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Gamecocks Offense in Year Two Under Loggains

Gamecocks year two Loggains

The name “Dowell Loggains” did not exactly excite the South Carolina fanbase when head coach Shane Beamer announced his new offensive coordinator for 2023. Now, after a year of work in Columbia, Loggains is more comfortable as he prepares for year two. Outside of those wearing garnet and black, expectations are not high. Las Vegas set the over/under win total for the Gamecocks in 2024 at 5.5. If the under hits, expect all coaches to be in question, including Beamer. Anything over 5.5 will satisfy fans as it would ensure getting back into postseason play with a bowl berth. Inside the fanbase, expectations are sky high with a vastly improved running back room, bolstered offensive line, and redshirt freshman LaNorris Sellers taking over at quarterback. The Gamecocks offense can undoubtedly improve in year two under Loggains.

Unique Style

It’s challenging to define Loggains’s offensive scheme due to the unique blend of offenses he has melted into his system. As an offensive coordinator in the NFL for seven seasons and an offensive assistant for another six seasons, Loggains learned under guys like Adam Gase and Kyle Shanahan. He was the quarterbacks coach in 2014 in Cleveland under Shanahan, the team that drafted Johnny Manziel. After the NFL, Loggains began coaching at his alma mater, Arkansas, where Kendall Briles called plays. The Briles system is adaptable and successful, and it works with different skill sets and personnel. Then, Loggains made his way to Columbia, where he inherited an elite quarterback, an NFL wideout, and not much else. Therefore, it’s difficult to use 2023 to indicate what the Gamecocks’ offensive scheme will look like in year two under Loggains. Everything has changed.

All of the personnel have changed. The receiver group is full of little experienced sophomores, plus a handful of transfers. The running back room wins the award for most improved before anyone steps on a blade of grass for spring practice simply due to experience in 2024 vs. 2023. The quarterback is new as well. Then, as if Loggains didn’t have enough of a melting pot offense, Beamer brought back Shawn Elliott to coach tight ends and, more importantly, coordinate the run game. Elliott’s run game was highly successful at South Carolina during the greatest years in the football program’s history. He has also proven to have success running the ball at other stops. In year two under Loggains, the Gamecocks offense is gearing up to pound the rock. With four capable backs and a quarterback built like Cam Newton, Loggains can lean into the rushing attack to set up the pass in 2024. 

The New Face of the Offense

Gamecock fans have full confidence in Sellers as the next quarterback in Columbia. This confidence is present despite his having to replace the most talented quarterback in the school’s history, Spencer Rattler. However, with his limited action in 2023, he is still a major question mark. There is a precedent for second-year quarterbacks succeeding, but Sellers’ first campaign as a starter will be a test for the young, dual-threat player. Most notably, he has no proven receivers at the SEC level. Transfers Jared Brown (Coastal Carolina) and Gage Larvadain (Miami of Ohio) bring the most experience. Sellers will need to establish chemistry with all of his receivers. Naturally, the transfers are new to him, but building a rapport with fellow second-year players like Nyck Harbor and Tyshawn Russell is also crucial. Loggains may need to feature the tight ends more heavily in the passing game.

Better Up Front

The other significant question mark for 2024 is the offensive line. What was a perceived strength heading into 2023 proved to be a significant weakness. Injuries exacerbated the issue. Coupled with a running back group starting a converted QB/WR and a Division II transfer, the lack of protection up front hindered the offense from the first snap to the final one. In year two for Loggains, the Gamecocks’ offensive line looks to be improved. Mainly because up was the only way to go after 2023, but also due to increased health and added personnel. The portal brought depth and the top lineman in the MEAC. The Gamecocks also brought in two of the top tackles in the country via traditional high school recruiting. 

While the offensive line improvements won’t be fully known until September, if they can open any holes up front, the Gamecocks will produce offensively at a higher rate than in 2023. An underrated question mark for the Gamecocks offense in 2024 is the health of anticipated starting running back Rocket Sanders. An All-SEC back in 2022, Sanders was hampered mightily by injuries last season. At full strength, he is in the conversation for the best running back in the SEC once again. However, every player responds differently to injuries. If Sanders can be 75% of what he was in 2022, the Gamecocks will have success offensively. 

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid

There is much internal hype regarding the offensive production for the Gamecocks in Loggains’s year-two campaign as OC. The fanbase is buzzing, and talking season hasn’t even begun. However, expectations need to be realistic. The Las Vegas win total of 5.5 is a fair assessment. While the schedule for the Gamecocks is not as rigorous as usual (top five in difficulty), it is still a top-ten most difficult schedule nationally. With so many new pieces, the South Carolina coaching staff faces a great challenge. Developing talent in one year, bringing in new coaches at multiple positions offensively, and building chemistry among a cast of inexperienced players is not simple or easy. 

The Gamecocks rely on catching some breaks in 2024 to hit the over and get back to bowl eligibility. Expect Loggains to be run-first with lots of quarterback run. This style sets up the deep ball, which Sellers can throw. As he and the receivers develop over the season, look for Loggains to expand the playbook and become more balanced. If everything goes well, nine wins is the ceiling. But no college football season sees everything go well. Six or seven wins is a great success. The number one thing to look for from Loggains in year two with the Gamecocks is his development of Sellers as an all-around threat from the quarterback position. 


Gamecocks year two Loggains
Photo courtesy:  Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports


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