2014 South Carolina Gamecocks Football Preview: Last Year: The Cocks were able to overcome a slow start to develop into one of more potent football teams in the country. However, coming of back to back National Championships the Cocks were a bit disappointed in the 11-3 overall record. But winning the SEC championship for the third straight year has tempered things a bit. Offensively the Cocks had one of the most balanced attacks in all of the NCAA. Conner Shaw was able to pass for over 3000 yards, while two runningbacks, Chad Johnson (214 att, 1235 yards, 12 tds), and Brandon Wilds (158 att, 1033 yards, 17 touchdowns) went over 1000 yards. Defensively the Cocks were lead by their nasty front 4 who lead the NCAA in combined sacks with over 40 as a unit. This Years Outlook Offensively: The bad news: Conner Shaw is gone to the NFL, as is the solid output of TE Justice Cunningham. The good news: The rest of the offense is back, including two 1000 yard rushers. Last year at this time we said the Gamecocks were at a crossroads of sorts. For the previous two seasons the Cocks had beat oppents on the ground via the legs of Marcus Lattimore. When the former Heisman trophy winner bolted for the NFL after his junior season the offfense was in a situation where they had to diversify in order to survive in the ultra competitive SEC. What we witnessed was a coming of age for the team and it's QB Conner Shaw. Now with a new QB at the helm will the Cocks be able to continue as a diverse offensive attack? Projected Starters: QB: Gilbert Bratton (soph) 85 overall, 86 speed, 79 acceleration, 88 throw power, 85 throw accuracy. Bratton looks to be cut from the same cloth as Conner Shaw and Stephen Garcia, moderately mobile, and with an adequate arm. How he handles the pressure of starting could go a long way in determining how the Cocks do this year. HB: The Cocks will use a tailback by committee approach again this season. The first two on the depth chart are Chad Johnson (Soph) All-American, 83 overall, 95 speed, 91 acceleration, 86 elusiveness, andFreshman 5 star recruit Marcus Harris, 80 overall, 87 speed, 85 acceleration, 86 break tackle. WR: Damiere Byrd, (JR) 85 overall, 94 speed, accelerationSeth Amos, (Soph) 85 overall, 92 speed, 95 accelerationKJ Brent, (JR) 83 overall, 92 speed, 85 acceleration OL: LT Brandon Shell (JR) 86 overall, LG AJ Cann (SR) 87 overall, C Ronald Patrick (SR) 97 overall, RG (SR) Ty Harris 83 overall, RT Cody Gibson 90 overall. This year's outlook defensively: The bad news two of the fearsome foursome DL are gone. Good News: Clowney returns for more! Last year the Cock's defense was an enigma. They could shut down the run, but struggled at times with the pass. But despite this they lead the NCAA in team sacks. It was a bit wierd to figure out, but Coach Easy summed it up for us recently at Media Days. "The rules are set up to help these teams throw the ball down field at you. We need to adjust our coverage a bit and make sure we do a better job against the pass and I think we will be okay this year." Can they adjust and go back to being the most dominant unit on the field for the Cocks? Projected Starters: LE Jadeveon Clowney 93 overall, RE Brandon Davis 81 overall, DT Kelcy Quarles, LOLB Joe Francis 76 overall, MLBs Charlie Wright 84 overall, and Lance Perry 83 overall, ROLB Cortez Anderson 81 overall CB Victor Hampton 87 overall, Justin Hall (All-American) 83 overall, FS Sheldon Royster 83 overall, SS Brison Williams 82 overall. Kicker Patrick Fish: 95 overall, will handle all kicking duties. Season Outlook: The Cocks open up tough with a match up with defending champs Arizona, and from there the Non-Conference doesn't get any better with a game against Notre Dame. But the Cocks should finish the regular season 10-2 with another shot at the SEC title game.