#Gamecocks Prepare for 2017: @JakeBentley19 and @bobbybentley ‘s Outrageous Comments about the Clemson Game

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A Fox Carolina sports interview caught Jake and Bobby Bentley’s recent remarks about the Clemson game, a 56-7 loss. Clemson fans have been quick to ridicule Jake’s comments, “they were not that much better than us.” Even Clemson’s star quarterback, @DeshaunWatson, has chimed in: 

In the clip, Jake Bentley explained how the lopsided loss provides off-season motivation for the Gamecocks. His comment is reminiscent of Dabo Sweeny’s remarks after Clemson was waxed 51-14 by Florida State in 2013: “If we played FSU 10 times, they probably win five and we’d win five.”

More interesting to me in this clip, was the comment by Bobby Bentley about closing the talent gap with Clemson through recruiting.

We’ve got guys like Jake that are picking South Carolina over Alabama. Picking South Carolina over LSU. Picking South Carolina over Georgia.

Indeed, the 2017 recruiting class, while not overwhelming in terms of star power, does reflect that the Gamecocks won recruiting battles against traditional powers as well as their in-state rival, Clemson.

recruiting 2017

The Legend of #Gamecocks Quarterback @JakeBentley19

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A few years ago, we played a joke on the message board recruiting junkies by making up a fake football prospect who was allegedly committing to the Gamecocks. The player weighed 290 pounds and could run a 4.4. He could deadlift 500 pounds and long jump over 25 feet. The guy could easily dunk a basketball and averaged 40 points a game. He played running back and defensive end and led the State in touchdowns, rushing, and sacks. The dude was a football recruiting legend?

Of course it was all made up stuff for fun.

Then a couple days ago Bobby Bentley started telling stories about Jake Bentley’s childhood. I guess these were true stories. Could Jake Bentley’s childhood exploits become the foundation for a real life Gamecocks quarterback legend. We haven’t seen that since the days of Jeff Grantz.

 

#Gamecocks @GamecockBasebll Pre-season Batting Lineup Preview

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The Gamecocks lose quite a bit of production from last season. The team is projected to be strong because of its pitching staff, which is full of aces. There may be reason to be optimistic about the offense as well.

I posted last week about the exciting new leadoff man Danny Blair. There is no guarantee Blair wins the competition for one of the two open outfield spots. He has some competition from guys like @TJ_Hopkins, Brandon @Mc11wain, and freshman Carlos @losCortes_14.

Here’s my guess at what looks to be a first weekend starting lineup. The statistics are from the 2016 season. Quite a few of the players projected here have limited experience.

I’m guessing Cortes gets the start at second base. But he could get in the lineup at DH, 3B, or as an outfielder. Cortes is an intriguing prospect who is ambidextrous throwing. He throws left handed when playing the outfield but throws right-handed when playing the infield. Left handed throwing infielders face significant disadvantages from a defensive standpoint.

The defense is a question mark. The Gamecocks replace shortstop Marcus Mooney and centerfielder Gene Cone. There is an old baseball adage that great teams are strong up the middle.

The bench is limited by a scarcity of left handed power. Excluding pitchers, there is only one lefty pinch hitter available–Riley Hogan a freshmen switch hitter. That means if @cholbrook2 uses the lineup I projected, opposing coaches can put the Gamecocks at a disadvantage selectively using right handed relief pitchers.

Nevertheless, Chad Holbrook has a lot of flexibility. It will be interesting to watch him manage this toolbox.

The #Gamecocks Lead Off Man: @DannyBlair2

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When I played baseball many moons ago, I loved to bat lead off. I liked to set the table at the top of the first with a line drive single up the middle. A seed whistling past the pitcher’s ear. Then I would get a good lead, and draw a couple pick off throws. Make him show his best move in the top half of the first. Meanwhile, my dugout is calling the pitcher a belly-itcher and other stuff. They couldn’t throw me out. I was too quick and too fast. Soon enough, I dusted myself off  on second base and grinned at my friends.

Batting lead off is the best spot in the lineup. Better than even cleanup. I guess you can make an argument that cleanup has more rep to it. Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson were cleanup men. But its not as good as lead off. You get up more when you’re the lead off man.

The South Carolina Gamecocks have a new lead off man. Meet Danny Blair, number 4. He plays center and bats lead off. In the baseball realm, it doesn’t get better.

Here’s what Coach Chad Holbrook said about Blair.

He’s a special player. . . . He’s a special talent. He can run. The ball flies off his bat. He plays a great outfield. So he’s a big part of our plans as we go into the season. I certainly think he’s an everyday player. He has a chance to be a high draft pick and an all SEC-type performer. . . . His offensive approach is better. He’s not chasing pitches out of the strike zone. He’s much more comfortable and confident in himself. He can bunt the ball. And if he bunts the ball fair, he has a chance to beat it out because he can really, really run. He’s just a much more confident player at this time than he was a year ago.

My playing days are over. I but I can dream of batting lead off Danny Blair.

ACC Guy @SaturdayJC starting to eat preseason words about #Gamecocks

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In his recent post, So right, so wrong: Revisiting Mississippi State, South Carolina predictions, John Crist, eats it.

You don’t need to click on his post. The quote below sums up anything of any importance that he wrote:

If USC wants to go bowling, it better beat 2-8 Western Carolina at home Saturday. Upsetting Clemson on the road in Week 13 isn’t going to happen. Still, Muschamp and Co. are a lot further long than I anticipated. Kudos to them.

This guy was so negative I wrote two pre-season, blog posts to rebut him:

There was a tiny bit of engagement from Crist. However, it was just to ridicule the Gamecock coaching staff and to make sarcastic responses. Here’s a sample:

All that remains is for the Gamecocks is to make ACC homer Crist eat his words about the 50-0 Clemson win he predicted. Ain’t gonna happen.