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August 10, 2006

Impact of the Thomas Flowers Suspension

Tuesday night I was driving home from work, and I was listening to Chuck Oliver's night time show on 790theZone. Chuck's the type of guy that will make a really lucid comment, but explain his reasoning using theories that ignore reality and depth charts in favor of cliche's and hunches. The type of guy that sometimes gets to the right answer, but you have no idea why or how.

Such was the case Tuesday. Chuck was talking about the UGA vs. South Carolina game, and the impact of the Thomas Flowers suspension. He argued (correctly) that losing Flowers would have a large impact on the punt return game for UGA. Fair enough.

Thomas Flowers vs. UT

He also argued that losing Flowers as the starting cornerback was a devasting blow. Huh?

By Chuck's own admission, Flowers had only seven tackles all of last year. All seven came against ULM, Vandy, UK and Boise State. He rarely played a meaningful snap at CB last year against a quality opponent. Yet, losing him is a painful loss when UGA has many highly recruited, fast kids at CB in the wings including Asher Allen, Remarcus Brown and Bryan Evans.

Chuck went on to explain his reasoning by stating that South Carolina's receiving corps is deadly as he threw out names like Sidney Rice, Noah Whiteside, Syvelle Newton, and MatthewCarlos Thomas (I think he included him). His reasoning, (paraphrase): "Spurrier's mastermind passing game with all of those WRs presents a real problem for UGA's DBs with the Flowers injury."

A look at the Gamecock WRs:
  • Sidney Rice - It's no question that Rice is a beast, and UGA will more than likely put Paul Oliver on him all night. Our best vs. their best. Flowers injury doesn't affect that matchup one way or the other.

  • Noah Whiteside has been suspended for the first three games of the season. So he's not a factor.

  • Syvelle Newton is trying to recover from an Achilles injury that caused him to miss most much of the 2005 season. Newton has been working to come back from the injury, although Spurrier called him out in the summer for missing voluntary workouts with the team. It usually takes a year to recover fully from an injury like that.

  • MatthewCarlos Thomas is an incredibly talented kid, but with the Gamecocks lack of depth at CB, he's starting the season as a DB. Spurrier will probably play him some on both sides of the ball vs. UGA. But not an every down WR.

  • Other guys like Kenny McKinley might be players, but they aren't gamebreakers.
So let me just ask....with Spurrier's #2 WR out for the game...his #3 WR is coming off a devasting achilles injury...and one of his top playmakers at DB....are we to seriously believe that South Carolina's 5 and 6 best healthy WRs are better than UGA's #3 best CB?

Spurrier is a great coach, but there is a large talent gap in that matchup.

If you want to talk about why UGA will struggle in Columbia, talk about the offensive line. Ken Shackleford is at one OT, and he really hasn't done anything of note in his 3+ years while Michael Turner has done less in his four years. Although both have potential. With Inman out, we've got real issues up front.

I'm willing to concede the point that UGA may struggle with the Gamecocks because we always do. But the loss of Flowers at CB won't be the reason.

Besides, UGA had the #2 passing defense in the SEC last year. Sure, we lost three DBs, but we ALWAYS have a top ranked passing defense with Martinez. Our problem last year was stopping the run. Not the pass. Just ask Kenny Irons or West Virginia.


BTW -- the Gamecocks lost Clarence Bailey a JUCO Offensive Tackle signee who was being counted on to start along the OL. Bailey was ruled ineligible. So it's not like they don't have their own problems.

The Great Syvelle Newton vs. UGA. (Image:


Anonymous said...

Good read. The mainstream media always let a good story get in the way of facts. Thank God for Blogs.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

Brace yourself for the tsunami of "Uh-uh Dawgs suck you guyz r gonna lose Spurrier is teh aw3som3 COCKS RULE!!1!!!!one!1!!eleven" that is sure to issue forth from the USC fans who venture onto this site. Only with a lot more misspellings and awkward profanity. God, I love those guys.

Anonymous said...


your use of "eleven" is the top of the punctuation mountain.

Anonymous said...

Chuck Oliver is referred to as "The King." This implies that he has reached the top of some mountain. Does anyone know what hill he has climbed?

Anonymous said...

Paul, please make the following corrections.

Matthew Thomas is a former South Carolina WR who got done in 2004. He was from Pearson GA, forget which hs he played for. The current Gamecock who played both ways last year, but is now exclusively a CB is Banneker alum CARLOS Thomas.

Syvelle Newton "miss most of 2005", he went down in game 7 vs. Vandy (on Oct 22), had surgery on October 26. Achilles injury are not easy to come back from, and usually takes much more than a year to get 100%, so I think redshirting would be best for him, personally.

Kenny McKinley is one to keep an eye on. Little guy, was a hs QB for South Cobb in Atlanta area, did decent in his first year as a WR, and could do some damage.

Anonymous said...

J Elmo-

I think he climbed to the high precipice that is Atlanta's own Stone Mountain. You know, the Kilamnjaro of the South.

Anonymous said...

Thanks begger. I fixed the Carlos thing.

Brain Fart.

Anonymous said...

The "King" lost ALL credibility to me when he said last winter that Matt Stafford would never take a snap for UGA.

Even if it was intentional pot-stirring, it was a beyond ridiculous thing to say.

Anonymous said...

Damn Paul, you went to great lengths to prove "the king" was an idiot. Would it have been easier just to post a link to the 790 web site? Yes. I appreciate your work nonetheless.

You must admit one thing though; his show gives you a tingling in the stomach, not because it's "that damn good', but because its college football.

Here's to "the king" for simply talking on the radio about something we all love. Despite his inability, he show is "that damn good".

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