South Carolina football: areas where the team will improve, decline in ’21

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Where will South Carolina football improve in ’21? Where will it decline?

The South Carolina football team is gearing up for year one under head coach Shane Beamer, and they’ll be focusing on improving upon a two-win campaign in 2020. A lot has changed over the last few months. The Gamecocks have seen players leave the program, had newcomers find a home on campus, and welcomed in a completely new coaching staff.

The Gamecocks will look a lot different next year, and the staff is hoping that it results in positive outcomes as they try to put their new players in the best positions to succeed. The offense and defense will both employ new schemes. Fans will get their first real glimpse at Luke Doty leading  a unit, as he played with a limited lineup in his two starts at the end of last season. He’ll have to find a chemistry with an unproven receiving corps to ensure the offense isn’t too one-dimensional, despite its great rushing attack.

On defense, there will be new faces in the secondary and at linebacker, though the defensive line should return fully intact. Will the newcomers make an immediate impact on the unit, or will inexperience doom the Gamecocks for another season?

South Carolina, like all teams this year, will show improvements and declinations in different areas. Here’s out best guess on where the Gamecocks will move forward, and where they’ll take a step back in 2021.

Improvements

Passing attack

The Gamecocks’ passing game was abysmal last year. South Carolina quarterbacks combined for just eight touchdown passes, nine interceptions, and the second-worst passing output in the conference at 187 yards per game.

Now, we’re not expecting the offense to look like Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, but there’s reason to believe that the Gamecocks can take a step forward. Last year, the team had just one reliable option at wideout, and while Shi Smith is now off to the NFL, the coaching staff brought in a few proven playmakers through the transfer portal.

We’re also expecting the new offensive scheme to focus a bit more on mismatches, which the Gamecocks should be able to exploit. Though there may not be an evident No. 1 option on the outside, there are players like Dakereon Joyner, Jaheim Bell, Tanner Muse, and EJ Jenkins that will be able to line up in a variety of areas to attack opposing defenses.

We don’t know if the passing total will eclipse the 200 yards per game clip, especially considering the team will rely heavily on the run game, but we should see upticks in passing touchdowns, quarterback rating, and wide receiver production.

 

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