David Cloninger

Is it wrong for South Carolina to be so upbeat after a loss?

South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth (10) looks back as he walks off the field after a loss to Texas A&M on Saturday.
South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth (10) looks back as he walks off the field after a loss to Texas A&M on Saturday. gmelendez@thestate.com

There are two schools of thought.

South Carolina’s players entered the postgame interview room like they’d just scored a date with Miss America. Perry Orth was doing Will Ferrell’s “You’re my boy!” to Hayden Hurst as Hurst credited him for a good game and everyone spoke of the substantial improvement the Gamecocks have shown since Steve Spurrier quit.

In that sense, it’s great to see USC still enthusiastic, still energetic, still believing that the season can be saved. There is little room for error after the Gamecocks’ fifth loss, but from players’ social media remarks, they absolutely know they’re going to win out.

The second school of thought is another movie reference. This one’s from Brad Pitt in “Moneyball,” disgusted at watching his team clown around after another defeat.

He asks one player, “Is losing fun?”

When he gets a no, he asks, “Then what are you having fun for?”

Would it mean more to see the Gamecocks hanging their heads, consoling a crying teammate or Tombstone Pile-driving a Gatorade cooler? Would it offer more of a glowing outlook for the rest of the season to see guys hurt more after a loss?

I honestly don’t know. Shawn Elliott surely wasn’t cracking jokes, knowing his team had just let a prime opportunity slip through its talons. Orth played well EXCEPT, the defense had some solid stops EXCEPT, etc.

There definitely are things that makes one think maybe USC can steal a couple against the looming Orange Crush. Orth played his best game, the offense looked like it knew what it was doing for the first time all year and Skai Moore, at least, gave hope for the defense. He revealed that he went to Jon Hoke and said, “Look, we need to do this to win,” Hoke let him, and USC nearly won.

Which is the right attitude? Does stressing good points and saying everything’s going to be OK give the Gamecocks the angry, this-ain’t-happening-again ferocity they might have after another particularly grueling loss? Or does playing mean take away from the fundamentals and discipline they need to truly break through?

I don’t know.

Perhaps USC does.

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