Category Archives: ‘Cock Envy

Your small sample size stat of the day

I know, I know… we’re only two games in, but check out who’s last in the SEC in defensive third down conversions.  Then, check out the national stats.  Astoundingly bad.

Most of the bleeding is coming on passing plays where the opponent needs less than 10 yards to pick up the first down.  Opponents are 11 of 18 converting in those situations.

You can question Mason and the receivers all you want, but that’s the kind of distance situation Georgia’s passing game is more than capable of handling.  Especially with a better running threat to brace it than either of South Carolina’s previous opponents have.  I expect Bobo will come prepared to exploit it.

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A knockdown, drag out fight

Saturday may be shaping up as Bert’s kind of game.

South Carolina loses and that puts the ‘Cocks three games in the hole on beating Georgia for the East, with every other division rival still to play.  Not a place Steve Spurrier wants to be.

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Random Dawg-‘Cock stuff

Just a few tidbits for you to swirl around in your mouth for their tasty goodness:

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Sign of the times

I’m not dumb enough to equate what bloggers write to how teams and coaches are thinking, but I’ve gotta admit that, as I usually get tweaked by South Carolina folks for being overconfident about the SC-Georgia game, I’m amused to find this season I’m getting dissed for poor mouthing.

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Chicken stock

Tyler cites plenty of stats from South Carolina’s win last Saturday, but with all due respect, none of those are as important as this one:  M. Davis (SC) – 18 CAR, 101 YDS, 2 TD.

Mike Davis is back.  And he’ll be starting Saturday.

South Carolina is twelfth in the conference in total offense and dead last in total defense.  Spurrier acknowledges that this isn’t his most talented team.  His best player is Mike Davis.  Coaching 101 says get the ball in the hands of your best player as much as you can.  Mike Davis hasn’t been asked to carry the ball at Lattimore levels before (he’s only had 25+ rushing attempts in a game once), but Saturday may very well be the time to break that pattern.  Giving Davis a steady dose of the ball accomplishes plenty – it takes pressure off the South Carolina passing game, the Gamecock defense and keeps Georgia’s offense off the field some.

Check out Carolina’s last series of the game Saturday.  It was an eighteen-play drive that ate over ten and a half minutes off the clock.  Twelve of the plays – twelve of the last thirteen – were runs.  Pound the ball.  That’s what Spurrier wants to do next Saturday with that big offensive line of his.

I know Georgia’s secondary is the weak link of the defense.  I expect Spurrier to try some deep throws, especially if the running game helps sell play action.  But I expect to see a lot more of Mike Davis.

The psychology favors South Carolina, despite the difference in the two teams’ starts this season, because of the history in Columbia in the series.  Georgia hasn’t scored more than 20 points in a game there since 1994 and no doubt the stink bomb the Dawgs laid there on the last trip is still on the minds of the coaches.  2012 may be on Mark Richt’s mind, but the game I’m thinking of was the 2005 meeting.  Georgia had a ton of momentum coming off a Boise State win in which Shockley looked all world.  Spurrier came in with the least talented team he’s ever coached, and John Thompson as his defensive coordinator.  And South Carolina came within an eyelash of pulling off an upset.  I’m sure Spurrier would be thrilled with another blowout, but a grinder where his team takes advantage of a couple of slip ups in front of a hostile crowd to pull out a close win would be just as satisfying.

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UPDATE:  Tyler has some more thoughts in response here.

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This week in South Carolina

Team Speed Kills notes that, based on Brian Fremeau’s FEI metric, South Carolina should easily dispose of East Carolina tomorrow (40-14).  I agree that the Gamecock offense should put up some points.  The question is what we should expect on the other side of the ball.

The larger area of concern for South Carolina fans is the defense. The systemic failure of last week is attributable to a number of factors: no pass rush, poor tackling, and young corners. The poor pass rush can be explained by Texas A&M’s stellar offensive line, while young corners will almost always be a match-up problem for Texas A&M’s offense. The head-scratching linebacker issues aren’t as easily dismissed. This unit was expected to a strength of this team, but their poor tackling and pass coverage was a surprised. Could their play also be attributed to match-up problems?

We’ll find out as ECU’s offense is another pass-heavy offense that will look to test South Carolina. ECU returns a quarterback and its two leading receivers, but South Carolina should be a mismatch in the trenches as ECU lost three starters, two of which were first and second team C-USA selections. ECU will put points on the board, but South Carolina has had an entire week to reflect on their previous performance, and now earns a second week of practice against a less-talented version of A&M’s offense.

ECU’s offensive line is a big step down from the Aggies’, no doubt.  That ought to help SC get some traction on defense.  And it doesn’t hurt to face the same offensive system again.  But the poor fundamentals on display last week… I’m not sure you can clean all that up in nine days.

South Carolina is favored by 16.5.  I think the ‘Cocks cover, but I’m not sure they can hold ECU to 14 points.  In any event, I hope they don’t; any doubts on defense would be welcomed for game three.

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UPDATE:  Lorenzo Ward announces new faces in the starting defensive eleven.

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“Obviously, we’ve got to do some things differently around here…”

Win, lose or draw in its game this week, South Carolina’s psyche is going to be an interesting thing to watch in the days leading up to the Georgia game.  One thing Steve Spurrier has highlighted was his team’s attitude going into the Texas A&M game.

“We won a bunch of games where some players don’t play all that super, but we win,” Spurrier said. “So we stop them on third down, get a few turnovers here and there. And when you win, everybody thinks, ‘I can play this way and we’re always going to win.’ And it doesn’t work that way. It didn’t work that way. We need to try and dominate out there.”

… Spurrier said his team wasn’t overconfident against the Aggies, who started a sophomore quarterback in the place of departed Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, and jumped to ninth in this week’s rankings. But, he admitted, the Gamecocks seemed a little lackadaisical in contrast to their opponent, one reason for the ramped-up tempo in practice this week.

Makes you wonder if somebody got caught doing a little premature looking ahead to week three against Georgia.

They insist it’ll be different this week.  It probably will.  East Carolina isn’t as talented as TAMU, and while it runs the same offense, it wasn’t as prolific last season, either.  (Although its defense did give up a lot less yardage than the Aggies did in 2013.)

If the ‘Cocks win in a blow out, all will be forgiven.  What will be interesting to watch is how the team and Spurrier react if they get in another shootout.

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