off for 19 points, including four 3-pointers.
The Gamecocks received a major boost off the bench by way of freshman Rakym Felder. The first-year guard exploded for 19 points, going 6 of 8 from the field — scoring the Gamecocks’ only points from their second unit.
“Now, he’s starting to understand what we do. … The first thing that jumped out at me is the confidence he plays with … like I tell him everyday, you’ve got to keep understanding what we’re doing, so you can play with that confidence, within our structure,” coach Frank Martin said of Felder’s strong performance.
Next up for the Gamecocks: a road date with Tennessee (8-7) on Wednesday night.
Lady Gamecocks win in Gainesville
Dawn Stanley’s team improved to 13-1 with a 81-62 win against Florida on Sunday afternoon.
The win came at a cost, however:
Wilson injured in USC's win at Florida, severity unknown: https://t.co/B9Toab0uFz
— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) January 8, 2017
“(A’ja) Wilson came down on a Florida player’s foot in the fourth quarter and appeared to roll her ankle. She hit the floor and appeared to be in serious pain,” said The State’s David Cloninger.
“A trainer was concentrating on Wilson’s right ankle. Teammates helped her to the locker room and she did not return to the floor. Wilson could not put any weight on her right foot.”
Losing Wilson for any extended amount of time would be a massive, massive loss for the Gamecocks. The junior is already an all-everything player and the team’s leading scorer.
The reigning SEC Player of the Year is set to be re-evaluated when the team returns to Columbia.
Gamecocks set to hire new OL coach
Long rumored to be a candidate for the vacant offensive line coach position, more reports surfaced over the weekend that former USC OL coach (running game coordinator is a little long-winded for me) Eric Wolford was set to return to Columbia in his old post.
“South Carolina will hire Eric Wolford to fill the vacant offensive line coach position on the staff, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the search. Wolford is currently on his way to Columbia and, if all goes as planned, will finalize his contract with the school on Monday. Wolford spent the 2009 season in the same position with the Gamecocks.”
After his only season in Columbia, Wolford left to accept the head coaching position at Youngstown State, where he compiled a 31-26 record and was let go after the 2014 season. The former Kansas State guard spent 2015-16 as an assistant OL coach with the San Francisco 49ers.
I absolutely love coach Will Muschamp bringing Wolford back into the fold. The man is a proven offensive line coach with years of experience as a position coach and head coach across both the college and pro ranks. His rapport with USC and local high schools is just an added bonus.
Gamecocks in the playoffs
The NFL Playoffs started over the weekend and South Carolina is well-represented in the field: Jadeveon Clowney and Johnathan Joseph (Houston Texans); Devin Taylor and Corey Robinson (Detroit Lions); Jerell Adams (New York Giants); Jared Cook (Green Bay Packers); and Patrick DiMarco (Atlanta Falcons).
Clowney was his usually monster self for the Texans on Saturday afternoon, making an unbelievable interception and taking home the prestigious (I think) Gruden Grinder award.
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) January 7, 2017
In the duel between underutilized former Carolina tight ends (Green Bay’s Cook and New York’s Adams), the Packers advanced with a 38-13 win. Cook had 5 catches for 48 yards, while Adams was surprisingly inactive — continuing the trend of his talent being criminally underused.
Clowney, Joseph, Cook and DiMarco (#RiseUp) are the only Gamecocks remaining in the league’s divisional round.
Gamecocks among top MLB prospects
The Gamecocks had four players ranked among Baseball America’s top 100 college draft prospects, led by junior pitcher Wil Crowe. Crowe checked in at No. 11, followed by junior pitcher Clarke Schmidt at No. 17, pitcher Tyler Johnson at No. 35 and junior first baseman/outfielder Alex Destino at No. 86.
Crowe and Schmidt are expected to anchor Carolina’s strong starting rotation.
With such highly rated prospects, it’s no surprise the Gamecocks start the season ranked No. 4.
Mike Wilson with more on the Gamecocks’ blue-chip players.
In case you missed it
- Meet the Gamecocks’ early enrollees, which include 3 DBs.
- Will Muschamp, Kirby Smart battling for two of the state of Georgia’s best recruits.
- The Gamecocks are in 4-star OT Tony Gray’s top 5, from The Big Spur.
- According to Saturday Down South, South Carolina has seven reasons why South Carolina should feel optimistic about 2017.
- The Post and Courier is optimistic, too: A more successful 2017? For South Carolina, it starts with these 5 things.
- From Gamecock Central, Duane serves Notice his shooting woes may be over.
Top 5 non-football activities for Monday night
So, there’s a football game or something on Monday night (the national championship). Our archenemy is playing in it, yada, yada, yada … I can’t even stand to watch.
So, instead of watching the biggest game of the season, I’ll be taking a lighter, more stress-free approach to my Monday night. I’d implore you to do the same.
- Watch Monday Night Raw: The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels will be there! You know who won’t? Deshaun Watson. Good enough for me.
- Work out: It’s close enough to New Year’s Day to stay committed to your resolution. Important note: The game could be on in the background.
- Go see Lion: It’s a great movie and it’ll make you smile — no matter how the game turns out.
- Rake leaves: I did this all day Sunday — a pretty underrated activity, soothing and kind of a workout. Could be difficult to rake in the dark, though.
- Dump trash on your driveway and pick it up: Anything’s better than potentially watching Clemson win a title.