The search is on for a new football coach at USC and we here at SportsTalkSC want to do our part in adding to the clarity (confusion?) of the mountain of information and misinformation floating around. So, we will provide to you a regularly updated chart based on what we think is the degree of reality between a potential candidate and his chance for the getting the job. Our opinions will be based on what we know, what we hear and what we read. And they will change regularly. We invite your responses.
USC finished its rocky 2015 campaign with a 3-9 record. The Gamecocks fought hard for interim coach Shawn Elliott, but in the end, the didn’t have the horsepower to knock off the more talented teams on the schedule. Now the Gamecocks future is uncertain, from who their next head coach will be to how long it will take that person to fix the problems in the program.
Here’s a look at the USC side of things from Kevin McCrarey:
USC’s forgettable football season came to an unceremonious end Saturday with a 37-32 loss to top ranked Clemson. Like most of their games this season, the Gamecocks fought hard and stayed in the game. Like most of the game this season, the Gamecocks came up short on talent and short on points. tumultuous
You feel for Shawn Elliott. He was thrust into the interim head coaching role when Steve Spurrier decided he didn’t want to go down with a sinking ship. He did about as well as you could ask in terms of keeping the players together and putting the team in position to win games. The problem was the win didn’t come. The talent just wasn’t there.
After the loss to Clemson Elliott seemed to understand that his run is probably over in Columbia. He had salty eyes when he said, “I can’t tell you how privileged I’ve been to be the interim head coach here. I love those players, those players fight.”
Elliott said he plans to out recruiting Monday to spread the word that the USC program will be back. He isn’t sure when or if he will sit down with Ray Tanner to discuss his long term future. His final press conference was so somber that at one point Elliott said “this isn’t a funeral” in between questions. It felt like a funeral though.
Defensive coordinator Jon Hoke talked like a guy that knew he was one and done at South Carolina. He talked in past tense when he mentioned the experience in Columbia and the great people he met. The transition from the NFL back to college was tougher than he expected. Offenses running on third down, the tempo, the spread. It was an adjustment and he nor his defense ever looked comfortable this season.
Whoever the next coach is will have to find a way to rekindle the magic that Steve Spurrier captured before things got away from him and he bounced. A big part of that will be recruiting and getting the players back on the same page. Linebacker T.J. Holloman said the team isn’t as close as it was when he arrived his freshman year. “When I was a freshman, everyone was together. As I got older, guys started veering off and becoming individuals.”
Pharoh Cooper, the Gamecocks biggest weapon, played his final game Saturday. He’s off to try his hand in the NFL. Linebacker Skai Moore is still deciding if he wants to come back. He said who gets the caching job will be a big factor in that decision. He didn’t get honored with the seniors like Cooper, but there are a lot of rumblings in the NFL scouting world that he plans to enter the draft.
The Gamecocks can put this bad season behind them, but their problems aren’t going away until someone gets in there and addresses them. The question is who will that be and how long will it take to get it back.
Post game reaction from USC:
USC used a 19-5 run in the second half to pull away from pesky Lipscomb University of Nashville 92-76 Friday afternoon at the Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks led by only five points before going on their run which stretched over seven minutes midway thru the second half.
The Bison missed eight straight shots during the Gamecocks’ run. But Lipscomb kept firing away threes and got as close as 11 points with three minutes to play. A Michael Carrera three and a bucket by PJ Dozier reestablished the Gamecocks hold on the game.
Six Gamecocks scored in double figures with Laimonas Chatkevicius leading the way with 17 points. Duane Notice added 16. Josh Williams of Lipscomb led all scorers with 21.
The Bison attempted 35 three pointers connecting on 13 but the Gamecocks dominated inside scoring 54 points in the paint and winning the rebounding battle 43-29. Freshman Chris Silva led the Gamecocks on the boards with seven.
USC is now 6-0 continuing its best start since going 8-0 to open the 2004-05 campaign. Gamecocks are back in action at home Monday night against Western Carolina.
USC is off to a 5-0 start after winning the Paradise Jam with victories over DePaul, Hofstra and Tulsa. That’s the best start for the Gamecocks under Frank Martin and their first 5-0 record since the 2004-05 season.
Where are the Gamecocks excelling so far? They are 24th nationally in three point shooting, 29th in offensive rebounds per game, 34th in rebound margin, 6th in free throw attempts and 7th in free throws made.
The Gamecocks go for six in a row Friday afternoon at home against Lipscomb. Wednesday Martin met with the media to review the trip to St. Thomas and preview the next game.