Sunday, April 11, 2010

Post Spring Thoughts

*Spring games are normally sloppy affairs. This one was not. Both sides looked sharp. While the offense had struggled some earlier this Spring, Coach Ronnie Letson and Coach Jimmy Ogle had both offenses looking good in the season finale.

*A star may be emerging at tailback. Playing behind a patchwork offensive line, Calvin Middleton rushed for over 140 yards in the J-Day game. He is a brusing runner in the tradition of recent Gamecock tailbacks. After having a great Spring, Jamal Young had a rough day fumbling several balls but still ran the ball impressively. Despite not being a big guy, Young is as tough of a runner as you will find. Another bright spot was Richard Freelon, who made several nice runs and is starting to show why he earned some offensive player of the year honors in Mississippi in high school. Don't forget about Drec Lindley who sat out this Spring to concentrate on academics.

*The fullback position looks good with Senior Alphonso Freeney clearly in the starting spot. Freeney runs well for a big man and had a great run from deep in the White team's territory to get his team out of a jam. While inconsistent, there is no doubt that Jahron Brown has tremendous potential. Cole Doolittle, out of Jacksonville, Florida is another hard nosed fullback that plays with intensity.

*The quarterbacks looked excellent. M. Ivory plays with tremendous composure and demonstrated that he can make every throw required of a quarterback. Ivory also seemed a step quicker running the ball than he did last year. Ivory's biggest asset may be his composure, he is calm as can be regardless of the situation. Of course, we already knew this after his impressive performance in the first start of his college career against Georgia Tech last year.

*Backup quarterback Mike Whittier had a good Spring game as well. Whittier can run and throw. While there will be a lot of depth at quarterback next year with Alabama transfer Thomas Darrah and incoming freshman Coty Blanchard, Whittier is such a good athlete that he will definitely help the Gamecock program.

*The Gamecocks appear to be on their way to replacing Greg Smith and James Wilkerson. La Ray Williams, James Shaw and Alan Bonner all had excellent Spring Games. However, look out for Mississippi native Jeff Cameron to compete for a starting spot. Cameron, who had over 30 catches in 2008, is coming off of a mid-career redshirt and will be a playmaking wide receiver.

*Curt Porter, Matt Jones, T. Chambers and Tyler Ogletree appear to be ready to anchor the offensive line. This gives the Gamecocks a lot of experience on the line. Porter is a legitimate NFL prospect. The right tackle spot may be open, but its hard to say with Tory Mobley and Justin Kay time this Spring with injuries.

*Its tough to replace Brandt Thomas, Santez Mays and Torrey Davis, but there are some special players returning on the Defensive Line. Kevin Dix is a phenomenal athlete as evidenced by his kick return in the J-Day game, but as good as he is Texas Garrott is currently in front of Dix on the depth chart. These two guys are both really good players who should push each other to improve. An unheralded star of the Defense is Monte Lewis, another Gamecock with NFL potential. Lewis plays with the intensity of former Georgia All-American David Pollack. The Defensive Line should be rock solid when Jamison Wadley returns in the Fall.

*A big question coming in to the Spring was who would start at safety along with Keginald Harris. Robert Gray from Collinsville really made a statement this Spring. He is a fast, physical safety. Another player to watch is Brooks Robinson, a converted quarterback who has added 20 pounds and appears ready to contribute.

*While TJ Heath missed this Spring with an injury, the Gamecocks are set at corner with Heath, AJ Davis and Jawaan Booker. These three guys are really talented. With the pressure that Dix and Garrott can bring and the coverage ability of the corners, big plays on defense will likely be on the horizon for the Gamecocks.

It was a good Spring for the Gamecocks. How many days till the season starts?


  1. No mention of the kicking game? A 51-yard game winning field goal. That's one yard short of the all-time JSU field goal record.

  2. Besides Texas Garrott and K. Dix, there was some young linebacker talent that stepped up in the spring, like Eric Russell, he played really well in the spring game. Keep you eye on a young player from South Florida, Jordan Ivey. He had two good spring scrimmages, and is learning that Rover OLB position from Garrott and Dix. The future of the Gamecock Defense looks good!