David Cloninger

Camp Insider: Pharoh will make the best of double-teams

South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (11)
South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (11) gmelendez@thestate.com

“Unknown” and “questions” have been the buzzwords of camp. South Carolina won’t get a good gauge of what kind of team it is until midseason, simply because the inexperienced players have to go play.

The Gamecocks have that one established guy, though.

“I’m going to do the same thing I been doing last year, doing my job,” junior receiver Pharoh Cooper said on Monday.

That would be a huge burden off USC’s shoulders. Cooper is the one guy on the roster who could turn the game around by himself.

He knows he won’t sneak up on North Carolina or anyone else. He knows to expect extra attention.

He also knows how hard it is to truly run a double-team in football, since by numbers, somebody would be left open. Cooper has experience with the formation, but doesn’t know what the Tar Heels will do since they’re in the same defensive boat as USC – new coordinator, new schemes.

“It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be difficult,” Cooper said. “If I’m double-teamed, they probably won’t throw the ball my way. The other receivers have got to be ready, they don’t know much about them.”

He can be the decoy to open somebody else, or the Gamecocks can get the ball to him any way they can and let him be him. Cooper sees it as a battle of wills – sure, UNC will try to limit him, but they may not know how much he wants this game.

He could have been – probably would have been – wearing blue today if the Tar Heels had played his recruitment to his liking. Extra chip on his pads?

“Oh yeah,” Cooper said. “Oh yeah. Definitely.”