Summer Scouting is a daily weekday post analyzing LSU football’s 12 opponents for the 2015 season. From McNeese State (June 29) to Texas A&M (July 11), we’ll give you an early scouting report on the one dozen teams on LSU’s schedule.
- When: TBA, Oct. 10
- Where: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina
- Early spread: LSU -8
- Who’s before and after: Eastern Michigan and Florida
South Carolina at a glance
- Coach (year): Steve Spurrier (11th)
- 2014 record: 7-6 (3-5, t5th SEC East)
- 2014 postseason: Won the Independence Bowl, 24-21, vs. Miami
- Returning starters: 12 (8 defense, 4 offense)
- Preseason prediction: 37th nationally, 5th SEC East (Athlon)
Reviving the D: The Gamecocks finished No. 92 in the nation last season in total defense, prompting Spurrier to bring in an old pal, Jon Hoke. Hoke, an NFL DBs coach for the last decade, served as defensive coordinator at Florida in 1999-2001 under Spurrier. He’ll team up with Lorenzo Ward in a co-defensive coordinator situation to revive a defense that just three seasons ago finished 11th in the nation.
WR Pharoh Cooper: The 5-foot-11, 208-pound junior led South Carolina in receiving yards (1,136), average per catch (16.5), TDs (9) and catches (69). He’s again expected to be USC’s go-to man in a passing game that’ll have a new QB for a second straight year – likely Connor Mitch, who has thrown just six career passes. Cooper doesn’t just catch passes. He has more than 400 rushing yards in his career. He has five plays of 70-plus yards in his career (two rushing and three receiving).
Defensive line: Remember when we mentioned South Carolina’s defensive woes as the spring storyline? Specifically, the Gamecocks struggled on the line and failed to get pressure. They finished with 14 sacks as a team. That’s 118th nationally. The nation’s top-ranked junior college defensive end signee is expected to help in Marquavius Lewis. He’ll likely snatch a starting spot at end. USC could have another first-year player – freshman Dexter Wideman – start at defensive tackle.
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