South Carolina Football Three Keys: Charleston Southern

Three-keys-USC

South Carolina faces Charleston Southern on Saturday in Columbia, SC. Here are your three keys to a South Carolina win over Charleston Southern.

By Matt Zemek

The South Carolina Gamecocks could not possibly have had a worse season opener. They lost a game. They lost to North Carolina, a regional rival. They lost to Mack Brown, who was Will Muschamp’s boss a decade ago at Texas. They even lost their starting quarterback, Jake Bentley.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

The Gamecocks have to regroup, and fortunately, they scheduled an FCS opponent in Week 2 to smooth the path of their schedule. Before taking on bigger challenges later in September, what do they need to deal with against CSU?

Key 1 – Make Ryan Hilinski Comfortable

Hilinski, a freshman, will replace Bentley. This isn’t a short-term replacement, either. This is the beginning of several games in which Bentley will be out, possibly a full season’s worth of games. This is a process in which Hilinski needs to make gradual improvements and learn more about the nuances of his position as he goes along.

In this game, Hilinski needs to be given a plan which will enable him to make safe throws to reliable targets, so that he can develop a rhythm and a comfort zone which will settle him down and give him an understanding of the plays and formations which work well for him and his receivers. If Hilinski can achieve this basic goal, he will be able to enter future games – bigger games – this season with an awareness of what his strengths and weaknesses are. If he can gain that awareness in a very conscious way, the coaching staff can then develop him by teaching him what opposing defenses will try to take away from him. Hilinski can therefore become better at diagnosing defenses and finding solutions for them. There is a lot to learn in this game. Hilinski needs to be a sponge against Charleston Southern.

Key 2 – Find The Power

North Carolina receivers made some amazing catches last week against good coverage by South Carolina’s defensive backs. Sometimes, the opponent makes a great play, and you just have to tip the cap. South Carolina’s secondary didn’t play poorly. No one in that secondary should lose confidence. Get back on the beam this week and continue to make solid plays.

The playbook against an FCS opponent should be very simple and vanilla in nature. If complicated plays are being used in these games, the better opponents on a schedule will be able to get game film on those plays, which removes the element of surprise. With a simple playbook, the importance of the offensive line being more physical grows considerably. The boys up front need to become monsters in the red zone, where several South Carolina drives died last week against North Carolina. Finishing drives inside the 20 and 30-yard line is paramount for the Gamecocks as this season continues.

Key 3 – Cornerback Confidence

North Carolina receivers made some amazing catches last week against good coverage by South Carolina’s defensive backs. Sometimes, the opponent makes a great play, and you just have to tip the cap. South Carolina’s secondary didn’t play poorly. No one in that secondary should lose confidence. Get back on the beam this week and continue to make solid plays.

Saturday‘s game kicks off at 11:00 AM CT (12:00 PM ET). Watch on the SEC Network.

SEC Football Stories For This Week

GameFirst Looks3 Keys
Game
Preview
HighlightsFinal Stats
W. Virginia vs. MissouriW. VirginiaMizzouPreviewMizzou 38, WVA 7Stats
C. Southern vs. S. CarolinaC. SouthernUSCPreviewUSC 72, CSU 10Stats
Tulane vs. AuburnTulaneAuburnPreviewAuburn 24, Tulane 6Stats
N. Mexico St vs. AlabamaNMSUBamaPreviewAlabama 62, NMSU 10Stats
USM vs. Mississippi St.Southern MissMSUPreviewMSU 38, USM 15Stats
Texas A&M vs. ClemsonClemsonTexas A&MPreviewClemson 24, A&M 10Stats
E. Michigan vs. KentuckyE. MichiganKentuckyPreviewUK 38, E Michigan 17Stats
UT Martin vs. FloridaUT MartinFLAPreviewFlorida 45, UTM 0Stats
BYU vs. TennesseeBYUTENPreviewBYU 29, TEN 26Stats
Arkansas vs. Ole MissOM / ARKARKPreviewOle Miss 31, Arkansas 17Stats
Murray State vs. GeorgiaMurray StUGAPreviewUGA 63, Murray St 17Stats
LSU vs. TexasTexasLSUPreviewLSU 45, Texas 38Stats
Vanderbilt vs. PurduePurdueVandyPreviewPurdue 42, Vandy 24Stats
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