Before I start, I just want to say my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the flooding in South Carolina. Everyone at Gamecock Central is hoping for the best and hopes everyone stays safe over the coming days.
Now, it was another SEC game and another SEC loss; this time it was at the hands of a Missouri team fresh off a loss to Kentucky and starting a true freshman quarterback.
The loss sparked a lot of talk about Lorenzo Nunez, the stalled offense and a defense with seemingly more gaps than a suburbia mall.
In this week’s Honesty Hour, I’ll delve into the takeaways from the Missouri game and how closely Gamecock fans need to hold onto them.
1. The offense needs a spark.
This is entirely accurate. Yes, Lorenzo Nunez has come in these past two weeks and played well, but many skill players on the offense haven’t helped him. Other than Pharoh Cooper, Nunez hasn’t found many playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. It’s obvious the Gamecock offense is hurting without Brandon Wilds, and Nunez needs someone other than the all-SEC wide receiver to step up. It could be wide receivers Terry Googer, Carlton Heard or D.J. Neal or even running backs Shon Carson or David Williams, but someone needs to step up to help out the dual-threat quarterback and get the sluggish Gamecock offense going.
2. Nunez will be replaced by Michael Scarnecchia or Perry Orth
Nope. Nope. And nope. Even though Nunez threw three interceptions, head coach Steve Spurrier kept going with the true freshman behind center until he was injured. That shows the confidence the Head Ball Coach has in his quarterback. Although Spurrier talked about giving Scarnecchia a shot this week, Nunez is the quarterback from last week onward. He provided the much-needed spark for the Gamecock offense and he’ll be the guy going forward.
3. Gamecocks anticipated pass rush has to be revamped
Also a truth. Marquavius Lewis hasn’t lived up to the potential he came into college with. He’s not made the impact he was supposed to, and with Boosie Whitlow showing some real promise it could mean a change on the defensive line. Without a dominant pass rush, it’s hard to stifle any offense the Gamecocks are playing. So, if South Carolina wants to make life uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks, they need to work on getting the personnel on the field that can pressure the quarterback.
4. Sean Kelly and the special teams unit have been the saving grace for USC
Yeah, this is true, and I have a feeling many Gamecock fans have similar feelings about that. Kelly has been great this season with pinning opposing offenses inside their own 20-yard line. He’s been phenomenal and Elliott Fry has been solid this season, breaking his record for career-long field goals twice this season. Both of them have been rocks that Spurrier can lean on for their consistent play. In between the sputtering offensive play and pervious Gamecock defense, it’s interesting to see how much South Carolina is leaning on its special teams.