Good news, college football fans. We’re officially less than 100 days away from the first Saturday of the season.
To mark the occasion, we at the SEC blog will take a look at where all the conference teams stand right now.
Up next is South Carolina.
What we learned on offense: Will Muschamp and Kurt Roper have a lot of work to do. From quarterback to offensive line, we don't know what to expect from this side of the ball. The Gamecocks entered the spring with a quarterback battle, an unproven offensive line and receiving corps and relatively new faces at running back. Talk about starting ... fresh? Quarterback has experience with former starters Perry Orth, Connor Mitch and Lorenzo Nunez returning. But freshman Brandon McIlwain made the biggest imprint this spring with his athleticism and throws. Still, this area has a ways to go. Deebo Samuel and Matrick Belton return as the most experienced receivers (23 combined catches), but the coaches hope freshman Bryan Edwards, who was a top recruit and had a solid spring, can step right into to an impact role this fall. Losing Brandon Wilds leaves the Gamecocks with a major hole at running back, while only two starters return along the offensive line. South Carolina's offense really struggled to do much of anything in the first half of what was a pretty lackluster spring game.
What we learned on defense: There's going to be more bite to this unit with Muschamp leading the way, but this team still has to find consistent pass-rushers, and the secondary has to get things together. Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson criticized the secondary for most of the spring, and neither were very positive about their cornerbacks' ability to cover in one-on-one situations. Having Skai Moore back at linebacker was a major win for Muschamp and his staff. Moore, who can do just about everything within this defense, could have easily bolted for the NFL, but he decided to come back for one last season. Bryson Allen-Williams should also play a big part in Muschamp's defense. South Carolina is hoping Darius English really flourishes as more of a stand-up rusher at the outside Buck position.
Breakout player: McIlwain's play this spring had to put a few smiles on the coaches' faces. He's still a bit raw but is probably the most talented quarterback on South Carolina's roster. With his mobility, he fits what Roper wants to do with a more spread out, uptempo scheme. He led all quarterbacks with 169 yards and two touchdowns on 19 of 26 passing. He also netted 19 yards rushing for the Black Team. Mitch (the original starter last year before injuries cut his season short) and Orth won't give up the starting spot easily. And Nunez should put up a fight once he's back from his knee injury. But McIlwain is clearly the future at the position. The question is will that future be now?
Key storyline: Getting the defense in working order after it ranked last in the SEC in major categories in 2015 is a major priority for Muschamp and his staff. But who are we kidding? Everyone is going to concentrate on the guy throwing the ball this fall. This was the position where Muschamp's Florida teams really struggled. But he never had the depth there that he has at South Carolina. McIlwain could be the answer, but he's a true freshman, and he'll certainly take his share of lumps. Orth and Mitch are the most experienced, but will either fit exactly what Roper wants to do offensively? This, too, was an issue for Florida quarterbacks under Muschamp's watch. Nunez was a dynamic player in the pocket last year, but he has to improve his passing ability. This battle is far from over.