Five things interim head coach Shawn Elliott will do:
1. Try for a turnaround
Elliott hasn’t been handed much in the way of talent, and the remaining schedule is as tough as the first six games. But he has an opportunity to polish his resume (which already had other SEC heavyweights calling) as a potential head coach. Find four wins in the next six and he’ll be able to pick his landing spot.
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Take one look at Elliott preparing his offensive linemen on gameday and say with a straight face that he won’t be competitive. Elliott has never accepted anything less than full-out effort, which is exactly the way he coaches. The season isn’t over, and he will stress that to his team.
3. Unify the offense
Again, the Gamecocks don’t have a lot to work with, but with Elliott in charge, perhaps there will be no more splitting play-calling. Elliott likes to run the ball and coach zone-read, and if he can get the personnel healthy (Lorenzo Nunez, Brandon Wilds), USC could perhaps slip its offensive shackles.
4. Rally the troops
As much of a legend as Steve Spurrier is, quitting on his team mid-stream may have left a few wounds on his players. Elliott has to soothe that. The best way to handle disappointment is to trump it with celebration.
It’s not fair that Elliott has to take over the team, but he has to look at it as his shot. It’s not “Win it for Steve,” it’s “Win it for Shawn.” An interim gig worked well for one other major college coach in this state.
-- David Cloninger