South Carolina wants to be the next Arkansas. And, really, they’re not far off.
Arkansas’ return to respectability has come with a former Georgia assistant coach at the helm. The Hogs have been led by a dynamic, darkhorse Heisman Trophy contender at quarterback and have one of the best linebackers in the SEC.
South Carolina has a former Georgia assistant coach at the helm. The Gamecocks are led by a dynamic, darkhorse Heisman Trophy contender at quarterback and have one of the best linebackers in the nation.
The difference is largely timing. South Carolina is in Year 2 of the Shane Beamer era while Arkansas is in Year 3 of the Sam Pittman era, giving the Razorbacks a leg up by a year.
But that doesn’t mean that South Carolina isn’t going to wait, going to come into Fayetteville and just say ‘well, we’re not Arkansas yet.’
The Gamecocks have their own plans with their own storylines.
Spencer Rattler's superpowers
Sep 3, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) passes against the Georgia State Panthers in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield didn’t call Spencer Rattler a superhero, per se, but he said his first-year quarterback, a transfer from Oklahoma, had the capability to be one.
“The superpower he has is a lot like — and I hate to reference Oklahoma — but those guys: Baker (Mayfield), Jalen (Hurts) and Kyler (Murray),” Satterfield said. “I mean, all of them, that’s how they played. It’s not really mayhem scrambling. It’s just he understands time and space and very casually knows how to move out of the pocket. He’s never really out of control. I think that’s something that you can use to your advantage offensively, especially when you’re trying to move the pocket and protect the passer.”
Sep 3, 2022; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Jalen Brooks (13) celebrates a teammates touchdown against the Georgia State Panthers in the second quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina hasn’t exactly been dominant up front.
Beamer knows its an issue. So do the players and fans. Arkansas could take advantage, too, with a pass rush that suddenly looks like a legitimate one in the SEC.
Dec 30, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Shane Beamer celebrates his first bowl win holding the South Carolina Gamecocks mascot Big Spurr over the North Carolina Tar Heels at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina blocked two punts and returned them both for touchdowns last week. Arkansas’ punting game didn’t look elite last week, either.
It’s possible the Gamecocks take advantage on Saturday. Of course, Arkansas coach Sam Pittman knows to be ready for the South Carolina aggression on special teams, which could help counter.
But teams were always aware of Frank Beamer’s proclivity for aggression, too, and they couldn’t stop it. Bears watching.