We are a team without Murray and that defense from 2012, playing a team without Shaw, Lattimore, Ace Sanders. Oh, and Clowney and all those jokers from that defense. Other than the game being played in not Athens, is there any reason to think this game doesn't come down to South Carolina taking on and stopping Bobo's attempts to do what he does, which is figure out how to exploit your defensive weaknesses and use his newest crayon to draw plays on the fly to beat you?
All (mostly) kidding aside, I think we see a lot of what we saw in the first possession against Clemson. We'll likely tempo them early to test their ability to handle multiple sets on the fly. If Texas A&M and ECU taught us anything about South Carolina's defense, they are susceptible to offenses that don't give them time to regroup. If that is the case, even if Mason isn't dead on sharp, it provides tough decisions for South Carolina in focusing on our rushing offense.
The math there is simple: Georgia has a decent to very good rushing offense. How good remains to be seen, but if the Clemson game is a template, the we are very, very good. That being said, South Carolina either has to bring LBs up or trust their defensive line to handle what Will Friend's line throws at them, while trying to tackle some pretty good runners. To date, South Carolina hasn't been great at doing that, giving up over five yards per carry.
Then you have to factor in how to cover Rome/Hicks/Blazevich if you do bring up LBs in run support. One of those guys with a two step head of steam is a mismatch on any DB.
For my money, I don't think we'll do anything fancy, save a couple of plays that will riff of that toss sweep that Lorenzo Ward has burned into his defenses' brains by now. Honestly, why would we?
Defensively, it is hard to imagine Pruitt doesn't blitz the crap out of Thompson eventually. Yes, Mike Davis is a concern. Yes, South Carolina has the theoretical ability to sling the ball all over. Yes, we remain very young in the defensive backfield. I don't think we'll pin our ears back first out of the gate, though I'd love to see us blitz on the kickoff. I do think we'll work pressure from different areas than we saw against Clemson.
From a priority stand point, I believe we have to get Thompson out of his comfort zone. To do that, we have to make the Gamecocks put the game on his shoulders, while taking away his home run plays. That means keeping Davis in check, while bringing unexpected pressure in the backfield.
If you think about it, that is exactly how Texas A&M did them.
*unless, of course, I have more thoughts