The South Carolina Gamecocks took on the Tennessee Volunteers in a Southeastern Conference Eastern Division contest on Shields-Watkins Field at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Photo by Danny Parker)
It’s hard to believe that Will Muschamp is entering his fifth year as the head coach at South Carolina, but that is indeed the case. Coming off a 4-8 campaign in which the Gamecocks went 1-5 to finish, Muschamp’s seat could get hot quickly if they stumble out of the gate. The beginning of the Gamecocks’ season should start 3-0, but things get real from that point on, with only games against Vanderbilt and Wofford looking like easy wins. Ryan Hilinski showed flashes of promise last year but has a new offensive coordinator to work with in Mike Bobo.
Bobo arrives in Columbia fresh off a turbulent tenure at Colorado State, but he is no stranger to the SEC, as most Georgia fans know thanks to his long run as OC in Athens under Mark Richt. Bobo’s attack will depend on development at the receiver position, where experience exists, but explosiveness must be discovered. Shi Smith is a solid number-one option, but the offense will need a playmaker to emerge. Junior Josh Vann could be that guy, but he has yet to prove himself reliable in his first two seasons.
It looks like a running-back-by-committee situation will be the case in 2020, but if I had to pick a leader for that group it would be sophomore Kevin Harris. He and his counterparts will run behind a solid offensive line that returns four starters and welcomes the highly-touted juco transfer Jazston Turnentine at tackle as well. While Muschamp made his name on defense, the Gamecocks have struggled on that side of the ball at times. Six of their opponents in 2019 put up 30 or more points, in fact, which can’t sit well with Coach Boom.
Ernest Jones and Sherrod Greene are absolute monsters at linebacker and the secondary should be solid as well, but the defensive line is still young and that talent needs to start yielding results if the Gamecocks want to make any noise in the East.