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NCAA Football South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina Football 2014: Top 5 Questions Entering The Season

South Carolina Football 2014: 5 Questions Entering The Season

South Carolina Football: 5 Questions Entering the Season
Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks enter 2014 as the popular pick to win the SEC East and get to the Georgia Dome. They have the talent to compete and to make some waves, but can they live up to expectations and win their division for only the second time in program history? We will find out soon enough, but if they truly have championship aspirations, here are five questions Steve Spurrier and company need to answer.

5. Can Dylan Thompson Lead a Championship Run?

Dylan Thompson, South Carolina Gamecocks QB
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

5. Can Dylan Thompson Lead a Championship Run?

Dylan Thompson, South Carolina Gamecocks QB
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We already know that Dylan Thompson is good enough physically to play in the SEC. He has filled in enough for Connor Shaw when injured to know what he brings to the table from the quarterback position. What we don't know is if he's capable of being the leader of a team, keeping his poise and being the centerpiece of a championship run. The Gamecocks need him to be that guy if they want to get to the Dome.

4. Who Becomes the Next Great Receiver?

Shaq Roland, South Carolina Gamecocks WR
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

4. Who Becomes the Next Great Receiver?

Shaq Roland, South Carolina Gamecocks WR
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Spurrier has had his fair share of great receivers since he has been in Columbia, as guys like Alshon Jeffery, Sidney Rice and Bruce Ellington have left voids behind them in different years. With Ellington gone, someone from the WR position needs to step up, stretch the field, and keep defenses from stacking the box against Mike Davis. Shaq Roland can be that guy, and there is other talent on the roster, it's just a matter of if they are ready.

3. Can Mike Davis Carry the Offense?

Mike Davis, South Carolina Gamecocks RB
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

3. Can Mike Davis Carry the Offense?

Mike Davis, South Carolina Gamecocks RB
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Davis burst on the scene last season in a big way to the tune of 1,183 yards and 11 touchdowns. He'll look to build on that in 2014 as the offense will center on him this season. He is easily the best weapon on the offensive side of the ball for the Gamecocks, and they'll need him to carry the load if the team is going to find success. If he plays like the Heisman candidate he's capable of being, the Gamecocks could have a special season.

2. Is the Secondary Good Enough to Compete?

Brison Williams, South Carolina Gamecocks S
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

2. Is the Secondary Good Enough to Compete?

Brison Williams, South Carolina Gamecocks S
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

After having great players in the secondary the last several seasons, the Gamecocks all of a sudden find themselves with a giant question mark in their secondary for 2014. The depth chart boasts six underclassman in the mix for playing time after their top three players from 2013 moved on by either the draft or transfer. They will be thin on experience and will need senior Brison Williams to take on leadership of the group if they want to compete

1. Who Steps Up on the Defensive Line?

J.T. Surrat, South Carolina Gamecocks DT
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

1. Who Steps Up on the Defensive Line?

J.T. Surrat, South Carolina Gamecocks DT
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously there are gigantic holes on the defensive line that need to be filled in the wake of losing Jadeveon Clowney and Kelcy Quarles to the NFL. Those two have terrorized the SEC the last several seasons, and their absence will be felt. J.T. Surratt has played with those guys and is a good player, but there are unproven commodities around him. The Gamecocks need to find people to fill these large shoes, otherwise it could be a long season.