The biggest unanswered question with regards to the South Carolina Gamecocks this week is how will they respond given their unexpected bye week due to the cancellation of last weekend’s contest with Marshall?
This season has a been a tale of two Carolinas: the team that looked revamped against Coastal Carolina and the one that played valiantly for a half to fall like a crashing thud in the second half against Georgia.
The Gamecocks go into Vanderbilt as a team with a hunger to get the result of their last contest further in the rear-view mirror.
One player who’s one of the most eager to see the field again is running back Rico Dowdle, who dropped three passes in the opening half against Georgia, including one that went for an interception return for touchdown.
Dowdle believes one nightmarish half of football does not represent his full potential:
RB Rico Dowdle
The play of the offensive line was the part of South Carolina’s game that underwent the most scrutiny in the offseason, and Will Muschamp has been happy with their progress.
Center Donell Stanley has anchored the revamped unit and knows that in order to have the modicum of projected success they’re promising, the line needs to continue its upward trajectory:
OL Donell Stanley
You can’t blame South Carolina’s uneven play through two games on Jake Bentley, as he’s completed the highest percentage of his passes through two games than any to start a season in his career.
This statistic is most impressive considering the Gamecocks had to go to a heavy passing attack when falling behind against Georgia.
He knows most of the blame for losses and praise for wins falls on his shoulders, and it’s a responsibility he’s embraced in his third season as a starter:
QB Jake Bentley
The play of South Carolina’s defense drew the ire of many with Georgia’s 21 unanswered points in the second half two weeks ago. The Gamecocks defense last year outperformed expectations, but failed to cover up the sizable absence of DJ Wonnum’s pass-rushing ability.
With Wonnum still on the shelf, it’s incumbent on the remaining members of USC’s defensive line to pick up the slack.
Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw knows he has to improve his play, and by the sound of the following clip, might also have to improve his country music knowledge as the Gamecocks descend on the place known as “Music City”.
DT Javon Kinlaw
South Carolina faces Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon in Nashville at 3 PM on the SEC Network.