Exiting the Spring, the Gamecocks football team did leave three questions that have to be addressed before South Carolina suits up against East Carolina on September 3rd in Charlotte, North Carolina to start the 2011 season and defense of their SEC Eastern Division crown. Let’s look at those questions –
Who will be the starting Free Safety?
The only real question facing the defensive unit heading into the 2011 season is who will emerge as a reliable starter at free safety. Currently, it is a two man race on the depth chart exiting Spring ball between freshman Brison Williams and sophomore Jimmy Legree.
However, there has been talk of sophomore Corey Addison, redshirt freshman Sharrod Golightly or newcomer Sheldon Royster given a chance to win the starting role before the first game. USC’s defense needs someone to step-up to fill the role as USC cannot have a weak link in the secondary in 2011.
Where will DeAngelo Smith play in the Receiving Corps?
Sophomore DeAngelo Smith had arguably the best spring practice session than anyone else on the roster. However, the problem is that he plays the ’X’ position at wide receiver currently held by Alshon Jeffery.
The coaching staff realizes the talent and is trying to cross-train Smith at the "Y" receiver spot because he has made plays every time his number has been called in every practice, scrimmage, and then in the spring game. Smith gives USC a different look at wide out that is exactly what the USC offense needs to elevate the double coverage Alshon Jeffery will see in 2011. Finding ways to get Smith on the field is a good problem to have for Steve Spurrier.
Who will be the starting qb vs. ECU in Game 1?
Much has been written about with regards to who will be under center to begin the 2011 season. The post-spring depth chart lists two players listed as the number one quarterback - Connor Shaw and Stephen Garcia.
Depending on who you ask about whom will be the starter, you get a different answer as some want Shaw and some think Garcia deserves one more chance.
Truth be known, at this moment the decision is really up to Stephen Garcia and if he can do the right things to prove he is worthy of yet another chance at South Carolina. No matter how you feel about the answer to this question, Garcia is the better quarterback due to experience. Connor Shaw is talent-rich but short on real experience. Shaw is the future quarterback of the Gamecocks and may well start that first game. The feeling among most is that Garcia will play the majority of snaps for South Carolina in the upcoming season but Shaw will be the starter for the ECU game to prove a point?
***This article goes along with what I wrote for Bleacher Report - HERE.