The human vortex that is Jadeveon Clowney seems to have swallowed every aspect of the South Carolina football program's preparation for the 2013 seasons.
But, believe it or not, there's more to the Gamecocks' program than the No. 1 pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. Speaking of the Draft, the departure of aptly-named return expert Ace Sanders creates a void that South Carolina will have to replace if the Gamecocks hope to better last year's 11-2 mark.
As a team, the Gamecocks ranked ninth nationally in punt returns in 2012, and second among teams with at least 30 returns. Here is what special teams coordinator Joe Robinson is looking for to replace the SEC's leading returner.
“Judge the football, catch it and be able to get north and south right now,” Robinson told the Charleston Post and Courier. “I think if you look at some of the guys that aren’t as successful, they’re chasing the ball sideways. They’re not able to burst north and south because they’re unsure of the catch. I think the confidence and the ability to catch the football and get that immediate first 10 yards, and then let all the magic happen.
“I think a little bit of that confidence comes when (the punt returner) believes we’re going to protect him. If he doesn’t believe he has the proper protection, it’s kind of hard to stand back there and be confident. I think that all goes hand in hand. We won’t get as many live looks (in game situations) in the spring, but we will be able to find out who can judge it and who can catch it and who can set their feet. That’s one of the things we’ll be looking for this spring.”
There is not a better coaching term than "and then let all the magic happen". There just isn't.
See a couple examples of what Robinson is trying to replace as Sanders lets all the magic happen against Georgia and Missouri.