GAMECOCK SPORTS: USC should continue winning era

January 1, 2013 

The South Carolina Gamecocks’ “Glory Era” in sports should continue unabated in 2013.

New baseball coach Chad Holbrook has big shoes to fill, replacing Ray Tanner, who won two of the past three national championships. Making the trip to Omaha for the College World Series has become an annual rite for Gamecocks fans.

Frank Martin, USC’s new men’s basketball coach, has replaced Darrin Horn and brings with him lofty expectations because of his success at Kansas State.

Coach Dawn Staley led USC to the NCAA Sweet 16 this past season, and the women’s team started off the 2012-13 season with 10 consecutive victories.

The USC football team can win 11 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time with a victory against Michigan in the Outback Bowl.

A favorable schedule, the return of most of the offensive skill players and the emergence of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney as a dominant force should make the Gamecocks one of the favorites to win the SEC East.

Among the football story lines for the 2013 season:

• Who will be the starting quarterback? Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson return. Shaw was hampered by injuries during part of the 2012 season, but he has a stellar record as USC’s starting quarterback. Thompson showed glimpses of greatness in USC’s victory against Clemson.

• Can Clowney become the first exclusively defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy? He says that’s his goal, and big sack numbers could make that a reality.

• Who will replace Marcus Lattimore at running back? Mike Davis, Brandon Wilds and Kendric Salley are the top candidates.

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