2017 East Preview: South Carolina

By: 
Collin Brister
Sports Writer

Offense
The Gamecock offense struggled at the beginning of the year as they weren’t able to get consistent quarterback play, but they figured it out once true freshman Jake Bentley took over the reigns against UMASS.
Bentley was supposed to be redshirted going into the 2016 season, as he should have still been in high school, but the Gamecocks offense was so bad at the beginning of the year that they had no other option but to try Bentley.
It worked out for them, as they were able to get into a bowl game in a year when they were supposed to be an afterthought.
The Gamecocks beat Tennessee last season at home, and they were able to compete with almost everyone that was on their schedule.
The downfall of the Will Muschamp era at Florida was that he was never able to get consistent quarterback play, and in his first year as the head coach at South Carolina he may have found the guy that he’s going to rely on for three years.
South Carolina has playmakers on that side of the football, and if Bentley can continue to improve as a passer, they have a real opportunity to make some noise in the 2017 season.
Defense
Will Muschamp teams will always play defense, and that was no different in the 2016 season as their defensive prowess allowed them to stay in games when the offense struggled to get going.
They’ll be just as good on that side of the football this season, as they have a lot of returning starters from the 2016 team.
They play a ball-hawking type of defense, and that can sometimes get you beat over the top if you’re not able to get to the quarterback, but the Gamecocks were one of the best teams in the league last season as far as getting to the quarterback.
Western Opponents and Non-Conference games
North Carolina State-The Gamecocks will open the season against a solid North Carolina State team. The Wolfpack are very solid on defense, but they struggled last year moving the football.
Texas A&M-The Gamecocks will travel to College Station next season to avenge a loss in Columbia last season to the Aggies.
Arkansas-South Carolina will host Arkansas the week after returning from College Station in a game that will likely mean a lot to both teams in how their season will be shaped.
Clemson-After a run of success against their rival, the Gamecocks have lost two straight games to the Tigers.

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