Sprints Needs a New Hashtag // 03.14.12

BASKETBALL

#darrinhornfreed
Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I have sometimes jokingly use the hashtag #freedarrinhorn on my infrequent tweets about South Carolina basketball. Part of my indifference to basketball is just that it isn't my favorite sports in the world -- but part of my indifference to college basketball specifically comes from the fact that the Gamecocks just aren't very good at it.

And I had my qualms about Darrin Horn from the moment he started -- luckily, writing on the Internet for five or so years gives you the links to prove such things. But that's not the reason for someone like Eric Hyman to fire a coach.

"I really feel, having been in this business for many years, you get to a point in time, you've got to turn the corner. I really don't think we got to where we'd be able to turn the corner. So therefore, when that happens, it just becomes more and more difficult to do it."

Hyman doesn't have an itchy trigger finger. He stayed with Steve Spurrier for several mediocre seasons despite Spurrier not being "Hyman's guy" -- and was rewarded with a 20-7 run over the last two seasons, the best in South Carolina's long and long history. This was obviously the decision the athletics director felt he had to make.

Gregg Marshall is your dream candidate if you're a South Carolina fan. Of course, dream candidates are not always the ones who end up with the job.

Sometimes, you have to go ahead and feed the trolls
Yes, I know. This is probably exactly what John Clay wants me to do. But I do this so rarely in this space, and I just can't help it when someone writes something so flat-out illogical about my school.

It starts with sarcasm about how South Carolina has only been to the NCAA four times since 1975 and hasn't won a game there since 1974. It fails to point out that Darrin Horn has never actually taken South Carolina to an NCAA tournament and hasn't even gotten close since his first season. It then also uses flimsy logic like this.

Neither of those is foreign to the program, however. Fogler was 14-34 in the SEC his last three years there. Odom was just one game better, 15-33, his last three seasons.

So, to recap, a program that is a terrible program should always be a terrible program and just got out of the way for programs like Kentucky. How's that working out for the Wildcats in football, John? If Joker Phillips has another losing season and is (rightly) fired for failing to turn the program around, can we expect a sarcastic column from you about Kentucky always being mediocre and just needing to accept its mediocrity?

No matter, South Carolina has opted to tear up the game plan and start all over again, probably in hopes of luring home-state hero Gregg Marshall from Wichita State.

Um, John, that's what you do when a game plan isn't working -- you tear it up. What else are you supposed to do? Did no one ever tell you that when you're in a hole, you stop digging?

South Carolina fans are not delusional about their basketball program. (Football's another matter.) While I'm not a huge basketball fan, I would like to see the Gamecocks do relatively well, and my expectations for that aren't high. I'm not saying we have to win a game in the tournament every year -- heck, I'm not even saying we have to be in the tournament every year. Every second or third year would be nice.

No fan should ever have to put up with mediocrity just because. This isn't about South Carolina having a team that wasn't lighting up the scoreboard every night; this is about South Carolina having a team that had become completely uncompetitive under Horn. Ten of South Carolina's 14 regular-season SEC losses were by double digits, including a 34-point annihilation against Kentucky. To stay with that isn't something laudable, but an insult to the fans who pay money to go to games and contribute to scholarship funds for the players.

Yes, Darrin Horn had some accomplishments while he was at South Carolina -- including winning games with Dave Odom's recruits, something Dave Odom seemed entirely incapable of doing.

Other than just trying to troll for trolling's sake, I still can't figure out what cause John Clay to pen this particular missive. I guess seeing your football team go 1-10 against an opponent in its last 11 games -- which, I would point out, is worse that Horn's record against Kentucky -- is enough to make anyone bitter enough to take a cheap shot at the first opportunity.

Gamecock Man says it well
From a South Carolina fan who actually watches a large number of the games.

Regardless of the causes, the fact of the matter is that Horn's teams won less and less games each passing year. His last team was one of the worst BCS-level teams in the nation, ranking very lowly in many statistical categories and suffering embarrassing losses to non-elite mid-major competition. I don't think anyone expected the Gamecocks to challenge for a national title this year, but this team was simply bad, and that was unacceptable for a fourth-year coach charged with building this program.

This has an elegiac feel to it, no?
Rick Stansbury, you are on a very hot seat after your team lost its first NIT game. Are you going to be fired when it's all over?

"You know, I haven’t given it any thought and I think you know this: what we’ve done through 14 years speaks for itself," Stansbury said. "That’s all I can say about it."

Translation: It doesn't look good, but I really hope not. Meanwhile, Renardo Sidney is tweeting cryptically and there are other rumors surrounding the team. So the smart money probably isn't with Stansbury, but we'll wait and see.

The women's basketball team already has a new coach
And hiring Vic Schaefer was a "no-brainer." Ole Miss fans, I'm not even going to write that joke for you.

Spoil sport
You know that lovely bracket you've prepared.

Or, to put it another way: "You’re just as likely to win Powerball three consecutive times as you are to picking a perfect bracket by flipping a coin," Weimerskirch says.

Coincidentally, these are also the odds that Georgia will have a more difficult football schedule in 2013 than the one they fac in 2012.

Since when is Kentucky a swing state?
Or is it really just a coincidence that the president chose Ohio State, Missouri and North Carolina as his other Final Four teams?

SCOREBOARD

(BASEBALL) Florida coasts against FSU
It's a 9-2 win in which the Gators still used five pitchers.

(BASEBALL) Ole Miss loses first game at Louisville
The score was 4-3 after a late comeback attempt by the Rebels.

(BASKETBALL) Tennessee wins against Savannah State in NIT game
The Vols will face Middle Tennessee State in the second round.

FOOTBALL

And by 'we,' I mean the guy who had this job before me
Will Muschamp on having a relatively small pool of players likely to be drafted:

We need to do a better job recruiting, need to do a better job evaluating, need to do a better job developing our players and coaching, that’s the bottom line.

Awaiting a response from Columbus.

What is this 'power game' of which you speak?
The running game is changing at Florida, Muschamp says.

Mo Isom misses out on LSU for not doing something most kickers can't do
There's no reason to not believe Les Miles when he explains Mo Isom not making the team for now -- but this doesn't exactly fit in with all of your stereotypes. No, not about women -- your stereotypes about kickers.

It's not the kicking. It's the tackling, Miles said.

"When we go to kicking off into the corner, we count on our kicker making some tackles," he said. "And it's just not something I'm comfortable she's ready to do. It's one of those spots you really can't put a person that cannot tackle."

She can try again in the summer, Miles said, and Isom indicated that's exactly what she intends to do.

Spring Injury Ward, Part I (South Carolina)
Some guy named Marcus Lattimore is on this list.

Spring Injury Ward, Part II (Florida)
With comments from Will Muschamp that probably won't make Urban Meyer angry.

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