LSU’s showdown with South Carolina this Saturday was relocated, but Pick 6 is right at home.
We brought on Josh Kendall, a South Carolina beat reporter for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., for this week’s Q&A.
You can follow Josh on Twitter @JoshatTheState and read his work here.
1. Things seem to be going quite badly in Columbia (weather aside) these days. South Carolina is 0-3 in the SEC for the first time since coach Steve Spurrier’s first season with the team, but how did the Gamecocks get to this low point?
It’s a lot of things. The run of elite playmakers like Gilmore, Lattimore and Clowney ran out; they have had a very high attrition rate in some consecutive recruiting classes and they lost their starting quarterback (Connor Mitch) after two games. It all has kind of started to snowball at this point.
2. Speaking of the weather, will it play a factor in Saturday’s game in any way, and how big of a distraction will it be for the Gamecocks during the week of practice?
Note: Josh decided to skip this question given the immense amount of reporting about it over the last few days. You can find everything you need to know about the game’s relocation here.
3. USC has used three quarterbacks, none of which seem to be capable of getting the job done. True freshman Lorenzo Nunez has started the last two games, but is he the guy Spurrier will stick with going forward?
Nunez probably would get another shot this week if he was healthy (which he’s not so Perry Orth will start) but even that is not definite. He didn’t look good at all against Missouri last week, and Orth will at least give them a chance to complete some passes downfield.
4. The Gamecocks rank last in the SEC in scoring offense at 20 points per game. How can they create scoring opportunities against LSU’s defense?
If you have any ideas, Steve Spurrier will take your call. They need to get Pharoh Cooper the ball as often as possible because he’s about the only guy on this offense who scares anyone, but that’s been difficult because of the inconsistency of the quarterbacks, a stagnant running game and the fact that no other wide receivers have emerged to take some pressure off Cooper.
5. Junior WR Pharoh Cooper seems like USC’s most explosive play-maker, both through the air and on the ground. What can the Gamecocks do to get him more involved in the offense, and how important is it for him to break a few big plays?
Oops, I guess I answered this one too early. I do expect him to get some snaps in the Wildcat quarterback role this week, maybe a lot of them. Orth will look for him first and foremost when he throws the ball, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some shovel-pass type plays for him.
6. We find ourselves asking reporters this question every week — what can the Gamecocks do to slow down sophomore RB Leonard Fournette?
Hang on? I’m not sure. That’s a bad matchup for anyone, especially South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been very inconsistent with their assignments in the run game, and I think they’d consider it a victory if they simply made him work for all his yards rather than have a bust that gives him an easy 50-yard touchdown at some point.