Posts by Teal Rooster

My name is Ryan and I live in Jacksonville, Florida. I cover the Tampa Bay Rays, Jacksonville Jaguars and all South Carolina Gamecocks sports for Sports Elite blogs. I have been a die-hard Gamecock fan since birth and a Rays fan since day one of the franchise. Both teams have broken my heart more times than I can count, but have given me many fond memories. Find me on social media: Twitter: @RyanCatoe1987

The Rooster Crows

For Gamecock fans, this has been a longer off-season than we have grown accustomed to in the recent years past. 

The three straight 11 win seasons, 5 straight over that team in the Upstate and going bowling 9 of the previous 10 seasons came to an abrupt halt last year. 

And what a year it was for our boys in Garnet and Black. It started off with some optimism in the week 1 win over UNC, but grew dimmer after that. After the horrible flood that plagued our beautiful and strong state, the sudden resignation of the ol Ball Coach and the home loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, the season felt like it was straight out of the twilight zone.

The team found a renewed energy when Coach Shawn Elliot took over the reigns, but was not ultimately enough to get the job done. They would win his first game against Vanderbilt, but lose to an in-state team that just seemed to want it more. 

Is that the best that we can do? We go from Spurrier to Coach Boom?

That Citadel game still just does not feel real to me. Add the embarrassing loss to Citadel and the fact that Clemson made it all the way to the title game, and the salt kept pouring into those gaping wounds for Gamecock football.

Then came the head coach search. Tom Herman is going to be the guy! He’s going to bring some real excitement to the team! Then add and remove several other names, and all of a sudden I had joked that we would end up with Will Muschamp. Will FREAKING Muschamp. 

Is that the best that we can do? We go from Spurrier to Coach Boom? This will never work. And then the man starts talking. In his opening interview he said he could sell ice to an eskimo, and I will tell you that he sold me all the crow I had been rattling off almost instantly.

Then there was the fear of the recruits we would lose due to the head coaching switch and Brandon McIlwain immediately came to mind. We were really counting on him to be the next guy to take over the reigns. If he leaves, that would just be a huge blow to the recruiting class. Not only does he get McIlwain to stay onboard, the staff goes out and gets Bryan Edwards, who is going to be a STUD.

The program is going under a rebuild, or as we are familiar with in the Bible Belt, a spiritual rebirth…

When the Gamecocks were successful, we were winning our state in recruiting getting Mr. Football for SC four straight years. Two are in the NFL, Jadeveon Clowney and Stephon Gilmore. One, Marcus Lattimore, would be a star in the league if it hadn’t been for a horrific knee injury. There has been a new emphasis on taking back the state and not losing them to Georgia.

So after all of this what can Gamecock nation expect out of the first year under the Coach Boom Era? Expect discipline. Expect energy. And expect lots of these faces in the first year or so. 

But that’s OK! The program is going under a rebuild, or as we are familiar with in the Bible Belt, a spiritual rebirth. They could go out and surprise everyone and win the East…not likely but possible. Muschamp has made his expectations clear: winning. Get ready for the rebirth of the Gamecocks defense that once caused fear in opposing teams. Hard hitting, sacks, interceptions and SOUND tackling. 

I believe Kurt Roper will have the offense viable this year and soaring in years to come. Coach Boom has even said that if he had hired Roper sooner he’d probably be at Florida still. Guess that Charlie Weiss hire didn’t work out too well.

Do Gamecock nation…get excited! Don’t take this season too seriously and enjoy your team rise from the ashes. With new uniform combos could we get a fire ants defense version 2.0? Could we get a return of Black Magic? Only time will tell, but the time is almost here!

We will keep you updated on any breaking news, injuries or position Battles. The Rooster is about to crow and Sandstorm will have the stadium jumping. Much like the players emerge from the smoke, so will your Gamecocks this season. Carolina….Forever to Thee.

2016 Jaguars Spotlight: Tashaun Gipson

By: Ryan Catoe

Good morning Malik, this is Shad Khan owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who would you like me to make this check out to? …and then he made sure to add some zeroes on for good measure. 

It’s year four of the Bradley-Caldwell regime, and the results thus far have left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths. Not even the best brews of the Bold City could make up for the lack of success on the field. 

People who are not fans of the Jags can now name a player without the initials MJD. 

The pieces have started coming together however, even if more so behind the scenes. Thanks to a huge push by the Bold City Brigade. If you are ever in Jax for a gameday, make sure to find your way to one of their tailgates and you will not be disappointed.

The Jaguars, who gave up an average of 28 points per game last season, ahead of only the New Orleans Saints, had more money to spend than anyone in 2016 NFL Free Agency, and they were far from bashful with the checkbook. 

They brought in household names like Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara on the defensive side of the ball. 

The concern for a lack of a pass rush should be relieved by the secondary help.

The run defense was middle of the pack, but the pass coverage was torched all season. These newcomers along with Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack are going to attempt to turn that around this season. The lack of pass rush and depth in the secondary contributed to a defense that could not get off the field on third down. The loss of Dante Fowler at the beginning of camp put a definite damper on the excitement and hope for the pass rush.

The streak continued with Jalen Ramsey as he had been rumored to being injured, but were fortunate to have him healed up and ready to go for training camp. 

The biggest addition to the defense in my opinion this season is safety Tashaun Gipson. The 2014 Pro Bowler adds a dimension that the team has been missing. That ball hawk safety who can erase a blown coverage and a defensive mind that picks up on audibles and route keys. The concern for a lack of a pass rush should be relieved by the secondary help. 

Whenever the pass rush would get through it seemed that a receiver would get unrealistically open. Then when the coverage could actually hold we couldn’t break through the wall of opposing O-Linemen. Having that veteran playing center field will force the quarterback to channel his inner Blaine Gabbert and hit that perfect 10 yards out-of-bounds throw away pass.

 It will allow Jonathan Cyprien to play a role more suitable to him as an enforcer. It will allow Cyp to play in the box and shut down the run and impose his physicality. Only the die hard Jaguars fans could name you more than a handful of players, and almost none could name one of the safeties.

Gipson brings a leadership and swagger that will be contagious with the suddenly deep defensive secondary. He will serve as a leader and teacher for rookie Jalen Ramsey. 

It will allow him to learn the ropes and have a solid player to learn from in the meantime. Gus Bradley said the team was “built” last year, but obviously we were a little ways from being complete.

 With the additions this offseason through the draft and free agency, the new look defense could have Duval partying like it’s 1996.