South Carolina Football Continues To Be a Soap Opera

NC State opens this year against South Carolina, in a game that may well set the tone for the early part of the year: get a win against an SEC opponent to open the season, and the Wolfpack has set the table to possibly go 6-0 in their first half of the year.

That in mind, I like to keep an eye on the Gamecocks, and it looks like their defensive roster and rotation may be in turmoil.  Considering that the Gamecock offense was anything but powerful last year, and that they may not see dramatic improvement this season, any problem with their D weakens their whole squad even more than normal.  Tony Barnhardt writes:

I’m starting to get a little concerned about the South Carolina defense: Six starters were set to return from a defensive unit that kept the Gamecocks in most games while the offense was doing very little. The holes created by the losses of CB Captain Munnerlyn, a player I really liked, SS Emmanuel Cook, and LB Jasper Brinkley were going to be tough enough to fill. Now DT Ladi Ajiboye, who has started 22 games, and sophomore cornerback C.C. Whitlock, who was contending for a starting spot, have now been suspended. Ajiboye, from Riverdale, Ga., was arrested and charged with marijuana possession. Whitlock is a sophomore who played in nine games last season. Coach Steve Spurrier would only say that Whitlock had not been adhering to team requirements but reports say there are academic issues involved. I think Ajiboye has a chance to eventually get back after going through a diversion program. Don’t know about Whitlock. Spurrier’s not saying.

I expect that at a minimum, Ajiboye will be back.  There are suspensions and then there are losing games, something that not even the Ole’ Ball Coach can afford to do down in Columbia. C.C. Whitlock may be another story, as grades are out of the coaches’ hands, and if he can’t get it together in the classroom, he won’t be playing in Raleigh at the end of August.  If that happens, the Wolfpack’s chances of getting an important opening game win go up at least by a little bit.


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36 Responses to South Carolina Football Continues To Be a Soap Opera

  1. Packman02 03/31/2009 at 11:00 AM #

    …coupled with the infinite amount of offensive questions that typcically surround Spurrier’s SC teams, this is great news.

    Especially considering some of the (admittedly) early rave reviews regarding Spring Football in Raleigh.

    A focused and injury free NC State squad could really be something, folks. Let’s keep those fingers crossed.

  2. Wolf Dog 03/31/2009 at 11:17 AM #

    Gamecock Alum told me “We might let the Pack score.” Their idiot fan base has no fear of us.

    Told him just for that we bringing back the time keeper from the Sheridan days, the place will be packed, rocking, and you can expect to be plucked and fried. Having rooster for supper that day!

    This is our most anticipated feel good season in over five years. I think we will go to a bowl and don’t know what our record will be, but we gonna get after some people every ball game this year! I have a good feeling about this year.

  3. CStanley 03/31/2009 at 11:20 AM #

    We could do ourselves a big favor by kicking the shit out of them next season. For several reasons:

    1 – We owe them from last year
    2 – On paper, we’re better
    3 – Better coaching
    4 – TOB teams typically have a field day with an undisciplined bunch like this (particularly when the talent level is on par with ours)

    Forget about losing…I will disappointed if we don’t kick their ass.

  4. howlie 03/31/2009 at 11:22 AM #

    All that known, I still contend that Spurrier is a wizard and coaching genius for the first third of the season, and after that, has used up all his surprise calls, ‘trickeration,’ and unusual sets.

    You can absolutely believe he will pull out all the stops on us to attempt to get the season starting W. He’ll turn the ‘soap opera’ into a Rudy speech and a revenge for the nightmare done by Dick Christy. Wait and see.

  5. choppack1 03/31/2009 at 11:43 AM #

    Last year’s game was a toss up – to say the least – until Wilson got hurt. Still, we were able to hang around for 3 quarters.

    This year – w/ Wilson and Glennon – I don’t think that we will be as easy an out.

    It should be interesting – Spurrier hasn’t set the world on fire at USC – and quite frankly, when Wilson has been healthy, we’ve shreaded some good defenses.

  6. robopack 03/31/2009 at 11:58 AM #

    I can’t hardly wait to see how amped-up Carter-Finley is going to be for this game. Makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up! Please let us enter without any key injury’s, and look out! Looks likes things are coming full circle for TOB and the program. I’ll bet TOB is going to like the feel of Carter-Finley on this day. Write that down.

  7. Greywolf 03/31/2009 at 12:02 PM #

    I haven’t enjoyed a good Cock stomping since I traveled to Columbia to watch a Holtz coached team hang about 65 points on their ass.

  8. wufpup76 03/31/2009 at 12:02 PM #

    I wouldn’t count on any of their guys being “unable” to play … There are always ways around it, especially if you’d like to open the season with a win, and especially if you play in the SEC.

    Anyway, I expect we will have a good season – but I would caution against setting yourself up for a hard fall should we lose a few games (especially the opener).

    We haven’t exactly come out on fire to start the year the past two seasons. It’d be nice to change that this season :)

    So, Nate Irving and crew are looking healthy/good on Defense?

    Get all healed up, Russell!

  9. whitefang 03/31/2009 at 12:08 PM #

    I posted this list a year ago. Teams I HATE:
    1. UNC
    2. ECU
    3. uSC

    “They might let us score” F them. I enjoyed watching Clempson score on their ass last year while Spurrier’s face looked like he was trying to swallow a bite of shit pie on the sidelines without throwing up.

  10. ppack3 03/31/2009 at 12:12 PM #

    “Especially considering some of the (admittedly) early rave reviews regarding Spring Football in Raleigh.”

    Pacman02 – Where are these reviews coming from? All has seemed pretty quiet on the football front. Do you mind referencing some sites/outlets? Thanks

  11. BJD95 03/31/2009 at 12:33 PM #

    Let’s kick their ass, and get into the Top 25. Can’t wait for football season!

  12. choppack1 03/31/2009 at 12:33 PM #

    “Anyway, I expect we will have a good season – but I would caution against setting yourself up for a hard fall should we lose a few games (especially the opener).

    We haven’t exactly come out on fire to start the year the past two seasons.”

    That’s true to a certain extent. However, I’d say that we looked really good vs USC – especially defensively for the first 2.5 quarters.

    I really think we’re going to see a different attitude early this year. I think it took a couple of weeks for Wilson to see the game and understand what he could on the collegiate level last year – and the loss of AMC and Irving in the middle of the season really hurt us as well.

    In other words, the team you’ll see on opening night will know that it has the talent to be good. I think last year on opening night, you saw a team whose starting lineup was very well prepared and believed it would be in good shape if it executed the game plan and well, didn’t have to rely on backups. I think this year, you have more of a certainty about our abilities and our depth. Those may be “famous last words”, but that’s what I’m thinking…

  13. Packman02 03/31/2009 at 12:35 PM #

    ‘Pacman02 – Where are these reviews coming from? All has seemed pretty quiet on the football front. Do you mind referencing some sites/outlets? Thanks’

    ^

    ppack3 – I have a ‘reliable source’ – sorry, couldn’t resist.

    I don’t have any ‘official’ news to refer you to as this is mere speculation on my part; conclusions drawn from comments left on this board, TOB’s comments after the first practice (definitely more positive than in years past) and some of the blurbs I’ve read on the ESPN blog network (take that for what its worth).

  14. waxhaw 03/31/2009 at 12:45 PM #

    I don’t know that I would agree with our defense looking good for the first half against SC.

    I thought it was more about the two most impotent offenses I had ever seen in my life.

    They got theirs going in the second half and ours got worse when RW went down.

  15. wufpup76 03/31/2009 at 12:45 PM #

    Oh, I agree Chop – I believe we have the chance to have a really good season beginning with a good start.

    It’s just when you see comments to the line of “we’re definitely gonna win …” what’s the next thing that happens? It’s almost inevitable …

    I believe in karma or “jinx”, I guess ;)

    Speaking of, it’d be nice if karma visited the Gamecocks and their fans for comments like “We might let the Pack score.”

    “Let’s kick their ass!”

    Well said! … summed up nicely!

  16. Noah 03/31/2009 at 1:21 PM #

    Our defense in the second half of the season was a very different thing than the defense in the first half of the season.

    At the beginning, we had a grand total of one game changer (Nate Irving) on defense. if he wasn’t on the field, we were barely hanging on.

    By the end, I felt like we had really come together and we could absorb the loss of any particular player.

  17. Classof89 03/31/2009 at 1:29 PM #

    Thought defense played pretty heroically in early second half of bowl game after Wilson went out hurt, until they started wearing down late in game…

  18. boonami 03/31/2009 at 1:32 PM #

    Can anyone comment on the status of our O-Line?? Last year it was patch work and I know TOB and Bible are known for great O Lines. to me the O Line is the major area we need to be solid to ensure a winning season/bowl bid. As well as the obvious in keeping Wilson healthy.

  19. packalum44 03/31/2009 at 1:32 PM #

    ^ TOB has mentioned to reporters that the team looks like the one he saw practicing in December. They haven’t missed a beat.

    CF will be rocking for USC. Those Cocks will leave with new found respect for NC State.

  20. choppack1 03/31/2009 at 1:52 PM #

    Noah – I have to disagree w/ you on one point. I think Alan Michael-Cash is/was a huge factor for our D. He always seems to get a good push – and totally changes things when he’s in the game. When he’s around – everyone is more effective…I said in last year’s season that I wonder if we beat BC w/ a healthy AMC.

    He’s one of the DL’s I’ve seen for us, and we’ve had some talent there recently.

  21. bradleyb123 03/31/2009 at 2:15 PM #

    “I don’t know that I would agree with our defense looking good for the first half against SC.

    I thought it was more about the two most impotent offenses I had ever seen in my life.

    They got theirs going in the second half and ours got worse when RW went down.”

    Are you kidding? The defense played GREAT for nearly three quarters. We would have been fine if our offense had been able to hold its own. When your defense plays almost nonstop for three quarters, they have to get exhausted. Until our D reached that point, they were doing great. Their “impotent” offense sure wasn’t impotent against our worn-out defense. In fact, until nate Irving and AMC got hurt, our defense was about all we had.

    All year long, I kept thinking and saying that if we could just get everyone healthy at the same time, we’d be good. That four game winning streak was no surprise to me. We were healthy. Really, all we lacked was quality DEPTH. Now we have just about everyone back AND a lot of quality depth.

    I think we’re going to see one FINE football team on the field this year. Last year (when healthy), we could compete with just about any team out there. I fully expect a fun season for us Wolfpack fans!

  22. Wolf Dog 03/31/2009 at 2:16 PM #

    Cash is a Beast and one of my favorite players. He is a difference maker on defense.

    SC Football has always been a soap opera. Only game in town. Kids are celebrities on campus and in town. A good number of the in-state kids struggle with school. Every coach has had a tough time being zookeeper in Columbia. Turns out Holtz didn’t do so bad after all.

  23. Noah 03/31/2009 at 2:21 PM #

    I thought the OL played pretty well last year. TWO years ago it was pretty poor at the start, but I thought they did a good job last year.

  24. Greywolf 03/31/2009 at 2:28 PM #

    Somebody said Terrell Manning reminded them of Kenny Houston. Nobody turned the corner on Houston. Manning at 6-3, 220 lbs playing Robbie Leonard’s position is “a hurtin'” waiting to happen. I know our offense is exciting. I know Russell Wilson is the best. I know Toney Baker can hit the line and pick up 4 at a pop. It’s defense that wins championships. Philip Rivers was great in the Gator Bowl but Dantonio Burnette laying a hit on the ND QB and putting him out of the game is where the difference got made. I’ll never forget DB talking about seeing that QB and his eyes getting big just seeing how he was going to hit that dude. That’s football. I like looking at the stats and seeing NC State having the #1 D in the nation. Nothing quite so demoralizing as to not be able to score in 4 tries from the 4 yd line, right Carowhiner? Can I get a witness, ECTC?

  25. Noah 03/31/2009 at 2:34 PM #

    Bobby Houston could fly, but he wasn’t a big hitter. Thunder Dan could hit, but he couldn’t really run.

    Manning is supposed to be a combination of the two. He just needs more experience.

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