Category Archives: The Evil Genius

Steve Spurrier channels his inner Vince Dooley.

Spurdog reaches to find something nice to say about this week’s opponent.

“Vanderbilt, by the way, has scored I think two special teams scores already, two special teams touchdowns. And they’ve got a defensive touchdown. They’re ahead of us in those categories, but anyway we’re trying to get better ourselves,” Spurrier said.

Nicely done, there.  Spurrier tied Dooley’s wins record last weekend.  Maybe that’s his way of doing a tribute.

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Bill Connelly’s measuring hell raisin’.

This is a pretty cool concept.

Havoc rate is a pretty simple method for looking at how much hell a defense is raising. Add up tackles for loss (which includes sacks), forced fumbles, and defensed passes (picks and break-ups), divide it by total plays, and voila: havoc rate. The national havoc average in 2013 was 15.9 percent.

The school currently last in havoc rate?  That would be South Carolina.  Nevertheless,

Against Georgia, South Carolina’s was a paltry 11.7: four tackles for loss (two sacks) and three pass break-ups in 60 snaps. Not very good. However…

A) It represented significant improvement from South Carolina’s first two games, in which the Gamecocks averaged a woeful 6 percent against Texas A&M and East Carolina: five tackles for loss, five passes defensed in 166 snaps. (Further frame of reference: Navy was dead last in havoc last year at 9.3 percent.)

B) South Carolina’s second “sack” saved the game. Georgia trailed 38-35 with 5:24 left, and Damian Swann had just picked off S.C. quarterback Dylan Thompson and returned the ball to the Gamecocks’ 4. Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had called seven consecutive run plays (three for Todd Gurley, one for Sony Michel, three for fullback Quayvon Hicks) to finish Georgia’s last scoring drive, and he decided it was time for the play-action bootleg that tends to work pretty easily in those situations. Only, when [quarterback Hutson] Mason turned to run to his right after faking the handoff, [Gerald] Dixon was charging at him. Mason attempted to throw the ball at a back’s feet (a “grounding” that doesn’t tend to draw a penalty), but the ball deflected off of Dixon, and Mason was penalized.

It was a pretty tenuous call, and if the ball doesn’t hit Dixon, it doesn’t get called at all — but it set into motion the chain of events that won South Carolina the game. Facing second-and-goal from the 14, Georgia quickly went three-and-out (thanks in part to a pass broken up by J.T. Surratt), and previously automatic place-kicker Marshall Morgan missed a 28-yard field goal off of the right hash. South Carolina moved the chains a couple of times, converted a fourth-and-1 by a literal millimeter, and ran out the clock for the win.

So while South Carolina didn’t generate much havoc, it generated clutch havoc. That’s something.

Maybe it’s not so much that Georgia coaches are intimidated by Spurrier as it is they refuse to accept the simple premise that they’re always going to get his best shot.  But they always will.  No matter how you measure it.

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Losing the chess match

One other thing Pruitt guessed wrong about last Saturday:

Several other defensive players, including Johnson, said the focus was on containing the outside, especially South Carolina’s screens. That was something the Gamecocks showed in the East Carolina game. But on Saturday, they switched to more pocket passes.

“We as a unit, we were focusing more on draws and screens instead of getting off the ball,” Georgia defensive end Sterling Bailey said. “It hurt us.”

Spurrier is one of the best in the biz – if not the best – at game planning.  Sometimes all you can do is tip your cap, learn from the experience and move on.

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Crackin’ wise

Win, lose or draw, I don’t think Spurrier will be making jokes about Jeremy Pruitt’s competency in scheming against the read option the way he did about Grantham’s after the 2010 game.

But I really hope he’s not saying something snarky about this Saturday night.  Because you know he’d like to.

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Rivalry? Depends on who’s doing the rivalry-ing.

Josh Kendall says Georgia is number two on the rival list for South Carolina, behind only Clemson.

The OBC qualifies that a little.

Says South Carolina’s traditional rivals are Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee, but adds: We don’t have a lot of rivals. We haven’t beaten anybody enough times for them to say you’re a rival.”

But not when you mean him personally.  That one still burns as hard as ever.

Bill Stanfill says hi, Coach.

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What kind of fake juice does Steve Spurrier use?

I’m sorry, but when you’ve got a coach whose signature move on the sidelines is tossing a visor in disgust saying that he and his staff have to coach up his team emotionally for a home game against a highly ranked rival, you’ve got a problem.

Spurrier knows two in-game emotions, smug and pissed.  “Rah-rah” is alien territory.

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Monday morning buffet

Get you a plate and dig in.

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