Gamecocks are improving, let's take a look back to the season till now
Sept. 27, 2022


South Carolina’s 2022 football season is just four games into the season, Questions is what do we know now?

GAMECOCKS STILL HAVE A WAYS TO GO

There was plenty of preseason hype for South Carolina, and rightfully so. Even believing that the Gamecocks were capable of competing for the SEC East title this year. Now with four games in the books trying to just get bowl eligible for the season

South Carolina still has games on its schedule against five teams that appeared in The Associated Press Top 25 in Week 4. Three of those teams were slotted in the top 11 nationally. Georgia is mauling just about everyone, but the way it utterly dominated South Carolina last week was borderline torturous. It won’t look like that every week, but it’s mildly disconcerting. The Gamecocks have opportunities for upsets. We’ll see how successful they’ll be in those endeavors.

RUNNING BACK MARSHAWN LLOYD IS THE REAL DEAL

MarShawn Lloyd’s performance Saturday was a preview of things yet to come. Lloyd had shown flashes of brilliance in games against Georgia State, Arkansas, and Georgia, but he’d never had the breakout game like the one he enjoyed with Charlotte in town.

The former four-star recruit ran for 169 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 carries. That’s good for an average of 11.3 yards per touch. Coming off a torn ACL last year, Lloyd never looked quite comfortable. That seems to be changing. Lloyd is up to 244 yards and four touchdowns rushing this year both of which lead the team. Spread that start over a 12-game slate and he’s on pace for roughly 730 yards and 12 touchdowns. Still need to see more from Rattler, and the offensive line could stand to be more consistent. If Lloyd becomes a constant fixture in the run game, though, it totally changes the complexion of this offense.

WAITING ON QB SPENCER RATTLER TO MAKE A MAJOR IMPACT

What we know. Spencer Rattler’s reputation has largely been held intact so far this year. He’s been equal parts good and bad. Rattler currently sits sixth in the Southeastern Conference in passing yards per game. He is also tops in the league in interceptions (five) among quarterbacks who are throwing 15 or more passes per game. We’re still waiting for that one big game that feels like it could be coming sooner than later.

Rattler was surgical against Charlotte on Saturday, completing 17 of 23 passes for 187 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. That modest line came, at least in part, due to South Carolina’s dominance on the ground. The Gamecocks, more than likely, aren’t going to be able to run the ball the way they did on Saturday for the rest of the season. Eventually, it’ll fall on Rattler to get South Carolina through a shootout.

SOUTH CAROLINA IS GOING TO BE AGGRESSIVE

Shane Beamer hasn’t been one to shy away from pushing the envelope in one-plus years as head coach. Beamer and South Carolina finished second in the Southeastern Conference in fourth-down attempts a year ago, and they’re on pace to be in that range once more. The Gamecockshas attempted seven fourth downs so far in 2022. That’s good for third in the league behind just Tennessee and Vanderbilt. South Carolina is also converting those at a 71.43% clip good for third in the SEC as well. The Gamecocks haven’t been afraid to try some tricky things on special teams or go for short fourth downs this fall. Don’t be surprised if they pull out some more stops down the stretch.

THE GAMECOCKS DEFENSE NOT THAT DEEP BUT IF HEALTHY COULD WELL BE A STRENGTH

So far South Carolina’s defense has looked strong enough in spurts to inspire confidence moving forward. so what are the issues here? The injury bug. Injuries are piling up. South Carolina was already deathly thin at defensive end before Jordan Strachan and Terrell Dawkins went down. That’s how freshman Bryan Thomas Jr. ended up playing a role in Saturday’s contest. Throw in a handful of injuries in the secondary and this group has been banged up quickly. The good news is, not all of these should be long-term issues. Strachan is done for the season, as is starting linebacker Mo Kaba. The rest should be healthy at some point this season.

South Carolina has plenty of playmakers defensively, but it needs guys to stay on the field. If not, it’s going to look a lot more like the team that was run over by Georgia than the group that squeezed the life out of Charlotte in Saturday’s second half
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