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September 10, 2008

Thoughts on the South Carolina Game


My biggest worry
Let's say South Carolina gets the ball first, returns the opening kick to our 40 and picks up a TD via an early broken coverage. The chickens could then get their feet under them, the crowd would sense hope, and we would be in for a fight all game.

We have two glaring weaknesses right now. The first is kickoff coverage which I think is tragic, and the CB spot not manned by Asher Allen. In other words, the above scenario is within reason.

What Victory Looks Like
If we get the ball first and don't turn the ball over on our first possession, I think we're going to score in convincing fashion. If we follow that up with quality kickoff coverage, we might see a snow ball effect. With a two TD lead early, their fans will start booing and their players will start laying down.

Bubble Burst?
I talked to the world's most optimistic Gamecock fan on Monday. He said the Vandy loss was a "hope robbing experience." This is a guy who was optimistic even during the 0-21 streak, and he told me that he's never seen the Gamecock fans in such a tailspin.

All joking aside, the Gamecock fans are well known for their boundless optimism. This is especially true entering the Georgia game each year. The convergence of the early date on the schedule and their overheated sense of "This is the Year" result in a madhouse feel for our game.

This year could be different. This is only the third season since 1987 that the South Carolina Gamecocks will enter their game against UGA with a loss.
    2002 - SC entered with a 1-1 record following a loss to UVA in Week 2. However, they had beaten Ohio State in the Outback the year before. That victory combined with a win over 8-4 UGA in 2001, kept Chicken spirits high.

    1999 - SC entered 0-1. They lost to NC State in a monsoon. The loss to the Wolfpack made 11 losses in a row overall. Optimism was very low heading into Athens. UGA won big 24-9 in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated.

    1989 - SC entered 2-1-1. The tie was at Virginia Tech, and the loss was to a WVU team that went undefeated in '89. Enthusiasm was still pretty high.
The point....this might not be the same optimism fueled team or fan base that we usually see in Columbiaville. Losing 6 of your last 7 has a tendency to take the wind out of your sails I guess.

The first five minutes of this one will tell you what you need to know. If Katharyn slips a certain someone's "evil" meds into his gameday water, this thing will be over before it starts.

See Also:
-- Data Source: College Football Data Warehouse
-- Tickets: UGA vs. South Carolina Gamecocks



JasonC said...

A lot of people have made comments about SCar using this as a game to turn it around and to be fired up after losing to Vandy (twice). However, I think Richt can still play the 12-16 card. "If we would have taken care of business last year, we would have had a shot at the MNC. Don't let these guys do it again."

I agree... a big punch in the nose to stun and dismay the crowd would be great.

Anonymous said...

The end of '07 pass rush needs to show up soon- Saturday would be a good time. That'll help the cb problem you mention. I've confidence Richt will get the KO coverage sorted. Fer fk sake lets put a hiding on these basturts.

C. Paul said...

Absolutely, 100% correct.

This game has nothing to do with the COCKS and what they want, if we come out focused and execute we win.

And a +1 for the "tragic" comment about our kickoff coverage. You can not continue to give teams like USC, ASU, UT, LSU, Gay-turds & AU the ball on the 35-40 and expect the defense to hold every time. And I know that they want to stop the other team more than I ever would when they run down there, but surely they've looked at the film and stats and know that we've got to improve.

Trust the coach, trust the team.

Go Dawgs!!

Anonymous said...

They always play us close because we get them early in the season before they realize how bad of a team they really are.

I hope the Cocks have come to that realization last Thursday.

Anonymous said...

Spurrier has said before that he puts all of his time into beating UGA. They usually play their best game of the year against us and then blow other games that they shouldn't.

The major problem with our kickoff coverage is the directional kicking. If Walsh can kick it through the endzone, what is the reasoning for not doing it? It usually ends up with the opponent starting on their own 35. I do think that Richt and co. have been playing very conservative these first 2 games, so hopefully this will be the coming out party.

Anonymous said...

apparent by his first ever college field goal, blair walsh has a leg... why dont we kick it through the uprights on kickoffs and let them have the ball at the 20? i agree with aphiz

dstarnes said...

It seems that our O usually struggles in this game and starts to come together later in the season. I realize that some of this is due to their D, but I think some of it could be attributed to lack of a really dominant running game and an out of sync passing attack. This team is different. If we had been really utilizing Knowshon at this point last year, we would have won (or at least given it to him after he took as all the way down the field instead of three straight incomplete and a field goal late). I think we beat the feathers off them and send them back to Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to change directions...but it's funny to me that nobody has mentioned that the meeting between USC and Ohio State combines the two teams who have managed to lose the last three BCS national championship games...all to southern teams.

Scott said...

It's not all about the strategy...Richt has said on multiple occasions now that there have been several times that Walsh has been given the green light to kick as far as he can, and he's just missed it. What happens then is that it's a line drive kick to the 5 yard line, and the coverage team hasn't had a chance to get downfield.

This is a really big issue, especially as we get into the meat of the schedule.

Eric said...

I'm not concerned with the blitzing yet. So far the D-line has shown that they're ready to play, but I really believe it's the coach play calling. Why show all the defensive schemes in the 2 preseason games? The few times they did blitz heavy, it seemed to work. Just wait until this week, and even moreso next week when facing Rudy. I'm sure there will be more defensive packages unveiled that weekend than they've played so far.

Unknown said...

I pray that Evil Richt comes to live, and reminds Steve that this ain't the 90's anymore.

Anonymous said...

Evil Richt needs to come alive this week and stay in character until we are on the plane back from Miami with a crystal football. Go Dawgs!

Will said...

I'm also not yet concerned about the lines.
The first two opponents we were expected to win without much of a fuss, plus neither had a traditional drop-back style QB.
No fancy blitzes+mostly 3-step drops is going to equal low sack #s most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Evil Richt is like Batman. He knows when he's needed, and he'll be there to save UGA.

Yeah, Spurrier beat us last year. Granny Holtthhhh beat us two years in a row, and suddenly crazed cluckers proclaimed "we've passed UGA by." Then what happened? We beat Lou into submission the next few years, then started beating Spurrier when he came. This is where order gets restored to the local neighborhood.

I say this is the week that we beat South Carolina like they stole something, and erase all doubt in the minds of Chicken fans that Spurrier-Columbia present day isnt and isnt ever going to be Spurrier-Gainesville 1996.

Vandy lit them up for 27, and they couldnt outscore Vandy. We have a much better D than Vandy, and a much better O. Assume the Chicks play harder against us in the first half, but they're outgunned too much on both sides of the ball. The second half is going to be ugly.

It's just my opinion, but it's not like I'm some Tech fan predicting Paul Johnson will take them to BCS title this year.

Muckbeast said...

Hahahahaha evil meds.

Yes, those would help. :)

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Gamechicken said...

Go Cocks...We won last year because of a horrible decision by UGA not to run Knowshon very much. Our run D was horrible and they did not see it.
We outplayed Vandy last week but made horrible mistakes. Don't look so much into that.
You guys are better no doubt.
Smelly stinks. Maybe Garcia will be a spark plug.
I will tell you now though that this is a good test of UGA's offense. USC's defense flies and hits very hard and is one of the best D's in the league. I hope that it comes down to Stafford winning the game because I do not think he has it in him. On the other hand if Knowshon gets going, which he could, it could be a crusher for us. But the coaching staff choked last year on their game plan and hopefully they do the same this year. Honestly I see a very close, low scoring game and all the Dog fans are going to start to worry about Stafford again.

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