Tuesday began a new era for South Carolina football, one without coach Steve Spurrier. With the introduction of Shawn Elliott as interim head coach, the Gamecocks look to rebound from a demoralizing loss to LSU as they host Vanderbilt (2-3) on Saturday.
The Commodores come into Columbia with a top-25 defense and giving up only 18.4 points per game this season. Vanderbilt’s record is deceiving, with two of its three losses coming to Georgia and Ole Miss. While the Commodores offense has not been impressive, their defense has been able to keep them close in every game except Georgia.
That defense will look again to take over as the Gamecocks attempt to rebound offensively. Against LSU, the offense looked to be making some progress but key mistakes and a few unlucky plays proved too much to overcome.
The potential return of Brandon Wilds and Connor Mitch have Gamecock fans hopeful, and Coach Elliott has brought a new energy to practice this week.
Defensively, USC looked remarkable for the first 30 minutes in Baton Rouge. Much like the rest of the season, however, the Gamecocks eventually got worn down. The defense should find their task a little bit easier against Vandy this week. With the distractions, on field leadership will be a priority.
Offensively, Vanderbilt has struggled even to be mediocre in 2015. The Commodores are averaging only 21 points per game, and that number drops to 15 when you take out their 47-7 win against Austin Peay.
Sophomore QB Johnny McCrary has struggled against quality defenses and has thrown seven interceptions through 5 games. Despite his struggles, McCrary will be confident given how well mediocre quarterbacks have looked against USC this year.
James Inabinet is the Customer Service Representative for The Herald Independent and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.