Garnet Report is Shutting Down

A few years ago, a small group of University of South Carolina students set out to do something really cool – not totally knowing what that something was.

It is with great nostalgia that I write now in April 2015 to announce that that something – what eventually became the sports media website Garnet Report – is shutting down for good.

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We launched Garnet Report in 2012 with hopes of delivering a package of links to news, weather and sports – everything USC students would want to read when they wake up in the morning – in a daily email. 

When that didn’t catch on – take note, as this will become a trend – we turned Garnet Report into a sports news website.

We hired a small staff, filling our writing team with motivated and creative students who didn’t need to be paid to write about the Gamecocks.

We experimented with our coverage, trying out different weekly columns – running with some and abandoning others. We held a pick ‘em contest one semester, started a “Talking Garnet” weekly webcast another and even co-hosted a Super Bowl watch party one year.

Along the way, we became a student organization and fully-credentialed media outlet at USC, giving our writers the chance to cover practices and games. 

We covered football, baseball, basketball and women’s basketball – not to mention the occasional sand volleyball match – and made our way to several SEC and NCAA Tournaments, including one trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Garnet Report’s triumphs were few and far in between, but they were sweet nonetheless. There were moments we felt like we’d made it; waking up in a faraway hotel room and driving over to some arena, stadium or ballpark isn’t the worst way to spend a weekend.

But there were also nights we spent hours crafting our columns, only to wake up the next morning and see that they had gathered just a few dozen page views.

Simply put, if we had done it for the money or attention, I would have had to write piece this years ago.

I like to think we all got something out of Garnet Report. Some of us turned the hard work, face time and access that Garnet Report offered into paying writing jobs elsewhere. Others just enjoyed the chance to cultivate their writing voices in a low-pressure environment. Some left after two or three pieces, and others stuck around for the long haul. 

We all made friends and developed personal and professional bonds that will last a lifetime.

We’d like to say thank you. Thank you to the many thousand people who read our stories and few thousand who tweeted with us and the 12 people who bought those endearingly dull Fear the Fish t-shirts.

And if you’re a former “Garnet Reporter” reading this, know that I appreciate everything you did to make working on the site such a blast. You have all made this venture entirely worthwhile.

Avery Wilks,
Former Editor-in-Chief

P.S. This site will remain active for the next year or so, so our old writers will have some time to backstop their work. But Garnet Report will no longer be operational.

25 Predictions for South Carolina vs. Missouri Revisited

By Avery Wilks

I have no words.

Photo Courtesy of USA Today
Photo Courtesy of USA Today
  1. Ronald Patrick will play through the pain Saturday, regardless of the pain in his ankle or the moon boot he has to wear over it during the game. Yup. And South Carolina needed him.
  1. South Carolina will drive down the field for a touchdown on its first drive. Nope.
  1. Elliott Fry will make at least one field goal of 39 yards or less. Yep. Had a 20 yarder and a 40 yarder that became the game winner. 
  1. In a fourth-down situation within the field goal range of the average kicker, but just out of Fry’s (42 yards or so), Spurrier will trot out the offense to go for the first down. Called it. Happened in the first quarter.
  1. Dylan Thompson will be sacked at least three times. Nope. Averaging five sacks a game in SEC play, Missouri only had two sacks tonight.
  1. He won’t have one negative thing to say about his offensive line anyway. (Seriously, what a guy.) Not a chance.
  1. One Missouri fan in attendance will come up with the most unique and incredibly fun “Cocks” pun OF ALL TIME. Nope. Maybe next time.
  1. After a disappointing first half, Spurrier will hit the visiting locker room complimentary bottle service a little too hard, and Ray Tanner will have to call the plays in the second half. This was not the case, though I haven’t confirmed that Ray didn’t whisper something into his ear before the fourth quarter.
  1. South Carolina’s secondary won’t pick off Maty Mauk a single time. Wrong. Kaiwan Lewis had a first half interception.
  1. They’ll get close, though. Real close. Considering Jimmy Legree’s interception drop, this counts as a yes.
  1. South Carolina will score at least 35 points. Not quite, but the Gamecocks scored enough to win.
  1. A fit of rage will drive Spurrier to throw his headset, but after a short pump fake, he’ll think better of it and place it back on his head. I didn’t see it, but it could have happened.
  1. Mike Davis will rush for at least 150 yards. He gained exactly 150 yards from scrimmage, but only 51 were rushing yards. 
  1. Tyler Hull will log one punt of 40 yards or more. It’s a flimsy limb to go out on, but he’s due. Yep. Had three punts of 40 yards or more.
  1. Mike Davis will “shh” the crowd after one of his two touchdowns on the day. Davis didn’t score a touchdown. But if he had…
  1. Maty Mauk will miss the first half while out on a booze run, remember it’s Saturday and he has something important to do on Saturday, and pull a u-ey just before he gets to local ABC store. Minutes later, he’ll arrive at Faurot Field just in time to throw for 166 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Mauk threw for 175 passing yards in the first half.
  1. Pharoh Cooper will do something kind of cool on a return play in special teams. Cooper had a nice 21-yard kick return in the second quarter.
  1. A holding, block in the back, or clipping call will negate it. Nope, but he did get crushed by two tacklers on the play.
  1. Thompson will complete 55 percent of 38 pass attempts for 275 yards. Thompson completed exactly 55 percent of his 27 passes for 222 passing yards. 
  1. Brendan Nosovitch will make some sort of appearance. As always in the case of Parade All-American quarterbacks, special teams counts. Didn’t see him out there, but who knows.
  1. A South Carolina quarterback will complete a pass of 55 yards or more. Nope. The longest pass of the day was 26 yards. 
  1. If the receiver who catches said pass is Nick Jones, he’ll trip and fall five yards short of the goal line. If it’s anyone else, they go for six. I guess this one never had a chance.
  1. Missouri will have three plays of 30 yards or more. Yep. The Tigers had three plays of 32 yards or more.
  1. T.J. Holloman will lead South Carolina in tackles. Nope. Kelcy Quarles led the team with six tackles.
  1. South Carolina will defeat Missouri 38-31, extending the Gamecocks’ streak of consecutive weeks in the AP Top 25 to 57. I had absolutely no reasoning behind this pick, but it worked out. South Carolina’s season is saved, and Connor Shaw is a hero.

25 Predictions for South Carolina vs. Missouri

By Avery Wilks

In light of my getting boat raced in Garnet Report’s staff selections, I’ve decided to take a last-ditch effort at reclaiming any former self-esteem with 25 completely-reasonable-and-in-no-way-satirical predictions for the game at No. 5 Missouri. I’ll check back after it’s all said and done Saturday and see how many of these I got right, so stay tuned for that. Continue reading 25 Predictions for South Carolina vs. Missouri

Preseason Coaches All-SEC Team Announced

The Preseason Coaches All-SEC Team was announced Thursday, featuring five players from South Carolina. All-world defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and all-purpose specialist Bruce Ellington – who also made the third team as a kickoff returner – were featured on the first team. Tight end Busta Anderson, offensive lineman A.J. Cann and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles received second-team honors.

Here is a complete listing of the All-SEC selections, with Gamecock players listed in bold. Continue reading Preseason Coaches All-SEC Team Announced

Scouting the Gamecocks: Weapons in the backfield

Even as his nameplate resides in a locker room 2,315 miles away, no discussion of South Carolina’s 2013 backfield can begin without mention of Marcus Lattimore. South Carolina’s Mr. Football in 2009 before choosing the Gamecocks over Auburn on National Signing Day, Lattimore quickly became one of the best to ever don the garnet and black – despite missing ten games in his final two seasons with knee injuries. Continue reading Scouting the Gamecocks: Weapons in the backfield

Deja vUSC: TJ Gurley Steps In, Steps Up

Already drenched in sweat from his warmup on the grass carpet of Williams-Brice Stadium, TJ Gurley stepped out of the September sunlight and into the cool air of the locker room. After peeling off his clothes, he quietly he took out his garnet gameday pants and pulled them over legs chiseled from his first summer of training as a Gamecock.

He fastened his belt, then donned pads that felt like feathers compared to the chip he’d carried on those broad shoulders every day since most Division I programs overlooked him during his recruitment. Continue reading Deja vUSC: TJ Gurley Steps In, Steps Up

Deja vUSC: Adam Yates’s $30,000 Kick

This week, Garnet Report’s Avery Wilks and Rixon Lane take turns winding back the clock to relive a few captivating scenes from the 2012 season. Without further ado, Avery Wilks presents Adam Yates’ journey – a story of doubt, perseverance, and identity.

Adam Yates sat cross-armed on an aluminum bench on the Williams-Brice Stadium sideline, wearing a size-13 linebacker cleat on his left foot and a black size-10 UnderArmour soccer cleat with garnet laces on his right, his eyes following a football that leaped off of a freshman’s right foot and fluttered wide of the goal post.

The kick was the last play of USC’s first fall practice – a public scrimmage in the swampy mid-August Columbia heat – but Adam had watched from the sidelines since he was pulled after making every kick he took in the first half, including a 52-yarder.

Still, another successful day of practice had failed to answer the question nagging at the consciousness of the 6’1,” 196-pound redshirt senior from Sparks, Md., whose decision to walk-on at South Carolina came only after an offer from Notre Dame fell through. Coming into his fifth and final fall practice, why had the coaches still not entrusted him with a scholarship?

“Do you know why you haven’t been starting the last two years?”  He could still hear new special teams coach Joe Robinson asking, a few days after his arrival at South Carolina for the spring of 2012.

“Honestly, no.” Adam replied, wondering if his newest coach would be the first to explain why he hadn’t seen the field since handling the majority of the kickoff duties during his redshirt freshman year.

“The reason you haven’t been playing is because of the kick you missed in your freshman spring game,” Robinson said. The coach explained that the staff had recognized Adam’s talents all along, but they were not sure after that spring game if he could handle kicking on the big stage.

“Do you think you have a hard time in pressure situations?” Robinson asked.

“Not at all,” Adam replied. “I wasn’t feeling pressure that day. I was just a rookie kicker.”

“Okay then,” Robinson had said. “Then I’m going to believe in you.”

Yates had a solid senior season wearing garnet and black.

Robinson’s encouragement had been enough for Adam to dedicate himself to a new regimen of workouts over the summer before his final season – an extra hour or two of his own conditioning drills on top of every two-and-a-half hour practice, followed by another hour every other day kicking balls out on the practice field in the shadow of Williams-Brice Stadium.

Now, thirty pounds lighter and a summer stronger, Adam was still unsure of his future even as he sat on that bench at the end of the first fall practice. If the coaches weren’t willing to grant him a scholarship for the season, would it even be worth it to stick around another year?

Watching his teammates out on the practice field, he realized anew the camaraderie he expected to come with joining the team hadn’t been there for him. The thrill of walking-on to the team his freshman year had certainly soured in the four years since, and he could not help but feel like an outsider amongst the scholarship players, rather than a teammate.

After all, his parents had to break out the checkbook for tuition, and Adam swiped his Carolina Card to pay for his food at Russell House – where all the average students ate – while the rest of the guys he played with ate for free and palled around at the Dodie, a state-of-the-art academic enrichment center built for athletes.

Most of the guys Adam watched that day at practice got to live together in the Quads – suite-style dorms complete with a living room, kitchen, and private bedrooms and bathrooms.  Adam lived a few blocks away in a windowless 177-square foot room he shared with a non-athlete in Bates House, a dorm built in 1969. He remembered the thoughts of transferring plaguing him all those seasons he’d watched kickers from other schools with lesser talent warm up before games.  Had it really been worth it to wait his turn until names like Lanning and Wooten cleared the depth chart?

The doubts floating in his head scattered as he saw Spurrier motioning to him from the field.

“Alright first team, get out here,” Spurrier’s voice rang out as he ushered Adam off the bench to re-take the kick the freshman had just missed. The Head Ball Coach never liked ending practice on a missed kick.

Peeved at having to come off the bench and finish the practice after his legs had gone stiff, Adam trotted out toward his head coach in the middle of the field. As Adam approached the head coach in between the hashmarks of a sea of green Bermuda grass, Spurrier called in all the guys from both sidelines to crowd around the senior kicker.

“Alright, what we got here is, if you make this kick, you’re gonna be on full ride,” Spurrier said, his eyes cutting into Adam’s. “If not, you’re outta luck. This is a thirty-thousand dollar kick. I hope you make it.”

Spurrier turned to the rest of the team.  “Alright guys, I want you to crowd around,” he said. “I want you to make as much noise as possible.”

Adam YatesWith a look to the remainder of the crowd that had stayed the entire scrimmage, Spurrier shouted the same instructions.

“We want to make this like game situation,” Spurrier said to Adam, backing away. “We want to put as much pressure on you as possible. You’ve got to make this kick for real money and you’ve got to make the kicks in the game with a lot of pressure, so you better not miss this one.”

Adam tightened both of his cleats – the larger meant for support, the smaller tied as tight as possible onto his kicking to deliver a clean strike to the ball.  It was only a 42-yarder, a kick he had made thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of times in practice. Only, this wasn’t practice.

The lines were set, with Adam just a few paces from the holder. Moments later, the snapper rifled a Wilson GST football back to the holder, who planted it on the ground and turned its black laces and white strikes toward the end zone. Adam stepped forward. The kick felt great as his right foot thumped the light brown leather.

But looking up, he saw a gust of wind carrying it toward the left upright. For a split second, Adam’s heart stopped. Don’t go, don’t do it, don’t go, his brain commanded the ball as it soared toward the post.

An eternity later, the ball snuck in through the left upright. Dozens of garnet and black Under Armour gloves reached for the sky, and the entire team mauled Adam in the middle of the field. Amidst the ruckus, individual teammates came up to introduce Adam into the fraternity of scholarship players.

“Hey, I just want you to know, we know you’re going to make the kicks when we need them this year,” Victor Hampton said when he found Adam.  “We’re glad to have you as our kicker. Congratulations.”

After getting his fill of laughs and hugs, Adam found coach Robinson. “Congratulations,” Robinson said, shaking Adam’s hand and grinning. “I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more than you did.”

With that, Adam sprinted off of the field in his pads and cleats, toward the locker room, where he belonged.


Photo Credit: GarnetandCocky YorkDailyRecord BaltimoreSun