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The Gamecocks have slowly been slipping back into mediocrity that is the definition of South Carolina football and they have hired Shane Beamer whose head coaching credentials are mainly he is the son of Virginia Tech coaching legend Frank Beamer. I’m not saying it was a bad hire; but it is an uphill battle in Columbia. The Gamecocks generally have good talent but they have a hard time putting everything together and their lack of winning tradition hurts them when they play the big boys and in the SEC their are several big boy programs.
Offense: South Carolina has good players on offense but are unsettled at QB. Highly recruited Luke Doty started the final two games last season and had marginal success. He needs to continue to develop and he will get better in 2021. There is no problem at running back with the return of Kevin Harris and his 1,138 rushing yards through 10 games. There is plenty of depth with Marhawn Lloyd and ZaQuandre White and that will be the focus of the offense. Wide receivers will have to emerge but Nick Muse is a proven tight end. The offensive line needs to improve and have underperformed at times. But, normally poor QB play contributes to a lot of other problems.
Defense: The defensive line could be a strong point in 2021. All-SEC Kingsley Enagbare returns along with former five-star recruit Jordan Burch. Athletic tackle Zacch Pickens plugs up the interior. Linebackers will have to develop and play better than they have recently. In the secondary four very good players left for the NFL or transferred leaving only strong safety R.J. Roderick as the lone retuning starter.
9/4 Eastern Illinois
9/11 at East Carolina
It is absolutely essential that South Carolina wins the first three games on the non-con schedule. The game at East Carolina will be tricky but an SEC school should win that. It would take a major miracle to beat Clemson.
9/18 at Georgia
10/9 at Tennessee
10/23 at Texas A&M
11/13 at Missouri
The conference schedule is difficult but the Gamecocks are going to struggle with the schedule no matter what. There are winnable home games against Kentucky and Vanderbilt and the other two against Florida and Auburn are not outside the realm of possibility. Road games at Georgia, Missouri, and Texas A&M are probably losses and they will have a good chance at Tennessee.
Summary: There are significant holes at QB, the offensive line, linebacker, and the secondary and how they fill those in will be the key to improvement in Columbia. They have some wins on their schedule if they improve and if they get a break they could become bowl eligible and that would be a major accomplishment.
Predicted Finish: 6th in the SEC East
Overall Record: 5-7
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