Josh Kendall is the South Carolina beat reporter for The State newspaper and GoGamecocks.com. Kendall is a 1995 graduate of Georgia, but lists his most memorable sports moment as watching Gamecock fans carry the goalposts out of their stadium following an upset over his Bulldogs in the year 2000. What happened to school loyalty? You can follow Josh on Twitter at @JoshatTheState. Probably should have capitalized the first ‘a’ in that Twitter handle.
1. What is the overall confidence level for South Carolina fans that the Gamecocks will come out with a win this weekend?
I think it’s average. The fans are very worried about the offense for obvious reasons and most I talk to can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that this is not the same Auburn team that trounced them in December.
2. Besides making sure Garcia shows up to the game, what are some of the major concerns for Spurrier for the match-up with Auburn?
He’s got to get his passing game in order. Marcus Lattimore still is Marcus Lattimore, but the Gamecocks have to give somebody a reason to defend the pass or Marcus will face eight in the box all day long.
3. Who are two or three unheralded Gamecocks that Auburn fans should worry about?
I’m assuming everyone has heard about DE Melvin Ingram (No. 6) by now. If not, they should have. He’s fairly amazing. Has three TDs this year, including a 68-yard run for a touchdown on a fake punt. Spur Antonio Allen (No. 26) also is having a fantastic season. DT Travian Robertson (No. 42) is an old-school tackle, but DT isn’t a sexy position to watch usually.
4. What are some of the positional match-ups that you see South Carolina having an advantage/disadvantage against Auburn?
Alshon Jeffery is a mismatch against anybody in the country but South Carolina has to be able to throw the ball to him. On the disadvantage side, the Gamecock cornerbacks have had trouble with a lot of people this year.
5. Although the Gamecocks haven’t looked stellar in the last few weeks, the East still seems to be somewhat up for grabs. Do the fans still feel like they have a good shot at getting to Atlanta?
I think so. They got past a historical road block in Georgia and, as you say, there doesn’t seem to be anything special about Florida or Tennessee. I won’t even mention Kentucky.
6. Why do people pump Lattimore’s overall yards, without mentioning the fact that he runs the ball 800 times a game making his average yards per carry so-so at best?
Because he’s the best back in the country at moving the chains and he make big plays when South Carolina needs them. Lattimore is not sexy but he’s an absolutely integral part of this offense.
7. What is your brief analysis/prediction for this week’s game?
South Carolina’s defense has a little confidence and the offense may finally have found a defense it can move the ball against so I’ll say Gamecocks 30, Auburn 23
8. Where do you see South Carolina ending up this season?
I think they probably end up in Atlanta, but nobody in the East looks like any threat at all to LSU or Alabama.
9. Where do you see Auburn ending up this season?
Fourth in the West.
10. Lastly, have you ever partied with Garcia? If so, let’s see the pictures…
Ha, No. I’m an old man.