South Carolina Gamecocks
- Stephen Garcia has played a lot of football but has that translated to experience, maturity, and judgment on and off the field?
- Head coach Steve Spurrier has praised the play of true freshman Connor Shaw. Shaw has outplayed Garcia in all three scrimmages to this point in the season and we all know Spurrier isn't afraid to pull a QB or shake up that depth chart on a whim. Garcia has never endeared himself to the coaching staff. Shaw may not have to do much more to get on the field. Many national experts love the Gamecocks. Will they love them as much if there is a true freshman under center?
- The Gamecocks return four starters on their offensive line, but is that a good thing? Have these guys improved or are they simply the most experienced guys on the roster and the best of what's there?
- Kenny Miles projects as the starter at RB but newcomer Marcus Lattimore was among the most highly touted RBs in the country in the recruiting wars. Spurrier kept him in state. Can they get a running game from somewhere?
- Alshon Jeffrey is the first elite playmaker Spurrier has put at WR since he's been there. Can he be a difference maker this year? Do they have any other options for Garcia?
- They return eight starters but lose pass rushing phenom Eric Norwood.
- Ellis Johnson had this unit in the Top 15 last year nationally, third in conference. Can they duplicate that effort?
- Can they get a win? This team has a very real shot at going 0-for the season. More than 1 win would be a major upset.
- The offensive line has 0 returning starters.
- Phil Simms' first QB son was a middling college QB and failed at the NFL level. Can Matt Simms fare any better? He's not going to have a lot of help because:
- Monterio Hardesty is gone as is promising but troubled Brice Brown at RB
- Gerald Jones hasn't shown consistent ability at WR
- His protection could be brutal
- Should Simms falter, true freshman Tyler Bray has looked good. He was a four-star recruit and may be the better QB of the two but Simms' junior college experience likely gives him the early nudge.
- Speaking of brutal: after an opening game against UT-Martin, Tennessee plays Oregon and Florida at home, UAB at home, followed by consecutive road trips to LSU and Georgia.
- Their DTs have a combined three starts and help is not on the way. Juco transfer John Brown did not qualify according to the Knoxville News Senteinnel and sophomore Ben Martin has sustained a serious Achilles injury, potentially a season ender.
- DE is the deepest position on the defense but Ben Martin has also hurt his Achilles and his injury also looks like a potential season ender.
- With the great Monty Kiffin and Eric Berry, this was still a defense that finished fifth in the conference and 22nd nationally. They've lost experience on the sideline, in the secondary, and up the middle on the line. They still have Janzen Jackson at FS but the best you can say about this unit is they have fewer question marks than the offense.