Dowdle running toward strong sophomore campaign
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Despite not being fully healthy in 2016, freshman RB Rico Dowdle led the Gamecocks in rushing with 764 yards — a punishing 5.7 yards per carry.
With the arrival of Dowdle in the backfield, the once-sputtering USC offense had new legs, both literally and figuratively. The ground attack gave freshman QB Jake Bentley more room to read defenses and spread the ball around.
As the Asheville, N.C., native enters his second year in the program, he recognizes the position demands more than just running the ball …
“A goal I set for the spring is better pass protection, which comes with better knowledge of the game and knowing exactly where to be, so that’s my goal,” he said. “And just staying healthy, treat my body right throughout the spring, trying to be good up until April 1 and maintain that to the season.”
With a 100 percent Dowdle, fellow rising sophomore A.J. Turner and the addition of UNC transfer Ty’Son Williams, the Gamecocks could boast of the SEC’s most potent running back corps in 2017.
Expert picks for South Carolina vs. Marquette
How are the experts feeling about the Gamecocks’ chances against the Golden Eagles on Friday? It’s a mixed bag …
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish is taking Marquette straight up.
“South Carolina is 3-6 in its past nine games with two losses to Alabama and one to Ole Miss,” Parrish writes. “Simply put, I believe the wrong team is favored in this game.”
As noted earlier this week, the Sports Illustrated panel doesn’t have a lot of faith in the Gamecocks. Of SI’s 12 brackets, only three (Dan Greene, Stewart Mandel, Michael Rosenberg) have the Gamecocks making it to the second round.
Gamecocks take part in open practice
As the Gamecocks prepare for their first NCAA Tournament game since 2004, they took the floor at Bon Secours Arena in Greenville to much fanfare on Thursday afternoon …
— Gamecock MBB (@GamecockMBB) March 16, 2017
Not only are the Gamecocks looking for their first tournament win since 1973, they get to do it in their home state. What a time to be a Carolina fan.
Frank Martin on NCAA winless streak
You read that correctly. South Carolina hasn’t won a tournament game in 44 years.
That fact isn’t lost on Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin …
Frank: "How did Frank McGuire not win an NCAA game since 1973? How did Eddie Fogler? How did Dave Odom? Those are good coaches."
— David Caraviello (@dcaraviello) March 16, 2017
Return of the Mack
Former 4-star prospect Tevin Mack is on the move.
Moving on from Texas, the Columbia native is looking to transfer somewhere closer to home. Hmm, I can think of a big-time program in the Columbia area that could use him …
“Georgia, Florida and South Carolina all received consideration from Mack, before he settled on playing for (Shaka) Smart. Clemson and UConn were also factors,” Hale McGranahan reported. “Paula Mack, his mother, told Phil Kornblut that all have been in contact since the transfer was announced. East Carolina, Florida State, Wake Forest and DePaul are also interested.”
Former USC TE signs with Raiders
It was reported on Thursday that Gamecocks TE Jared Cook will sign with the Oakland Raiders.
The free agent pass catcher caused quite a stir as a free agent — coming off a spectacular season with the Green Bay Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers. Cook was outstanding in the playoffs, snagging 18 balls for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Source: The #Raiders are going to sign FA TE Jared Cook. A huge addition for QB Derek Carr and their offense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2017
Cook is the fourth former South Carolina player to sign a lucrative contract in the offseason, joining CB Stephon Gilmore, LB Melvin Ingram and WR Alshon Jeffrey.
In case you missed it
- SEC teams with the easiest, toughest paths to Final Four.
- Martin wants team to play to its identity, from The Big Spur.
- SEC Network breaks down Gamecocks-Marquette tourney matchup, via Gamecock Central.
- Gamecocks’ Sindarius Thornwell goes from playing on mailboxes to SEC’s best.
- From Gamecocks Online, Lady Gamecocks host UNC Asheville to start NCAA Tournament journey.
- South Carolina baseball rotation shifts with Clarke Schmidt injury.
March Madness motivation
Just substitute any mention of “Ducks” with “Gamecocks” and you’ll get the gist of it …