Looking into the mirror that was 2014, Gamecock players, coaches, and fans all saw the obvious: a bloated, fat body that once had high hopes for a great 2014 campaign. Instead, the divorce papers went through, the hair's thinning, and nothing seems to get rid of that smell. Why bother even washing your clothes when there's no point in leaving the house, right? Well, except to keep that rendezvous with half-price apps at Applebee's. Table for one, please!
The life of the Gamecocks football program doesn't have to go in that direction, though! Self-respect is still within reach. Maybe eat Lean Pockets instead of Hot Pockets. Throw out any sweatpants with chocolate or blood stains. Take a shower with actual soap, not Febreeze. Post a "Casual Encounters" ad on Craigslist. See, it's not that hard! Here, I'll make a list.
1. Learn that a tackle is not a gentle hug or trying to gently jab a player with your shoulder pads. It involves a highly complicated process based around grasping an opponent firmly, while attempting to use your strength to drag that opponent down. Strength is another issue for another time.
2. Realize that there's more to an offense than just passing the ball. I know there's a lot of speedy receivers on this team, but it's less conducive to overthrow a ball ten yards in front of a receiver than just to run the ball for a nice little gain. Especially on third and one.
3. Work on motivating your most talented players. Hey, everybody has dreams about being an NFL draft pick. Sometimes they dream about it too much. Sometimes the dream is already real to them, and they think they don't have to try hard at playing football in college. I know nobody wants to get hurt before having the opportunity to play in the big leagues, and we all saw the tragedy of Marcus Lattimore, but I think playing well in college as a Junior or Senior is much preferable to being undrafted after leaving early, and nobody knowing or caring who you are or how well you play football. Want to play in the NFL instead of being a pity hire by a real estate company or insurance agency owned by a team booster by age 25? Give, like, half a crap during games.
4. Stop congratulating yourselves after every good defensive play. You see that receiver over there who dropped the catch on first down? You had nothing to do with it. Why are you chest bumping each other? Why are you jumping around like a kangaroo who works as a hype man? THERE'S STILL AT LEAST THREE MORE DOWNS TO GO.
5. Better prepare for the future. Connor Mitch, the presumptive favorite to be QB1 next season, has thrown six passes in his college career. Six! Pharoh Cooper has thrown eleven in his career, including eight this past season alone. It's no wonder people think he could be used heavily under center next year; he'd be the most experienced QB on the depth chart. Throw in the revolving door at cornerback, the still-improving d-line, the disappointing linebacking corps, and the who's who at wide receiver ('cause you'll be asking "who's who?") and the Gamecocks could be just as ill-prepared for 2015 as they were for 2014. But that's why this is a resolution for 2015, so that this doesn't happen again in 2016.
6. Don't lose that smile
7. Switch out all analog clocks for digital. I think this could be a big help in making the defense realize that games don't end after three quarters, and that the 15:00 and 4 don't represent the 15,004 cheeseburgers the defensive line ate this season at Cookout. Can't blame 'em for that, though. Wash those burgers down with an Oreo shake and a Huge-sized sweet tea? Have mercy (on the Dixon brothers' colons).
8. Look on the bright side of things. This is for you, Gamecock Nation. We saw Dylan Thompson throw for over 3500 yards and 26 touchdowns in just 13 games. South Carolina has won a school-record four straight bowl games. The Gamecocks haven't had a losing season in over ten years. Pharoh Cooper and Brandon Wilds are players who exist and do amazing things. This fanbase is passionate, and truly loves football and this football team. As the New Year is rung in and as the bottles of champagne are popped, pour one out for those who don't have football. Pour one out for the fans who wear jerseys of teams that don't exist anymore. Pour one out for the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers. May that fire forever burn.
Got a resolution of your own? Leave it in the comment box below!