South Carolina interim coach Shawn Elliott came out of Saturday’s season-ending loss to Clemson with a deeply uncertain future. His 1-5 record down the stretch all but ensures he will not be back in a head coaching capacity at the very least.
But he remained defiant about what his staff, now very much in the wind, will do in the coming days.
“We’re going out recruiting,” Elliott said. “We’re going to go out and spread the message of the University of South Carolina. This great institution, the opportunities they have here, the academic structure that we have in place, our athletics department with a great administration that leads this great program and talk about a lot of great things.
“That’s what we’re going to do, and that’s exactly what we should do.”
Elliott added South Carolina has been good to this staff, and that’s the first thing he intends to relay.
Moore mulling choice
South Carolina junior linebacker Skai Moore is still sitting on the question of whether to depart Columbia and make a run at the NFL. After the game, he admitted he’s watching how the Gamecocks’ coaching situation works itself out before making any kind of decision.
“I’m still weighing and seeing what’s going to happen,” Moore said. “Talk to my family and go from there.”
If he does depart, Moore will leave as the first player to lead the Gamecocks in tackles three years in a row since Tony Watkins in the early 1990s, and the first to lead the team in both tackles and interceptions twice since Arturo Freeman in 1996 and 1997.
At 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, he would be on the smaller side for a professional inside linebacker, but he’s quick and plays well in coverage.
Wide receiver Pharoh Cooper walked for senior day, as the junior has already made his intentions known he will declare for the draft. But he wasn’t the only non-senior walking.
He was joined by three redshirt juniors: safety Chris Moody, tailback Devin Potter and offensive lineman Clayton Stadnik.
A crucial swinging point came just moments after South Carolina scored a two-point conversion to cut Clemson’s lead to 28-25. On the kickoff ,there was some jawing and shoving on a touchback, and South Carolina got the worst of it with a 15-yard penalty that set up the Tigers on their own 40 (they promptly drove 60 yards for a touchdown).
Elliott said anytime that happens, it has an effect, both in terms of putting an opponent in better position and on an emotional level.
“That was not the way I wanted our football team to react,” Elliott said. “I told them we were going to go out there and we were going to play with class, and I didn’t want to see any mouthing.”
Gamecocks tailback Brandon Wilds was limited to three carries because of a concussion, and that changed the calculus of the team’s backfield. Quarterback Lorenzo Nunez led the team with 10 carries and 75 yards, but tailback Shon Carson made a bigger appearance than usual in his last college game.
Carson got 52 yards on eight carries and scored twice. It was his most productive day since 75 yards in the season opener.
“He’s resilient,” Elliott said. “He carries the football when needed, he’s been a positive influence on our football team because he very easily could have just spit the bit out and chosen to go on another path.”
The Gamecocks brought back their old-style garnet helmets to go along with an all-garnet look.