Did a smiling Mark Richt at the end of the first half bother you as much as it seems to have bothered plenty of Georgia fans? It bothers Groo.
That’s Coach Richt leaving the field at halftime and sharing a brief moment of levity with his GSP detail. For all I know, it was exasperated bewilderment at the dumb luck of a field goal banked in off the upright. I just know that there wasn’t much worth smiling about going on. I can’t imagine being anything but spitting mad about a such a first half just hours after the team was given new life in the SEC East. I couldn’t crack much of a grin over a kicking game that had already cost the team an important point and nearly saw a short field goal pulled left. I just couldn’t believe that a friendly upright was all that separated Georgia from a halftime deficit to a 28-point underdog.
Maybe you’d prefer a different approach to a disappointing half of football. Earlier in the day in Gainesville, Steve Spurrier pulled out all the stops in response to a large halftime deficit, including benching his starting quarterback. And after the game, the OBC didn’t mince words:
The only thing you can hope is that your guys give it their best shot and not just lay the ball down and basically say `Here Florida, we don’t want to win. You guys take this fumble and this fumble and this fumble.’ So it was sad, and on the other side, their defense stuffed us. They stopped our running game and passing game. We didn’t make much, had a few chances here and there. Dylan (Thompson) didn’t have a lot of opportunities there at the end. I thought we had some early in the first quarter. We just over threw, we under threw, it just didn’t work, so we thought we would give Dylan and opportunity, but what we do next week – I’m not sure yet. One thing we must do is find the guys that really want to play for South Carolina. If we have to cover on kickoff (using) D.J. Swearinger, (Jadeveon) Clowney, Chaz Sutton, (we will because) we can’t watch the guys that are playing right now. We can’t watch these guys that are laying on the ground. It could have been a heck of a game for everybody. It was embarrassing for us, very embarrassing the way we played.
Yeah, red meat, for the win! Except where is that getting South Carolina exactly? Here’s something Team Speed Kills‘ cocknfire observed in passing in his post-game summary:
For Spurrier and the Gamecocks, it’s the end of a two-week stretch that eliminates them from the national championship conversation and leaves their SEC East hopes hanging by such a thin thread that it’s not even worth talking about. The goal now should be the second 11-win season in school history (counting the bowl game) and turning the largest two-year win total in the program’s 120 years into the largest three-year total. None of that is anything to scoff at, particularly since Spurrier has made doing things that have never been done before the animating force behind his tenure in Columbia.
It still raises questions, though, about whether Spurrier has hit something of a ceiling at South Carolina. Granted, nine or more wins a season and an SEC East title every now and then is clearly better than where the Gamecocks were when Spurrier climbed on board. But there was the promise this year of so much more, and every bit of it was destroyed Saturday in the Swamp. And South Carolina was too busy helping the demolition move forward to stop it.
“Hit something of a ceiling”, eh? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that sure sounds like a familiar refrain to this Georgia fan. Don’t misunderstand me – cocknfire’s right about the remarkable job Spurrier has done raising the performance level of the South Carolina program. He’s done nothing to diminish his standing as the second greatest coach in SEC history, behind Bear Bryant. But a limit’s a limit, nevertheless. And right now, it looks like both Georgia and South Carolina may be meeting in the middle as far as that goes.
Unless it’s a schedule thing.