Behind Enemy Lines with the Daily Gamecock’s Cam Adams

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Behind Enemy Lines with the Daily Gamecock’s Cam Adams

Photo courtesy of Cam Adams

Photo courtesy of Cam Adams

Photo courtesy of Cam Adams

Photo courtesy of Cam Adams

The Crimson White caught up with Cam Adams, the assistant sports editor of South Carolina’s student newspaper, The Daily Gamecock, to discuss Alabama’s opponent for its first road game and first SEC game of the season.

Some questions and answers have been edited due to space constraints.

Q: What was the reaction when it was revealed that senior quarterback Jake Bentley was hurt and true freshman Ryan Hilinski would be starting for a while? What did you see out of Hilinski in his debut last week?

A: I’d say most South Carolina fans were pretty excited to have Hilinski come in, with him being the No. 2 pocket passer in the 2019 recruiting class and a four-star. A lot of people didn’t like Jake Bentley’s play against North Carolina (16-of-30 for 142 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions). They weren’t happy to see Jake go out the way he did, but a lot of fans were excited to see how Hilinski would do. And he played really well. You really can’t take a lot from it with it being an FCS school in Charleston Southern, but a lot of fans are pretty excited after that game to see what he can do against Alabama.

Q: How much of his success do you think is transferable to playing against Alabama?

A: I think he can make a pretty good impact. It’s just with him being a freshman, he’s going to have freshman mistakes. He could have a pretty good game. With the second-biggest game of the season behind Clemson coming up, he’s pretty excited, but I think it’s going to be a tough task for him to face that Alabama secondary. 

Q: In terms of his supporting cast in the running game and the receiving corps, who are the main guys Alabama fans should keep an eye on?

A: At the wide receiver position, I would say Bryan Edwards. He’s been picking up the slack of former Gamecock Deebo Samuel. In the last two games, he’s had 119 yards. Shi Smith has 68 yards on the season. On the running game, we have two pretty good running backs. Tavian Feaster, he’s a Clemson transfer, and he’s making an impact very quickly. I believe he almost ran for 100 yards against UNC. And Rico Dowdle as well, he’s in his fourth year here. He’s a veteran on the team. There are a lot of offensive playmakers; it’s just that we have to figure out how to utilize those players against Alabama’s defense. 

Q: South Carolina coach Will Muschamp was talking about how the offensive line is pretty experienced. Do you think they’ll be able to slow down what looks to be a pretty solid Alabama pass rush?

A: I’m not completely sure. From the UNC game, what I saw a lot of was Jake Bentley had to scramble a lot. The UNC D-line was getting to him. So it’ll be a tough task for the, but they are an experienced line.

Q: Playing against Alabama’s offense, especially the passing game, is a tough task. Who are the headliners we should be looking for?

A: One player that fans are pretty excited about is defensive lineman Zacch Pickens. He’s just a freshman, but he’s a five-star. I don’t believe he’s done too much, but a lot of fans are excited to have him on the team. Another player is defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw. In the game against North Carolina, I believe he had a [fumble recovery], and he also had a blocked field goal. I would also say R.J. Roderick; he has 11 total tackles. We do have some experienced players like Kinlaw and defensive backs Roderick, Jaycee Horn and Jamyest Williams that could definitely not exactly handle or control, but at least slow down the Alabama offense with Tua Tagovailoa.

Q: Alabama hasn’t looked as good running the ball as we thought. How has SC’s defensive line looked at stopping the run?

A: We allowed North Carolina to rush for 238 yards, which isn’t very good at all. They just had two running backs, it was like their one-two punch. That’s another thing their defense is going to have to do if they want to beat the Crimson Tide. 

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about the last time Alabama came to Columbia when South Carolina won in 2010. What do the Gamecocks have to do to make this one competitive?

A: I guess just keep on building on that momentum they got against Charleston Southern. Even though it was a win against an FCS school, we put up a school-record 775 yards. That’s pretty impressive for any team. Ryan Hilinski’s just going to have to play the game of his life. Pretty much every player on the roster’s going to have to play the best game of their life. 

Q: What is your score prediction, and why?

A: I would say Alabama wins 38-21. I just think with a young quarterback under center and a young team in general, it’s going to be tough to beat the No. 2 team in the country. I do believe that we’ll keep it competitive in the second half, but I think the Crimson Tide’s going to pull away in the second half.