September 20, 2007

Who needs to step up?

Blake Mitchell and the South Carolina Gamecocks will travel to Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday with an opportunity to shake the college football world by upsetting the No. 2 ranked LSU Tigers. This article takes a look at five Carolina players who need to step up between now and Saturday for the Gamecocks to pull off the upset.

Lemuel Jeanpierre, RG, 6-4, 310, So., Orlando, Fla.

Jeanpierre is going to have the responsibility of blocking LSU All-American defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey at times and the other talented interior linemen on the Tiger front. There are signs he's becoming more comfortable with the offensive side of the ball, but he's facing a major test this weekend. USC needs him to step up to the challenge and have an excellent outing on Saturday afternoon.
Cliff Matthews, LB/DE, 6-4, 235, Fr., Cheraw, S.C.

Matthews is coming off his most productive game of the year last weekend, when he showed the ability to run from sideline to sideline and make plays against S.C. State. He was rewarded for his efforts by getting the starting nod this week agains LSU, and he'll do so at a brand new position - WILL linebacker. Look for the Tigers to test Matthews in pass coverage and to run right at him early in the contest to see what he's capable of.
Jason Barnes, WR, 6-3, 203, Fr., Charlotte, N.C.

I could just as easily listed Mark Barnes or Chris Culliver in this spot, but I have a feeling Jason Barnes is going to be given a chance to play a key role in this game. All three will be given a chance to show they can be counted on by the Gamecock coaches. Regardless of which one it is, at least one of these talented freshmen need to produce when called upon on Saturday afternoon.
Blake Mitchell, QB, 6-3, 211, Sr., LaGrange, Ga.

Mitchell is looking to rebound from one of the worst outings of his career, having thrown three interceptions against S.C. State last weekend. For the Gamecocks to have a legitimate chance of beating LSU, Mitchell needs to have an excellent game in more ways than one. He needs to be productive throwing the ball, but he also must handle the pressure he's sure to see from the Tiger defense throughout the day. It's also imperative that he protect the football, as LSU knows how to capitalize on turnovers.
Jared Cook, TE, 6-5, 249, So., Suwanee, Ga.

Carolina fans have been waiting for Cook to have the breakout game he's capable of, and this could be the weekend it happens. He has the skill set to create a size mismatch LSU covers him with a safety and a speed advantage when lined up against a linebacker. Don't be surprised if Mitchell looks to Cook early and often as the missing playmaker Carolina has been searching for.

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