2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 82
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 15

Once considered an offensive genius, Steve Spurrier and his 2009 South Carolina Gamecocks were downright pitiful. As is so often the case, the problems started up front with the offensive line and trickled down to the rest of the team. South Carolina gave up the most sacks in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and were last in rushing for the third year in a row.

How bad was the Gamecocks’ running game in 2009? The leading rusher was quarterback Stephen Garcia with a whopping 120 yards. That is an embarrassment that Spurrier hopes will be corrected by new offensive line coach Shawn Elliott. Outside of being the leader on the ground, Garcia had a nice season through the air throwing for 2,862 yards and 17 touchdowns. The team’s leading receiver, Alshon Jefferey, also returns to give South Carolina a nice passing game if the offensive line can do its job

South Carolina Gamecocks Football Cheerleader

Linebacker Eric Norwood, one of the team’s best all around defenders, has moved on. However, there is still a lot of talent returning to this stingy defense, especially in the secondary. Also, leading tackler from last year Shaq Wilson will be returning and will try to build on his strong play from last season. One area the Gamecock’s defense needs to improve on is turnovers. The defense forced only 17 turnovers the entire season. Winning the turnover battle is so important; if the defense can’t take the ball away it will put their offense in a very difficult position.

Rumors abound that coach Spurrier will take over the play calling duties this season. While he had success in that regard at Florida, he hasn’t been as good since he left Gainesville. In any case, something needs to be done to jump start the running game to keep opposing defenses honest and open the field for Garcia. With a strong defense and some improved offensive line play though, South Carolina should again be fighting for a bowl bid.

South Carolina Gamecocks odds to win the South East Conference (SEC): +800.

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