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Talkin’ Gamecocks with Garnet and Black Attack

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Recently I had a chance to exchange some pregame questions with thomasfloyd from our SB Nation sister site, Garnet and Black Attack. Thomas knows a thing or two about football, is a true Gamecock fan, and is a better than average vibraphone soloist. Okay, that last part isn’t accurate. He’s the Eric Clapton of the vibraphone, and the Charlie Daniels of the torque wrench. I hope you’ll find his responses not just informative, but a favorable reflection on his fanbase.

MD: How much better is Jake Bentley in year two?

TF: He’s a lot better runner than he was last year. Uses his legs a lot more and picks up third downs so it helps a lot. Passing wise I’d say he’s honestly regressed a little, but not much. He still has good numbers and we wouldn’t be 6-2 if he wasn’t a Gamecock. Overall, he has improved.

MD: We're two-thirds of the way through the season, so it's probably fair to draw some conclusions. What Gamecock unit has pleasantly surprised you this season? Which has disappointed?

TF: I would say our defense has a whole has been great. Compared to the last two seasons, it’s a great change. I don’t know if this is a disappointment because its not his fault, but the tightends as a whole haven’t put a lot of production statistic wise. They’ve been had to be used for blocking so much it’s limited their role in the passing offense. I thought Hayden Hurst would be having a way better year, but Roper hasn’t dialed it up his way a ton.

MD: Losing Deebo Samuel was undoubtedly a blow to the Gamecocks. In his absence who is the go-to big play threat for the Garnet and Black?

TF: I’d say Bryan Edwards, Shi Smith, or OrTre Smith all have big play capability. Bryan has done the most big play wise, and Shi has great speed. He had a great touchdown last week that a was a double move, and we’re going to be starting to see a lot of Smith touchdowns in the future.

MD: How important is this game to South Carolina? The Gamecocks have a solid win streak, and even if it hasn't always been pretty they've found a way to come out on top. What would a win in this one do for Will Muschamp, and by turns how damaging would a loss be to the memory of the 2017 season?

TF: Well, it’s a rivalry. It’s important because Georgia is number one and we have a chance to be the team who upsets them. It would be a huge win for Muschamp, but as far as the season goes it would really only knock us out of the race for the East. 8 wins is still very possible either way, which would be great step in the right direction.

MD: Because we must. Your score prediction:

TF: I think it’s going to be closer than Vegas says, but the Bulldogs are probably just going to be too much. 31-17 Georgia.