User ID
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Betting Tools

Gamecocks confident they'll keep winning

New customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina linebacker Kiawan Lewis believes the Gamecocks' success won't stop now that stars such as Jadeveon Clowney and Connor Shaw are gone.

''I still love all my great former teammates that I've had, but it's a new team. New faces that are here looking to make an impact,'' he said Friday. ''It's going to be another big season, as big as we can make it.''

That's a high bar to clear. Clowney, Shaw, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and receiver Bruce Ellington were some of the catalysts for an unprecedented run of South Carolina success: the Gamecocks finished 11-2 each of the past three seasons and last January were No. 4 in the national rankings for the team's highest finish ever.

The Gamecocks took part in the yearly summer Pigskin Poets event at the Richland County Public Library on Friday. The players were swarmed by grade-schoolers for autographs after reading books and singing songs.

Lewis, a junior, knows the Gamecocks can't worry about who they've lost as they get ready to report to preseason camp in two weeks.

''We had great offseason training, so we're going into camp optimistic and trying to keep everybody healthy and have a great season game by game,'' Lewis said.

Others share Lewis' belief. The Gamecocks were picked as preseason favorites to win the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division at the league's media days this week, despite not having a player selected to the all-SEC first team.

South Carolina's players won't pay attention to the high expectations for the team - or the low ones for individuals, said receiver Damiere Byrd.

''It's not anything we worry about,'' he said. ''We just want to keep getting ready for each game.''

Byrd is a senior - considered the fastest player on the squad - who has yet to fully live up his potential as a consistent deep threat with 48 career catches. Byrd, who had offseason knee surgery, knows he's one being counted on to fill the void left by Ellington, last year's leading receiver taken in the NFL draft's fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers.

''Bruce had given us production that we loved and that we needed,'' Byrd said. ''As he moved on, it's time for the younger guys and other veterans to take that place.''

Byrd and the other wideouts will have a new passer under center in Dylan Thompson, the backup for Shaw the past few seasons. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has called Shaw perhaps the greatest quarterback in team history, yet believes Thompson has enough experience and talent to keep things going.

''We really believe he's a very good player, has a chance to lead us to a big season,'' Spurrier said this week.

Perhaps the largest hole the Gamecocks need to fill is on the defensive line, where Clowney chased down quarterbacks and disrupted offenses for the past three seasons. Clowney gave up his senior season for the NFL draft, where he was taken No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans.

Besides Clowney, playmaking defensive tackle Quarles and rangy, fast defensive end Chaz Sutton are also gone, leaving a bunch of spots to fill by players who haven't had lots of experience.

Lewis said it's a similar scenario to last year when the Gamecocks entered the season after losing five senior linebackers or safeties from a year earlier. There were adjustments to make, he said, but by the end of the 2013 season the group had found their footing and helped South Carolina finish fourth in SEC defense and 19th nationally.

The Gamecocks will look to junior Gerald Dixon Jr. and sophomores Gerald Dixon and Darius English to pick up for the lost linemen.

''I'm optimistic about it, I think they'll have great seasons and definitely be key contributors to this defense,'' Lewis said.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 13
Nelson: Texas Tech at Texas
Sportsbook: USF, UCF hook up
Sportsbook: Wolverines host Buckeyes
Williams: ACC Report - Week 13
Williams: Big 12 Report - Week 13
Williams: Pac-12 Report - Week 13
Edwards: SEC Betting Notebook
OU 3rd, Iowa 4th in rankings; ND 6th
Why Buy Picks From
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAAFB Hot Streaks
15-2 last 17 Picks, 33-9 L42 Streak
7-1 L8, 12-3 L15, 27-10 L37 Run
13-1 G-Plays, 29-16 Picks TY
11-2 L13, 27-10 L37, 10-2 G-Plays
4-1 +690 Tues., Hit Ohio ML (+500)
15-8 +1,125 L3 Sat., 22-11 L33
16-7 L23 G-Plays, +1,115 TY
6-0 Pick Run, 7-2 L9 G-Plays
10-2 Guarantees This Year
12-3 Last 15 CFB Picks
12-6 Guarantees This Year
7-3 L3 Saturdays, 4-1 L5 G-Plays
10-5 L15 Picks, 17-9 L9 Saturdays
3-1 Saturday, 9-3 L12 Selections
2-0 Tuesday, 10-3 Last 13 Picks
4-1 L5 Guaranteed Plays
13-6 Last 2 Saturdays
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks - Texas Tech Red Raiders at Texas Longhorns
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 2649
Scott Pritchard + 1360
Greg Smith + 1125
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1185
Brian Edwards + 1020
Kevin Rogers + 480
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 69 %
Greg Smith 64 %
Marc Lawrence 60 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Greg Smith + 1190
Brian Edwards + 826
Marc Lawrence + 825
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1466
Scott Pritchard + 940
Paul Bovi + 605
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 2375
Antony Dinero + 1573
Paul Bovi + 1220
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership