Gamecocks look to recover from season



South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier celebrates his 200th SEC win after defeating East Carolina, 33-23, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT)

Marquis Munson

“We were 7-6,” Spurrier said. “Same as Tennessee and the same as Arkansas, and I think they’re sort of celebrating big seasons last year. So we’re celebrating also. We were doing some cartwheels and high-fiving after that Independence Bowl game because it was a year that could have gone real south.”

South Carolina started the 2014 season at home losing to Texas A&M 52-28, while giving up 630 yards of offense, the most yards the Gamecocks have given up since 2007. They caught their stride by winning the next three games, including a tough win over Georgia. After a one-point loss to SEC East winners Missouri, the Gamecocks finished the rest of the season losing five of their last eight games.

The only bright spot of South Carolina’s team last year was on offense with junior wide receiver Pharoh Cooper catching over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns.

“It started off bad, and it was a bad season for us,” Cooper said. “We aren’t expected to do that at South Carolina, everybody knows that. We’re focused on this year. We are kind of young, but last year is over with, and we’re going to turn it around this year.”

The Gamecocks are looking for a huge turnaround not only on the offensive side of the ball but on defense with the new defensive coordinator Jon Hokes.

“Intensity and just trusting in the coach’s scheme is probably going to be the biggest thing this year,” linebacker Skai Moore said.

South Carolina will begin its season on Sept. 3 against North Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina. It starts SEC play the following week at home against Kentucky.