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August 29, 2008

Scouting the Gamecocks: Our Spies Hit the Road

Mike Floyd, long time Dawg fan and occasional poster here at the Georgia Sports Blog, was at the South Carolina vs. North Carolina State game. Below is an up close and personal opinion on last night's action. Good stuff. (image: Tommy Beecher/Photo by Erik Campos See all photos)
By Mike Floyd:

I went on a recon mission to Columbia last night and was not the least bit impressed by what I saw.

NCSU Thoughts:
First off, let’s talk about NC State for a minute. If these guys win a single league game, I’ll be entirely surprised. I’ve seen some bad teams in my day, but D-A-M-N. Truly, staggeringly awful. I’ll also add that working up a good, frothing hate for NC State would be about the same thing as randomly disliking Methodists or going on a rampage against vanilla ice cream. I’ve never seen a team or group of fans with less identity.

As for the Gamecocks...
They very clearly have a quarterbacking problem. Aside from McKinley, their receivers had a very hard time getting open. And for most of the game, it was a total jailbreak in the South Carolina offensive backfield, with NC State defenders running roughshod over the Carolina offensive line.

Oh, and let’s not forget that fans began booing – loudly, clearly and with no mercy – each time Beecher came into the game after his second interception. Stay classy, Gamecocks. It only took twenty minutes into his first game as a starter for the boobirds and cussing to start raining down from all over.

Apparently, their fanbase is far less friendly to the team when it is required to donate an additional $95 to the university when it comes time to buy season tickets. I must have heard them bitching about cost of tickets a hundred times night...they are utterly clueless about what other fans pay at schools like Florida, Georgia and LSU, among others.

Defensively, Carolina has a unique set of problems in that they’re hugely talented, but unsure of how to get it all on the field at the same time. If you wanted to put together a team full of defensive ends, then you could cherry pick five or six great ones in Columbia. Cliff Matthews (total stud, by the way…what a shame he’ll be playing in Columbia instead of Athens), Clifton Geathers, Justin Lindsay, Eric Norwood and Jasper Brinkley are all excellent players, but there’s only room for two defensive ends on the field so Brinkley and Norwood are being asked to hold down the linebacker position, where they’re badly out of place.

The ‘Cocks apparently don’t have anybody else at the position. Brinkley looks like he did his rehab at BoJangles, while Norwood might be even bigger. Teams with a lick of speed at tailback are going to run around the ends on South Carolina all season long.

They have no idea where to play Clifton Geathers...he lined up all over the field last night. Again, DE would be the ideal spot, but I suspect he’ll end up playing interior defensive lineman this year.

Yes, I’m well aware that Carolina usually plays Georgia tough. And, yes, I’m well aware that you can’t make too many bold predictions after one game. But from what I saw last night, Georgia may blows the doors off those guys in two weeks.
Well...what were your thoughts on the game?

See Also:
-- Georgia Bulldogs vs. South Carolina Gamecocks Tickets - Stubhub



Anonymous said...

my lone thought is that it was probably the worst played game i have ever watched. it was like watching B team girls basketball in high school.

Hobnail_Boot said...

The only time I noticed Geathers last night was when he was the only player on the field who didn't take a knee when NCState's QB was knocked out. What a guy.

I'll be curious to see how much more of the Cock offense we'll see vs. Vandy. They might have to top their hand a bit to avoid a losing streak to the Commodores.

C. Paul said...

A few thoughts:

They had a great shot of CSS after the third pick by Beecher - he was squeezing/rubbing his head - just fantastic.

Hobnail- I noticed the same thing about Geathers.

Cliff Matthews is a very good player.

Mike Davis starts full time next week.

As for the Cocks vs. Vandy - I dvr'd that game and was impressed with them. Miami U has some skill people and after the first few drives - it was over. Nickson looks much improved.

Go Dawgs!!

Anonymous said...

i thought uga would blow-out the gamecocks before i saw the game last night. now, i'm convinced. the dawgs won't forget what last year's lose did to their national championship opportunity. add to that the fact that usc's offense was dreadful, it won't be close. remember this comment in three weeks!

Anonymous said...

I tried to watch the first half, but could not stomach it. Might be the lingering effects of surgery a few days ago, but the offenses were horrible and not because of great defenses.

I am now more worried about CMU than USC.

Is there just something about USC that will never allow them to be a serious contender? Maybe Spurrier is not the great coach everyone thought he was. At UF he got talent our the wazzoo and was around at a time when the rest of the SEC was not able to catch up to UF. Well, those days are gone for a while anyway where a single team is going to have that kind of run.

Spurrier has not coached up those players. I am not sure how much longer he will be able to hang in there.

Not many coaches win big at 2 schools...

Anonymous said...

0-3 at halftime? Man, I love tightly contested defensive battles. [/sarcasm]

Anonymous said...

I thought the Pac 10 offered the game of the night and also sported Thursday's Prime Time Performer: Toby Gerhard. He look tuff.

I'm not putting any stock into S. Carolina's performance last night. They've got another game to improve and an extra day of rest between Vandy and us. That and memories of 2000 are enough for me to stray from predicting certain victory.

That said, if NCSU's rb could move the ball like he did at times, I'm pretty sure Knowshon can do better.

kc said...

I see the same old Spurrier QB nonsense...

And I see our DL and LBs building a summer home in USC's backfield...

And I see Knowshon running rather rampant, especially in the 2nd half...

But, Spurrier hates us for all the right reasons and, as per usual, will do anything to beat us, so I see a tough game, as per least for the 1st half...

Go Dawgs

Hunker Down said...

That game was so dull that I was tempted, for a nanosecond, to turn over to the Democrat Convention. Then I remembered that MTSU was on CSS and was saved.

The Cock n Misfire offense is not good, but we never have to worry much about their offense. We always have troubling scoring on these clowns for whatever reason. We need to run on them because they have pretty good talent in the d-backfield. If we run well on them, everything will work. And as Gen. Stoopnagle indicated, if the NC State back ran for around 100 yards, our RBs should have a good night.

Anonymous said...

South Carolina looked about what I expected...solid and experienced on defense with decent depth this year, good on special teams, and struggling on offense.

If they can avoid injuries, they can upset some people. They usually recruit a competitive first string, but their talent drops off considerably, especially on offense.

However, I won't make any predictions until I see Georgia play.

Anonymous said...

USC still worries me because their D is still nasty. All it takes is a few miscues by UGA and it becomes a close game.

It's still hard to say just how bad NC State is. But beating another BCS team 34-0 is what it is and still has to merit some sort of respect.

I continue to worry about our trip to Columbia.

Anonymous said...

Dear sweet baby Jesus. You don't even have to try with these guys. They do all the work for you.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Souletrain about SCAR's (can't call them USC anymore) defense. Also, I hope guys don't get the mindset of us being able to walk in there and name our score. With the bulletin board SOS put out last year after the upset in Sanford that shouldn't be a problem. Did anyone notice the starting TB's name was Rank, and I suspect Smelley will be the starting QB.... Seems fitting for SCAR football.

Anonymous said...

Another reason to hate South Carolina...

Anonymous said...

Let me start this off by saying that I enjoy looking at this blog when I want to learn about the Bulldogs and I respect the opinions I find. But I've gotta ask: do Georgia fans really think that the Dawgs are going to walk into Columbia and win by four touchdowns? I swear I hear this every year, but every year we get the same result: a close game, usually a Georgia win, but occasionally a Carolina win. Last year we looked a lot worse in the opener against LA-Lafayette, but we still beat you guys. This year, we beat a BCS-conference team 34-0. There are certainly problems, but as one of the wiser commenters said, 34-0 and holding the opposing team to less than 200 total yards is what it is. If this team finds a QB and the offensive line play improves, and it may have done just that when Smelley got in the game, we may turn heads this year. I'm not saying we'll beat you, b/c I think you guys have a nice team. But the idea that you're going to wipe the floor with us goes against reason as well as historical precedence.

Anonymous said...

You're right that it will probably be a close game as has become the norm.

However, a 34-0 win doesn't mean nearly as much when CSS's QB of choice to start the season throws 4 interceptions and rekindles the ever present QB controversy ya'll seem to have on a yearly basis. Toss in the fact that NC State is in big time rebuilding mode and lost their starting QB when the game was still extremely close and it comes down to looking for something positive. When you have to search for something positive to say about beating a young, weak ACC opponent that speaks volumes.

Smelley looked good but against a defense with zero depth that was clearly worn out by the second half. I think we can all agree that this won't happen against Georgia. They did hold you guys to 3 points in 3 minutes of play. What does that say about the blocking and running on offense?

I have respect for many of the players at SCAR (Brinkley and Norwood in particular) and I never underestimate the Evil Genius, but if all your hopes are hanging on Smelley and no one steps up to fill those gaps, its gonna be a long season.

Anonymous said...

*30 minutes of play

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm well aware the NC State and Georgia will be like night and day. Heck, from the looks of it, Vanderbilt will probably be a much stiffer test than State.

But at the same time, do you really think we'll look as bad as we did last night when we play you guys? First of all, you can probably quit dreaming about getting to feast on Beecher. He may play some next week against Vandy, but Smelley will play against Georgia. Second of all, Jamon Meredith, one of our best offensive linemen, will be reinstated for the Georgia game. That unit will be better. Finally, you know the coaching staff is saving their best hand for you, although Vandy may force that hand next week. Ellis Johnson is probably already thinking about what sorts of packages he will need to stop Knowshon, and you know that Spurrier will coach one of his best games of the season against you.

Again, not saying we'll win. You'll be favored, and rightfully so. But I'd be really surprised if we don't give you a game.

Anonymous said...

I rarely say this, but UGA wins going away over USC. Of course GSU and CMU still stand in the way.

I'll say Vandy takes SC down as well.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You think we'll lose to Vandy? Yeah, they beat us last year. We had lots of injuries. They almost beat you last year, too.

Vandy looked good this past Thursday. Good for Vandy, I mean. They beat down a marginal non-BCS team that may not break .500 in the MAC. I saw part of the game. Nickson looked good, but their offensive line, as expected, was awful, and that against a defensive front that is a nowhere near as fast and powerful as ours is. Nickson was able to bail them out by making some nice scrambles, but he'll be broken in half against us if his line doesn't play better.

Not saying I don't respect Vandy. I expect a tough game from them, especially considering that it's in Nashville. But I expect we'll win.

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