Cloninger Soundoff: Could have been a lot worse

dcloninger@thestate.comJanuary 9, 2014 

It’s a back-handed compliment, and something that no coach should ever say to his team. This is for us media types to say.

“It could have been a lot worse.”

It definitely could have been harsher than the 74-58 thumping South Carolina took from No. 10 Florida on Wednesday. Frank Martin didn’t say that to his team; he told them that it wasn’t OK to lose, but he was proud of how they fought when the situation seemed doomed.

And that’s where it’s a compliment for me to say, “It could have been a lot worse.”

The game was headed to another 39-point drubbing when USC had no field goals in nearly the first 10 minutes. It was over. I’ve seen it far too many times before.

But the Gamecocks didn’t bow their heads, as they did last year, and made it a game. While I’m no predictor (see football season), that should also mean that this Florida loss won’t mean what last year’s did – the team giving up and the rest of the season being a quick trip to nowhere.

Recognize that feeling in your chest, even though it’s fleeting?

That’s hope.

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