Josh Kendall answers five questions about the Gamecocks three games into their 2011 season.
1. Does this team still look like it's capable of winning the SEC East?
Sure, but so do a couple other teams right now. South Carolina must play a lot better to get through the SEC schedule without at least a couple losses. The good news for the Gamecocks is no one in the East looks like they are going to get through the schedule without at least a couple losses.
2. How valuable has Marcus Lattimore been - and what is his value moving forward?
You can't put a price on Lattimore at this point. He accounted for more than 50 percent of the offense against Navy. He dominated the fourth quarter against Georgia. South Carolina honestly might be 1-2 or even 0-3 right now if it didn't have Lattimore. He has 534 rushing yards and 66 receiving yards (the second-best total on the team). Those 600 yards of offense are almost exactly half of the Gamecocks' total yards this season (1,204).
3. Is Stephen Garcia going to break any school passing records?
It doesn't look like it. He needed to put up a pretty steady pace throughout the season. We are now a quarter of the way through the regular season and he has only 456 yards passing. That means he needs 2,744 more in the final nine games of the season (could be 10 if the Gamecocks play in Atlanta). It's not impossible but he's not on that pace right now.
4. Is it fair yet to judge the much-hyped defensive line?
Steve Spurrier thinks it is, and he hasn't been impressed. I'm not so sure. I say let them settle in now against opponents that aren't all over the map in terms of offensive style and let's see how they do.
5. Surprise players and disappointments so far?
The good surprises are Melvin Ingram (and I'll pat my own back here, that one is not a surprise to me) and Jay Wooten. Wooten has quietly made two long kicks that have been the difference in the last two games. That is nothing to take for granted. Overall, I'd say the wide receivers other than Alshon Jeffery have been a disappointment, although Nick Jones showed a little something against Navy. Bruce Ellington's absence from the offense hasn't really been his fault so it's not fair to label him a disappointment, but there are a lot of people wondering where he's been.