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.


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


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Stats Geek!

26 responses to “This week in South Carolina

  1. It’s gonna be really interesting to see if last week was just a case of shell-shocked or what, but even most of the gamecock fans I know up here aren’t optimistic at all about their defense. They just looked small and slow. As one of my gamecock buddies said, “Our DE’s look like wide receivers, only not as fast!” I honestly think that they are as susceptible to a strong run attack as they were the heavy passing attack that A&M brought to town. We always here that football is a game of matchups, but I’m not sure right now that there is a particular style of offense that their D matches up well with.

    Of course, they’ll look awful again this week, then come out next week and look like the ’85 Bears, because that’s how it always goes.

  2. sniffer

    Spurrier is rightly credited with innovation on offense and winning lots of games. That has been earned, IMO. Where he fails, again IMO, is being able to coach kids up. I’m not talking about teaching plays, I’m saying he does not do a good job of constructively motivating a player to get better. Going back to FL in the nineties, if his QB wasn’t performing, he’d simply bring in another kid to see what he could do. He never got through to Garcia or Clowney and the list could go on. My point is that SC wasn’t prepared for A&M and when was the last time Spurrier wasn’t prepared for a game of that magnitude or importance? I don’t think he has the ball players this year to make much noise in conference, certainly not nationally. Metrics be damned, the Cocks are mediocre.

    • Sides

      The last time the Cocks looked unprepared on defense was Georgia last season. It was very similar to the A&M game where the offense played OK and the Defense couldn’t stop anything. Last year we sorted it out and by the end of the season the Defense was a strength. SC has been consistently solid on defense for 5-10 years. If they struggle Saturday you may be right…

  3. Silver Britches

    16.5 is a huge number, especially for team whose psyche is . . . fragile.

    I wonder if the poor tackling stems from Spurrier repeatedly saying they weren’t tackling to the ground in fall camp in an attempt to keep everybody healthy.

  4. Cousin Eddie

    USCe has started slow for several years, they have just had inferior opponents. Everyone said that was SOS gaming planning for UGA during the prep for that game. I feel like SOS needs a game to see what he has and does a great job adjusting after seeing what they have. I hope they blow the game open, UGA doesn’t need a big head going into the game against what they see as an easy win. I want USCe to look like the Dawgs did in the 4th qtr. ALL game long. I want the Dawgs to take the USCe game serious, last thing then need to do is wet the bed with the Mojo they have going.

  5. Macallanlover

    I will definitely have the SC game on TV #2 on Saturday night as we are all anxious to see how the Cocks react in bounce back mode. ECU’s offense is similar enough in style to have their full attention but they run it with lesser athletes. It will tell us a lot about what SC has, on both sides of the ball, then add 2X intensity to that for the next week. Out offensive scheme is very different but we too have a good short passing game too with TEs and backs in the mix, but it comes with a much heavier dose of a running threat. Tough for the DC who has to be in Spurrier’s crosshairs right now.

    But the best part of this game for UGA fans is it competitive and threatening enough to have their full attention, and has had for eight days. Magnificent! Not only are they focusing on not going 0-2, they will have to use their stud RB when they would like to have rested him for us. Let’s hope for a close game, with 5 OT periods. Our Dawg warriors will be laid back in recliners enjoying their popcorn while studying the Gamecocks’ every move.

    • JCDAWG83

      I agree completely, SOS can’t afford to start 0-2 and drop out of the rankings if he has any hope of doing anything worth mentioning for the season. He has to actually focus on ECU and not look past them to us. I hope the chickens have a fairly comfortable win, but not so dominant that they are convinced they can destroy us. A little doubt in their minds would be good for us, especially if we can get an early lead on them. I hope Davis has a good game, but I would love it if he got those ribs banged up a little again. I don’t want him to be hurt bad, just enough to make him think about getting hit and maybe play a little tentatively against us.

  6. watcher16

    I’m hoping SCar blows them out of the water, thinking that Week 1 was an aberration and letting their guard down some, and then have UGA come in and win by 2-3 TDs. A guy can dream…

    • Macallanlover

      Not that what we wish for matters, I want them to be in a struggle and have to play their starters all game. A blow out not only allows them to hold back plays/formations, but get experience for some backups. There is zero, nada, chance they let their guard down, UGA is ranked 6th in the country, holds their 2014 SEC future in our hands, and are their primary SEC rival in both games and recruiting. Nothing that happens this Saturday will impact their intensity the following Saturday. I agree with JC’s comment above, I want them to doubt themselves against us, a cocky opponent can play loose and keep coming back at you every time you strike them down..

  7. If we lose to USC it won’t be because we were looking ahead or not taking them seriously. Also, I’m ready for a new era of Georgia football. If it’s not using the past as an example off why we’ll lose it’s folks wanting Gurley and Mason to be the next Belue and Herschel. How about…we won’t start off slow or overlook USC because we didn’t Clemson? How about Gurley and Mason being the next Gurley and Mason? How about the cocaine Carter USC game has nothing to do with this one? I’ve experienced much of and appreciate the history but I’m so got damn ready for new. I’m convinced that the past has been a major roadblock for this program. The program still expects to lose to FU. Someone could actually be better than Herschel. We don’t have to run 50x to win. It’s OK that the uniform has changed some. Pumping music into Sanford doesn’t make the team thugs or promote rape. Gurley could become our best RB without disrespecting Herschel.

    • CannonDawg

      Part of the great charm of college football generally, and of individual programs specifically, is the past, the history. That’s how traditions are begun and passed down. How can you talk about Georgia football and not mention Herschel or Dooley or a particular Munson call. We’ve got the good and the bad in the UGA past, and each new season brings a chance to add to the good, hopefully. You don’t have to live in the past, but it makes little sense to ignore it or not appreciate it. That’s the richness of CFB, especially in the South. But hey, if you want a really new era with no clutter from bygone games and bygone names, then there’s always Georgia State.

    • I Wanna Red Cup

      The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.

    • JCDAWG83

      My concern is not about the distant past, it’s about the very recent past. Richt’s teams have shown a real and disturbing trend of not being ready to play in games, some of them very important games. I would love to not have to concern myself with the possibility of a Richt coached team crapping the bed. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a few seasons of seeing the team give their best effort in every game, win or lose, before I will relax and be confident.

      I think the reason many fans look to the past is they long for the days when Georgia showed up ready to play in every game.

      • I Wanna Red Cup

        I seem to recall a SPurruer coached team in the very recent past not being ready to play and crapping the bed. And a Saban coached team as well. I do not think CMR has the market on that. I suspect if we examined every team we could reach the same conclusion. 18-22 year old players can be unpredictable.

        • JCDAWG83

          Losing does not equate to not being ready to play. We will know very soon if Spurrier’s team was not ready to play or is simply not that good. I don’t recall a recent game where a Saban coached team simply didn’t show up. Their loss to OU was a hard fought game, OU simply played better. The loss to AU was a once in a lifetime play, it had nothing to do with Bama not being ready to play.

          I agree about 18-22 year old players, that’s why coaches at big programs get paid millions of dollars a year to coach football. It is the coach’s job to make sure the players are ready to play. If the program simply relied on the players being self motivated and taught and prepared, the coach would make about $50,000 a year.

          • I Wanna Red Cup

            Reasonable people can disagree about the OU – Alabama game. That supposed great left tackle Bama had looked pitiful. He as well as others, particulary on the D side of the ball Saban is so hailed for, did not look ready to play to me. I could also bring up the time a Saban coached LSU team came to Sanford Stadium and crapped the bed and we hung over 40 on them. My point is UGA fans tend to only think about/remember the times we played badly when it happens to virtually every team in CFB at some point. I hope we show up and play well next week, but if we don’t, it does not necessarily mean our guys “crapped the bed.” I do appreciate your point though.

            • Macallanlover

              I am not one that favors putting it all on the coach, good or bad, but if I were I would say Richt has outcoached Little Nicky in about half the games we have played against him: LSU in Sanford and again in the SECCG. Coaching is important, and they share a role in the outcome, but it is not all about them alone, nor just the QB.

              • JCDAWG83

                I think Richt is a better game day coach than Saban, and I don’t think Richt is that great of a game day coach. I think Saban is better at preparing for an opponent and finding ways to stop them, especially if he is given a little time. Richt is a much better offensive coach than Saban and Saban is a much better defensive coach than Richt. I’m hoping Pruitt is the missing piece for Richt. If Pruitt can get the defense to play near the level of the offense, Georgia is going to win a lot of games.

    • Dog in Fla

      “Pumping music into Sanford doesn’t make the team thugs or promote rape.”

      But the CBS Dance Party does tend to make people want to throw themselves off buildings

    • “Someone could actually be better than Herschel”………….Watch your mouth,I don’t know if I wanta slap you or your momma for talkin like that..Gurley is as good as we’ve seen and just maybe as good as Herschel but better…. you’re on so damn thin ice there bubba.

  8. I hope Carolina loses in a close one. Seeing them at 0-3 would be good for the soul.

    • JCDAWG83

      If they lose to ECU, we should have no trouble beating them soundly. For what it’s worth, that would be delightful for me. In fact, I would be tickled to death to see them go 0-12. Spurrier and the arrogant, delusional chicken fan base can’t lose enough to satisfy me.

      To paraphrase the great Winston Churchill; never in the history of college football have so many been so proud of so little.

  9. Hogbody Spradlin

    I like analogies. I’m wishing, and hoping, and thinking, and praying, that Lorenzo Ward is South Carolina’s version of Willie Martinez.

    I like Old Dusty Springfield too.

  10. SpaceStation

    Spurrier misses Elllis Johnson on Defense. I think this is the problem. What USCe is going through these days reminds me of UGA after VanGordner (sp?) left. Remember the USCe Defensive Coordinators fighting amongst themselves last year? Seems like a slow decline in the making. Lets hope I am correct!!!

    • Mayor

      Insightful post SS. The cracks are already there. It took about 3 years for the UGA D to unravel post Van Gorter’s departure.The Dicks…er…Cocks are right on track. Let’s see how long SOS puts up with it before ditching Ward.