A few ‘Cocky observations

While I don’t want to read too much into last night’s results from Columbia, given the caliber of opponent (if Southern Miss is expected to win its division in CUSA, it must be a down year in that conference), it’s only fair to point out that any time a team wins by four touchdowns, it must be doing something right.  There were definitely positives from the game that South Carolina fans should get excited about – and that the Georgia staff should take note of.

Here are a few things I saw:

  • Marcus Lattimore looks to be the real deal.  Even better for SC, he’s the kind of running back who can make an offensive line look better than it is.  He ran with authority between the tackles and is going to be a challenge for Georgia’s newly reconfigured front seven.
  • For South Carolina, that’s a good thing, because I didn’t see the huge step forward for the ‘Cocks’ line that many claim to have observed last night.  They struggled with blitzes most of the night and didn’t exactly overpower the USM front seven in their run blocking.  On the other hand, when there wasn’t a blitz, they looked good maintaining a pocket for Garcia to throw from.
  • Garcia looked like Garcia playing against a crappy defense.  USM’s secondary against USC’s receivers was a mismatch from the get-go (it didn’t help that the refs completely ignored the steady stream of pushoffs – some of them pretty blatant, too – by Carolina’s receivers), but Garcia threw some pretty balls when he settled in the pocket.  There were also plenty of short passes to make the completion percentage stat look good, and that’s something we should watch to measure how much progress Warren Belin has made in getting Georgia’s linebackers to cover the short passing game.
  • On defense, Carolina looked as solid as you’d expect an Ellis Johnson-coached bunch to look.  They played very vanilla and were able to do so because USM’s offensive line was weak enough to be handled with just the defensive front four.  It also helped that Southern Miss’ wideouts simply don’t block downfield, allowing the safeties to clean up everything in front of them.  They did pay a lot of attention to DeAndre Brown; if they take the same approach with A.J., Georgia has to make Carolina’s defense pay for that more consistently than the Golden Eagles did.
  • Easily the biggest surprise last night for me was seeing how much of the old swag Spurrier reclaimed.  I’m not talking about his behavior.  I’m talking about his playcalling.  As vanilla as Johnson was, the OBC was anything but – tons of formations, a very nice reverse call, a little wildcat were all on display, along with the old staples.  That’s the sign of a confident man who believes he’s got the weapons to play with again.  It’s almost as if he was challenging Grantham to see how much he could absorb and get his defense to absorb in a week’s preparation.

By the way, if there’s a more obnoxious broadcast crew that ESPN intends to spring on us than what we were subjected to last night, I’d appreciate some warning.  Jesse Palmer and Craig James are close to unlistenable.

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76 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, The Evil Genius

76 responses to “A few ‘Cocky observations

  1. anon

    Palmer has been bad since he set foot in Bristol. James has been decent before, but last night was very bad.

    I would type more, but Alshon Jeffery keeps pushing me away from my laptop . . .

    Seriously, those WRs extended their arms into the DBs on practically every pass.

  2. baltimore dawg

    your last point is the one that stood out to me the most, too. but is spurrier still gong to have the confidence to do that kind of play calling when the defense is bigger and faster? i think it’s crucial that uga’s defense assert itself early in that game to shake spurrier’s confidence to call the plays he wants to run. it’s a tall order for a brand-new d, but not as tough as playing behind against a wide-open spurrier playbook.

  3. hodgie

    did anyone else notice the hit gilmore put on the sm wr that caused him to sprain his ankle late in the second half? the ball was uncatchable and gilmore hits the sm wr low. the ref did not throw the flag. however, it was an extremely dirty and unneccesary hit and is going to cause a guy to miss a few weeks of the season. i can only think if that were one of our own he would have been flagged, ejected and suspended 4 games.

    • Phocion

      I didn’t think it was a ‘dirty’ hit at all. The ball may have been away but the db was going to the ground and just barely got a touch on him. The sprain only occurred because the wr couldn’t get his leg out from underneath him as he was trying to keep his balance.

    • Zdawg

      yea flagged, ejected, suspended for for days and arrested by the Athens police.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Not sure about Gilmore, but the stream of flags, especially in the 2nd quarter, made the game hard to sit through.

  4. There was a lot of pushing back and forth with the receivers and the DBs last night – look for Richt to bring that up in pregame to the officials, along with that offsides we kept forcing by standing up when the D jumped into the neutral zone.

  5. Chadwick

    Awful broadcast crew and just behind them were the SEC refs. That was a poorly officiated game.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Ditto on the broadcast crew, but it looked to me like there was method behind the referees’ madness, particularly when the score was 0-0 and Southern Miss had the ball, but really the whole game. Looks like another year of crooked SEC refs. When is the league going to fix this?

      • I thought pass interference should have been called on the interception that ended USM’s first drive, but let’s not kid ourselves, Mayor, Southern Miss deserved most of the penalties called on it last night.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          I’m no USM fan.In fact, I don’t like the school because of the way it treated its previous coach who had 14 straight winning season for that third rate institution before being fired for going 6-5. The no-calls on SC were the big thing, IMO. And I agree with you, that interception was as a result of pass interference. No call.

  6. Biggus Rickus

    I thought Lattimore looked okay. He carried 14 times for 54 yards, good for 3.9 per carry. And his long was 8 yards. He made some tough runs inside, but I really don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agreed. Considering the opponent and the number of carries, I thought he’d get closer to the century mark.

  7. west coast native

    One of the best things to do with that crew is hit
    the mute button.
    Umm, thinking about it pretty much any ESPN
    crew-mute button.

  8. JohnW

    14/52/3.9 is not the second coming of anyone. Making “tough” runs(his long was 8 yards for crying out loud) against SM wouldn’t be something I would get all crazy over.

    SC believed before the game that this was their year to breakout. Saw what they wanted to see against a over matched opponent.

    • Dawgfan17

      If he looked that good to get 3.9ypc against Southern Miss it has to make you really think their OL is as big a weakness as everyone has talked about in the preseason.

  9. Section Z alum

    jesse palmer used the word “football” three or more times in a sentence so often that i lost count. ack.

  10. hailtogeorgia

    I enjoyed listening to someone in the crew (I think it was James) talk about how Conor Shaw makes the defense gameplan for a mobile quarterback; he adds a different dimension than Garcia.

    Umm, maybe it’s just me, but isn’t Garcia a mobile quarterback as well? Surely Shaw can’t be that much faster than Garcia.

    On that same note, I’m looking forward to the first time that Garcia tries to run through an SEC linebacker the way he bounced off USM’s guy on the sideline. Watching the replay, that may have been the slowest spin move I’ve ever seen. If there were any other defender anywhere close to him who was paying attention, he would’ve been splattered midway through the spin.

  11. jferg

    Lattimore looked good considering this is his first time running against non-high school kids. Granted, USM was not much better than some HS teams….but that’s the argument for Lattimore. He’ll be a bruiser as he gets older and bigger, no doubt.

    I’m glad USCe had a big win. That will turn up the intensity and focus for the Dawgs (I hope).

    I was wondering last night what our goal line D would look like. Do we shift into 5 down linemen versus 3?

  12. Julie

    Crompton looked as good when we played Tennessee last year as Garcia looked against USM last night. Both games the linebackers were invisible in pass coverage. We will soon see if Warren Belin is as good as advertised.

  13. Silver Britches

    USM’s defensive gameplan was to play 10-15 yards off the receivers – even in the red zone. Spurrier saw it and exploited it all night. USM did nothing to adjust. It was pretty appalling.

    USM did drive pretty deep the first two times they had the ball only to shoot themselves in the foot. Overall, I think the final score was a little misleading.

    • DWH

      “defensive gameplan was to play 10-15 yards off the receivers ” … that sounds oddly familiar to another defensive game plan that we all used to enjoy so much.

  14. USM didn’t play to win, they played not to get too embarassed and failed at that. Going for that field goal at the end of the 1st half was plain pathetic when they needed to do something to get back into that game.

    Color me unimpressed with Garcia. His #’s were big because he basically did what he did against Georgia, WR screens and short dumpoffs on crossing routes. He didn’t complete one difficult throw last night and I can’t believe he’ll have as much ease with the short passing game against Grantham and Belin.

    That Shaw kid made the most impressive throw on the night on his TD pass. I see why Spurrier was so uncertain about Garcia now.

    I tend to agree with Silver Britches that the final score was misleading, but don’t be mistaken, that game was never in serious doubt after the 1st quarter. Sakerlina’s gonna have a little swagger next week, but let’s see them do that against a defense with a pulse before saying that this year is “the year”.

    • hailtogeorgia

      I don’t know, I remember two deep pass plays that Garcia completed that I was pretty impressed with. He made some good throws on the night.

      • Biggus Rickus

        He looked good when he actually stepped into his throws. But he inexplicably throws off his back foot way too much, and his accuracy goes to shit when he does.

        • hailtogeorgia

          I was encouraged by how bad their line looked anytime USM pressured them. There were a few times where it didn’t even look like anyone was blocked. I have a feeling our new blitz-happy defensive coordinator will delight in the game film.

      • anon

        He had plenty of time on those throws. He looked less than average when he was pressured.

  15. Turd Ferguson

    I always enjoy when announcers can offer really insightful explanations of plays, etc. — like, e.g., when they can explain well the advantages and disadvantages of a certain defensive scheme.

    But with Jesse Palmer, I swear, it’s usually stuff like, “That was a pass play, right there!” Or, “That time, he ran it up the middle!” It’s as if he’s secretly narrating the game for some blind friend of his that might be listening.

    • ChicagoDawg

      The take on Palmer was too funny. He is pretty much a door stop, but his banality is pure enlightenment when contrasted to the drivel of Craig James who may be the dumbest man on the planet. What James lacks in intellect he seems to compensate for with obnoxiousness. This man is without peer. Literally, if he were breath heavy into the mic or grunt, caveman style, for 4 quarters he would bring more to the broadcast than he does with his withering assault of suck.

      • hailtogeorgia

        I heard James say last night that the definition of moxie is someone who has a ton of heart and no talent. I always thought moxie was just not being scared…being able to take on anything that came at you and come through it more or less unscathed. It may involve a ton of heart, but I never thought a lack of talent was associated with it.

      • Zdawg

        ‘Withering assault of suck’ +1

  16. Turd Ferguson

    By the way, while I was generally impressed with the Gamecocks’ offense (perhaps aside from the guys up front), I wasn’t really impressed with their D-line (or LBs, for that matter). I suspect our run game will be quite a bit more effective than USM’s, even without Ealey.

    If we can take Spurrier and his newfound moxy out of the game by simply keeping their offense off the field, we’ll be fine.

    • Nate

      I was going to say the same thing. They looked like weak sauce to me. When SMU’s quarterback has a long 5-count to throw on most passes, what do you think UGA’s O-line is going to do to those guys?

    • hailtogeorgia

      We should have Ealey for the USC game, though, right? Everything I’ve heard is that he’s handling the things he was supposed to “handle” well and that there shouldn’t be another game tacked onto his suspension.

      • Turd Ferguson

        That’s right. I should have said, “… even if we have to do it without Ealey.” I think all signs currently point to him playing next week.

    • FJ

      Totally agree re: the run game.

  17. Scorpio Jones, III

    I hope all youse guys are right about South Carolina not being as good as they looked to me.

  18. Mike

    Senator says;

    “It’s almost as if he was challenging Grantham to see how much he could absorb and get his defense to absorb in a week’s preparation.”

    At Florida, that was a Spurrier staple in the warm up games prior to the Tennessee game. The Evil Genius would often show several new looks and formations in the two games before Tennessee, only to eschew them during UT, while then springing something totally different on them. He used to tie Chavis up in knots.

    I look for Spurrier to try and be at his Machiavellian best against the new UGA defense, with the front seven players still trying to adjust to their new roles.

    That said, UGA has a significant talent edge against USCe. I predict the usual close win by Richt’s guys.

  19. peacedog

    Senator, do you have an AOL email address by chance? I just got mailed this post, but not attributed to you, by someone who has one.

    I wanted to double check and make sure it wasn’t you before I decided whether or not to get snarky.

  20. 69Dawg

    Let’s face it, if I’m the DC for any team we play, I put 8 in the box and make the kid beat me. If UGA’s Oline can beat me with 8 in the box it’s going to be a long day. SCU will do it early and often.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Call me crazy but I actually thing the Dawgs can run effectively against 8 in the box with the o-line and backs we have.

      • Dawgfan17

        So you would leave AJ Green 1v1 on the outside and Charles running free in the middle of the field? I will take my chances that Murray to Green/Charles would get any team out of an 8 man front real fast.

  21. Luther

    Noticed at the end of the game as Palmer was going over how well USC’s schedule sets up for them, that he said “Georgia at home,” which Craig James immediately responded “win.” So I guess thats decided.

    • DWH

      Pffft, yeah ESPN’s hacks are ready to crown the winner of UF/SC the SEC East champs already. That slobbering, old fart Lou H0ltz announced it after the game, so it must be true. And why not? They did play a powerhouse CUSA school last night and apparently they have the second comings of Steve Young at QB and Jim Brown at RB. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted the boys to beat SC so bad as I do next weekend. Sweet poetic justice it shall be.

    • hassan

      ugh…I rewound that six times to make sure I correctly heard that bit of broadcast douche baggery.

      JP – “Georgia at home…”

      CJ – “That’s a win”

      • JK

        Do yourselves a favor and order one of these little miracle workers:

        http://www.sportsyncradio.com/

        little radio that delays the broadcast up to 8 seconds so you can match it up with the video feed, and you can plug it into a stereo using the little red and white plugs. Tested it on a braves game this summer; it works.

    • Dog in Fla

      - Craig James immediately responded “win.” –

      Why does Craig hate America?

  22. Hobnail_Boot

    If they play D like that against Georgia, Orson is gonna have a field day.

  23. Those of you saying that Garcia and Lattimore looked average last night are cracking me up. Garcia looked excellent other than on one or two balls and Lattimore was phenomenal for a true freshman. And the defense will not look like that next week, so don’t get your hopes up too high. Johnson showed none of his cards. Expect much more aggression next week as we try to rattle your freshman QB.

    All that said, I’m expecting a lot of improvement from UGA this season, as well. We still have some major question marks on the offensive line, and if if Grantham and his crew play their cards right, they should be able to make some hay there. I expect the usual tightly contested game. Good luck tomorrow.

    And yeah, James and Palmer are virtually unlistenable.

    • Will (the other one)

      Less than 4 ypc against a CUSA d is “phenomenal for a true freshman”?

      Y’all really have been starved for a decent running back haven’t you?

      • Pay attention to where the yards were coming from. He turned a few three-yard losses into three-yard gains.

        As usual, the line is our problem. They seem to be perhaps a little better than in the past, but they were still a bit shaky against a defensive front that will hardly be what we’ll see later in the season.

        • Vinings Dog

          I thought Lattimore looked good. He gained yards several times where it looked like sheer leg drive made the difference. I hope he goes pro early so we only face him maybe three times. I thought Garcia did well too.

          • Thanks.

            With Garcia, I think the most encouraging thing was how smart he played. No sacks and no interceptions must be a first for him. A couple of his passes were a bit errant, but I can take that as long as they’re not dumb passes.

            Not sure what to think about his willingness to get his clock rung. On the one hand, I keep thinking he’ll pay for that one day. But on the other, he got hit a bunch last year and did fine. He’s a big guy, not quite a Tebow, but certainly a big, strong guy. I remember coming over here this time last year and seeing you guys talk about how Garcia, after having taken some hits against NC State, would get murdered if he tried to run the ball against the Dawgs. He did fine.

            • Dog in Fla

              The only thing that keeps me from feeling as pessimistic as a Larry Munson is our new defensive coaching staff. South Carolina looked great against Southern Miss who has never been a pushover for SEC teams. We’ll be lucky to get out with a win. If we don’t, God help us all because this may finally be the year that Steve has been waiting for at South Carolina.

              • FJ

                Take comfort in the fact that that wasn’t your father’s SM defense. They finished 80th in the country last year in total defense and it was clear that they physically did not match up with a good SEC team.

                • Yeah, this isn’t exactly the USM that used to suit up back in the 90s. They weren’t exactly a cupcake, but they’re hardly the kind of team they’ve had at times in the past.

                  • Dog in Fla

                    To me the two most important games to win are against Florida and against Steve Spurrier. After last night, I don’t have a good feeling about the one against Steve Spurrier no matter how much everybody says Southern Miss looked like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Put it this way, if we look as good against USL tomorrow as South Carolina looked against Southern Miss last night, I’ll feel a little better but a Steve Spurrier strutting his stuff is a dangerous Steve Spurrier.

                    • Thanks for the sentiment. Like I ‘ve been saying, I do think this is the most experienced, talented team we’ve had under Spurrier–and maybe that we’ve ever had. What the Senator said about Spurrier’s swag is definitely something I noted watching the game last night. He also said something post-game about being sorry he didn’t score 50. He’s been very upbeat after practices. I don’t think this is the same coach we’ve seen over the past couple of years, the one that dreaded what new low his offense would get to by the next game. He seems very confident.

  24. Bryant Denny

    I used to like CJ when he was on Gameday before Herbstreit. I don’t know what happened. Maybe I was young and naive.

    Let’s face it, though, making this game sound interesting was a pretty tough job. The only thing it had going for it was opening night.

    If I was a USC fan I guess I would be excited, but beating USM is not saying much.

  25. FJ

    Make no mistake, that was an impressive performance and the Cocks are (at least) a top 20 team.

    That being said, I ain’t skeered. We have the talent be better. The question is will we be better on next Saturday.

  26. I am sorry to say that I still believe that USCe Is & will be as good as any team the Dawgs play this year.Those two have legitimate chances to win the East.GATA.

    • I agree with this. I think both of these two teams will surprise this year. The loser of next week’s game will be written off as out of the race, but by year’s end will be back in the thick of things.

  27. Mr. Georgia Football Returns

    Last Nights Game:

    1)South Carolina looked “well coached”.

    2)South Carolina execution was great! Almost flawless.

    3)Garcia showed maturity and experience.

    4)They reminded me of Alabama in their first game last season.

    Waiting to see if Georgia has these same qualities with the “highly touted” offensive line…………..not!

    • Reminded you of Alabama in their first game last season? Didn’t Alabama run a train on a Top 10 Va Tech team? I’m happy about what I saw last night, but I’ll wait until next week before I start thinking about how we stack up against the Tide.

    • Mrs.Georgia Football Retuurns

      Damn it! Are you on that damn computer again?!!! Get off that thing and come mop this floor!!! How many times am I gonna have to tell you to quit pretendin’ you know about football and typin’ on those damn blogs?!!! Those people all know you are a damn fool anyhow. Quit provin’ them right all the time!!!!