2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR
Holtz has always done extremely well in
specifically two occasions: coming off a
horrid game/season or in the underdog role.
He is often underestimated for his motivational
skills. Both of the above pertain going
into 2003. In their five-game season ending
skid, it was painful to watch the Gamecocks
lineup behind the center. Lou had to make
some changes on the offensive side after
averaging just under 19 points per tilt.
Skip Holtz will no longer coach a position,
as he will take a purely managerial approach
as their offensive coordinator only. This
will absolutely lead to a more exciting
attack, presumably more of a vertical game
leading to yards and (then) points.
Pinkins has played very well this spring
proving naysayers wrong as the job is his
to lose. He will have plenty of athletes
surrounding him. The option plays that Corey
Jenkins ran so effectively remain in the
playbook - Pinkins is a formidable runner
but look for the deep ball to yet again
emerge early and often. Pinkins has the
arm, and the target, in Troy Williamson
to stretch out defenses. This can only help
Kenny Irons and company in the running game.
The key is how quickly the O-Line comes
together. With only one big-time player
returning, the transition period for the
younger hogs need be a very short one. Expect
game three or later to reflect any gelling.
the defensive alignment will allow for more
playmaking, period. The Gamecocks were never
really pushed around and any offense would
surely have faired better for success. The
point of the new-look D is to put more pressure
on opposing offenses by bringing a true
rush-end to the line. They weren't awful
a year ago but they did give up over 350
yards/game in inconsistent play. USC brings
a linebacking crew (that may rival the best
in the SEC) coupled with two ends that can
cause havoc up front. Speed in the front
seven will prove to be the biggest change
with all LBs and DEs possessing nice quickness.
The key will be the new faces in the secondary
- size is there. Robinson can surely hold
his own and with the talent available- South
Carolina should be able to hang with any
offense in the SEC.
schedule always seems brutal in the SEC.
They get LSU and Florida at home but have
a vicious road trip meeting up with Georgia,
Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Arkansas in unfriendly
confines. Add to that a couple of non-conference
games against Virginia and Clemson and making
a bowl game seems like a long shot, but
deserved if earned.
all of the talent at Holtz's disposal, there
are still plenty of concerns. This is an
extremely young team, particularly on offense.
With so many glaring problems, it seems
nearly impossible to gain any ground with
only two starters returning to the O. The
interesting aspect is they will be more
productive, a lot more. There are simply
more game-breakers in the lineup and QBs
that will get them the ball. Allowing the
defense to play aggressively will open up
the squad with added Holtz-like opportunities
where calculated risks can be more of the
norm. TOs need to occur, accordingly, so
luck can factor into their ability - speed
and caused-confusion will help. Competing
for an SEC championship is not (likely)
in the cards (ask Arkansas if underdogs
can succeed), but a bowl game should be.
South Carolina will probably win the games
they should and surprise at least one team
they shouldn't to make it to the post season.
They need to be at 4-1 or 3-2 going into
the three-game home stretch hosting LSU,
Kentucky, and Vandy on October 4th to have
a shot at a decent bowl game. The entire
year is only a precursor to a 2004 team
that should be very special. "Wait
'til next year" - next year could arrive
in 2003, though, if the glue sets fast on
Holtz's latest creation.
2003 record: 5-7
QB Dondrial Pinkins
TE Hart Turner
DE George Gause
LB Marcus Lawrence
Dondrial Pinkins, 65-32-4, 431 yds., 2 TD
Rushing: Kenny Irons, 47 att., 201
yds., 0 TD
Receiving: Troy Williamson, 17 rec.,
491 yds., 4 TD
Scoring: Daniel Weaver, 10-16 FG,
24-26 PAT, 54 pts.
Punting: Joey Bowers, 8 punts, 34.0
Kicking: Daniel Weaver, 10-16 FG,
24-26 PAT, 54 pts.
Tackles: Lance Laury, 90 tot., 55
Sacks: George Gause, 4 sacks
Interceptions: Dunta Robinson, 4
for 63 yds.
Kickoff returns: Matthew Thomas,
8 ret., 26.5 avg.
Punt returns: Matthew Thomas, 4 ret.,
Ryan Brewer-RB/WR, James Adkisson-WR, Michael
Ages-WR, Shane Hall-OG, Andrew Pinnock-RB,
Watts Sanderson-OT, Cedric Williams-OG, C.J.
Frye-C, Corey Jenkins-QB
Faison-DB, Jermaine Lemon-DB, Jonathan Martin-DB,
Dennis Quinn-DE, Shaun Smith-DT, Langston
Moore-NT, Tyeler Dean-P
by Joe Brunson
only two returning starters on an anemic 2002
offense, many are saying another 5-7 season is
in the making. Coach Holtz has other ideas and,
with the extra speed he will field, the Gamecocks
may have a chance to make some noise in the SEC
East. Ranking 103rd in total offense, they only
have one way to go.
Pinkins will get the nod at QB after watching
for two years. At 245 lbs, he has very good movement
and a cannon for an arm. There are plenty of questions
regarding his accuracy but after a 16-for-24 performance
in the spring game, he may have found his touch.
Pinkins does have experience as he started the
final two games a year ago. He is comfortable
in the system and now just needs to show he can
become a difference maker. JUCO transfer Michael
Rathe is listed as the backup and is more of a
pure throwing quarterback than Pinkins is. The
junior from Mesa Community College in San Diego
picked up the offense fairly quickly and should
be able to fill in nicely if Pinkins goes down.
Bennett Swygert is a redshirt freshman coming
off an ACL tear that may push Rothe if he remains
healthy. Don't be surprised if either Rothe or
Swygert gets a chance if the offense opens without
Andrew Pinnock and Corey Jenkins gone, the load
of the running duties will fall to Kenny Irons.
The sophomore gained 99 yards on 19 carries in
the spring game and solidified himself as the
#1 back heading into the fall. Junior Gonzie Gray
is one of the smaller backs on the roster - he
has deceptive speed and should get plenty of (3rd
down) time in relief of Irons. True soph Daccus
Turman will line up at fullback, but the 5-11
229-pounder is really just an oversized tailback.
He averaged over five yards per carry and proved
to be a weapon out of the backfield. He should
grow into the big back role vacated by Pinnock.
Unfortunately, he has been suspended indefinitely
from the team for violation of team rules. If
he doesn't return, Regis Edgerson will step in
as he is in the same mold and may see early time
as a lead-blocker until he gets his feet wet.
Don't forget about highly-touted frosh
TB Demetris Summers, he arrives in August. With
depth a concern, Summers will see the field at
playmaker for USC this year will undoubtedly be
sophomore Troy Williamson. He has great size and
can flat out fly. Averaging 28.9 yds/catch, he
is a long-baller with the ability to take it home
on any touch he gets. JUCO transfer Taqiy Muhammad
will line up symmetrical to him. He is smaller,
but possesses similar speed and ability to use
his former DB skills. This creates a nice 1-2
punch. Senior Chavez Donnings will be the number
three-man. He has all the skills to vie for the
starting job but injuries have kept him from living
up to expectations. Two other players to watch
for are Mikal Goodman and Andre Hemphill. They
both possess excellent size and should be able
to compete well in a system that plans on airing
in out more. The sleeper in this year's receiving
corps is Senior TE Hart Turner. He is an established
blocker with good hands, but has yet to become
a steady part of the play calling. Look for him
to breakout - Holtz has been working with TE plays
throughout spring ball.
only other starter on offense besides Turner is
LT Travelle Wharton. He is an All-American candidate
and will need to be a leader to get the young
line ramped up in time for opening day. Jabari
Levey will line up beside him. At 6-7 340-lbs,
he is easily the biggest Gamecock lineman. He
saw action in four games as a freshman. John Strickland
moves over from guard to center and has the spot
locked up. Jonathan Alston is penciled in at RG
but look for freshman Stephen Sene to push for
time throughout the year. Na'shan Goddard will
bookend the right side after playing very well
at center his freshman year. Expect senior Jeff
Barnes and junior Chad Walker to see plenty of
action as the coaches will most likely mix and
match this line until they find a combination
that gels. Depth is good, meaning early games
could expose struggles that year's end won't realize
CAROLINA 2003 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in bold
by Joe Brunson
Carolina is switching from their 3-3-5 alignment
to a more traditional 4-3 scheme this season in
hopes to cause a greater pass rush. If new Defensive
Coordinator Chris Cosh had a player in mind to
cause the switch, it was DE George Gause. The
junior is explosive off the corner and should
be able to pile up more sacks with the extra lineman.
Opposite Gause will be true soph Moe Thompson.
Thompson started as a freshman and has great quickness.
There are big shoes to fill in the middle but
300 lb. JUCO transfer Darrell Shropshire should
come in with much production. Preston Thorne will
get the first shot at defensive tackle after playing
backup there. The 4-3 style demands great interior
play, and if the interior struggles after the
loss of Langston Moore, look for sophomores Fran
Person or Brandon Schweitzer to have an opportunity
and subsequently shine.
Linebacking unit most likely will not be sorted
out until fall practice starts as injuries and
fierce competition has the depth chart skewed.
Marcus Lawrence is a 236 lb. JUCO transfer that
looks at home in the middle. But if everyone is
healthy, he may end up as a rush end come August.
Co-Captain Jeremiah Garrison can play any LB spot
and is the best run-stopper of the bunch. True
Soph Lance Laury missed time this spring with
a knee injury but should be fine for the season.
If he returns to 100%, he should prove to be the
best in the unit. Big-play makers Rod Thomas and
Darel Slay are both slated in at SLB. If the season
started today, Thomas would probably be the starter
after a nice spring. Darel Slay will more than
likely be moving to DE by the time fall practice
rolls around. Keep an eye out for Ricardo Hurley
who played very well as a freshman making some
waves. He had the best spring of the LB's and
should be in the hunt for the outside job. This
unit has the ability to be the strength of the
defense and should be the fastest group in SC
history. This middle part bodes well for any other
defensive struggles that may arise.
Dunta Robinson is USC's best corner and is an
All-SEC candidate this year. He comes in as their
best cover man and should be able to handle almost
anyone he lines up opposite. The other side is
up for grabs, but senior Ted Crawford is coming
out of spring with an edge. Deandre' Eiland (6'0")
played mostly at free safety in 2002 but moves
over to CB to push Crawford for the job. Look
for him to get the starting nod as soon as he
becomes more comfortable in the new role. A battle
is on at free safety as well. Rodriques Wilson
is one of the better athletes on the team and
is contending for a spot at FS with 6'4 Jermaine
Harris. Harris is a former JUCO All-American while
the insightful Wilson has played both QB and receiver.
They should split time throughout the year as
neither player has emerged as a clear-cut number
one. Jamacia Jackson gets the SS job with plenty
of special teams experience on his resume. Freshman
Fred Bennett will step in and battle immediately
for field time. It may take time to gel, but this
crew has the talent to be another pillar for the
teams' leadership needs. They, along with the
rest of the defense, will anchor their entire
CAROLINA 2003 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in bold
is the exciting Ryan Brewer from the return duties.
No one has been named as a replacement so look for plenty
of new faces to get a shot and we may see it that way
for the first few games of 2003. Daniel Weaver is back
after a subpar 2002. Outside of thirty yards, he struggled,
and will be a concern throughout the year. The new punter
will be Sophomore Josh Brown. He is has nice leg strength
and should push Weaver a bit for the placekicking duties
RB Daccus Turman has been suspended indefinitely
from the team due to a violation of athletics
department policy. It is unknown as to when
he will return. The status of WR Matthew Thomas
is also unknown, as he was suspended earlier
in the off-season. In Turman's absence, we
should see something VERY special at USC.
That special something (err, someone) is stud
recruit Demetris Summers. A 6'1", 205
lb. marvel, Summers should see the field as
early as the first game. He will take turns
with Irons, carrying the football, but then
he will steal the show. I look for this young
man to have a great season at USC, setting
up for a solid career and even becoming a
Heisman front-runner in a few years
USC got its TEs more involved- namely Hart
Turner, who turned out an MVP performance
Former CB Taqiy Muhammad
has moved to WR and has performed in extremely
impressive fashion this spring. He led all
receivers in the spring game with seven catches
for 149 yards, and will certainly be a vital
playmaker for the Gamecocks this season
Holtz made mention that his O-line needs to
shape up to consistency this fall if this
offense is to be as effective as he intends
it to be. Remember though- Pinkins has some
nimble feet and can run if needed, so a perfect
O-line isn't completely necessary. Believe
me, this can be a dangerous offense folks!
Holtz says that JUCO transfer Marcus Lawrence
is big time at MLB. Injuries kept Lance
Laury and Jeremiah Garrison out this spring,
allowing Lawrence to come in and put a stronghold
on the MLB position. The two aforementioned
LBs will have to play catch-up this summer
and into fall, but they should be fine and
will add to the strength that is this LB
unit. Senior Rod Thomas and rising sophomore
Ricardo Hurley will start on the outside,
sandwiching Lawrence in the middle. Former
DE Darel Slay has shifted to a LB position
and strengthens the depth even more
DEs George Gause and Moe Thompson were the
brightest stars of this defensive squad.
Each handled pass rush and run-stop duties
equally well and will allow the talented
LB group to maneuver maliciously against
and Rod Wilson have solidified starting
safety spots, rising above in spring practice.
Depth in the secondary is the only unanswered
concern the defense has going into the fall
Garnering notice is DT Brandon Schweitzer.
He could prove very valuable along the defensive
front this season.
Holtz and staff were pleased with the consistent
amount of favorable punts from Josh Brown.
Not that the Gamecocks hope to use him too
much this year, but it's good to know he
can do the job when called upon. Kicker
Daniel Weaver has shown the leg to hit deep
field goals, but will need to improve his
accuracy. The return game is up for grabs,
but you will probably see Muhammad and Williamson
scattered in there somewhere.