Daily Archives: September 6, 2018

Gotta be worked on.

As I said, South Carolina appears to be a well-coached team, based on what I saw Saturday.  Here’s an indication of that.

Smart and Tucker have some cleaning up to do.



Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

What’s all the hubbub, bub?

The two best takes on why we’re seeing the pundits twist themselves in knots with an Upset in Columbia meme come from Dan Wolken…

… and Bill Connelly.

Does South Carolina have a legitimate shot at an upset, or are we just talking ourselves into the Gamecocks because everyone else has an even smaller chance at an upset?

Look, big picture-wise, I get it.  If you don’t think Georgia’s gonna roll through the regular season unscathed, Saturday’s as good a time as any to point to a loss (unless you’re following advanced stats closely, that is).  But I am somewhat surprised that there has been so little argument of substance as to why it’ll happen, given the prevalence of the narrative.


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Sandstorm is favored by ten.

Dennis Dodd cracks the case wide open.

“Our fan base has been so supportive,” Muschamp said echoing scores of Gamecocks coaches before him. “When we got here, we weren’t a very good football team. [But] it was so positive. I’m sitting here watching the cut ups of our Georgia game two years ago, and we got delayed because of a hurricane. The stands are full.”

That Hurricane Matthew anecdote lends a bit of hope. Few, if any, current Bulldogs have seen Williams-Brice Stadium at full throat.

Georgia is 1-3 in its last four visits to South Carolina.

It’s not playing against Lattimore, Clowney or Shaw or Steve Spurrier’s coaching that’s mattered.  It’s that Georgia has to face the South Carolina fan base.

Since we’re doing this historical crap like it’s relevant, can I add one more bit of data to the mix?

I guess the fans didn’t show up those times.


Filed under 'Cock Envy

“spinning cogs in a content machine”

There sure seems to be an uncanny resemblance between the NCAA’s amateurism protocols and FanSided’s business model, no?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The Blogosphere, The NCAA

One night in Columbia

James Jackson trolls the ‘Cocks.

I was at that game with a good friend who lost his shit when Jackson did that and still gets irritated every time he’s reminded of that ending.  Me, I’m amused, along with Jackson.  (I save my irritation for Bobo not giving Gurley the ball on first-and-goal in the 2014 game.)


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football

Observations from the armchair, bonus edition: South Carolina-Coastal Carolina

As I mentioned, I watched the replay last night.  A few bullet points:

  • Brian McClendon is doing good work.  The scheme is better suited for Bentley, who, make no mistake about it, is at the center of what Carolina does on offense.  Playcalling had a good rhythm to it; I especially liked one screen call that anticipated a blitz perfectly.
  • Overall, Bentley played well.  Most of the time he read the defense and knew where to distribute the ball.  Well isn’t the same as mistake-free, though.  He should have been picked off at least once on a play when he misread the rush.  He also missed a middle linebacker blitz straight up the gut he should have seen coming a mile away that resulted in a sack.
  • Dowdle is a talented back who can do damage in space.  Georgia needs to keep an eye out for him and tackle.
  • There is simply no way to judge SC’s offensive line from that game.  The Coastal Carolina defensive line was that bad, offering little resistance on running plays.  The only way they could get pressure in the SC backfield was to bring extra bodies.  Anyone drawing conclusions is projecting.
  • Coastal Carolina’s defense also missed a lot of tackles.  South Carolina’s got some good skill guys, but they’re not that elusive.
  • Deebo made one helluva one-handed catch for a touchdown.  He’s gonna be a handful, no surprise.
  • While there were a lot of good, intermediate sized gains (15-30 yards), those tended to be smaller plays that developed into bigger ones due to defensive ineptitude.  What I didn’t see were many explosive plays.
  • They’re still enjoying some turnover luck.  The ‘Cocks could have easily lost a fumble and, as I mentioned, Bentley could have been picked off once or twice.  Hope that trend ends Saturday.
  • Biggest surprise to me was that the Gamecock defense wasn’t nearly as vanilla Saturday as Georgia’s was.  Robinson brought a few blitzes when he needed to and I saw some stunting on the d-line.
  • Speaking of the line, they were able to control the line of scrimmage most of the day without much help.
  • Carolina’s secondary didn’t get tested much, as Coastal doesn’t have much of a passing game, but the corners look like they can be exploited this week.

As I mentioned before, Muschamp played his starters longer than did Kirby.  I can understand why.

First, they’re breaking in a new offensive scheme under a new coordinator.  Given the setting of a season opener, in-game reps are more valuable than letting backups get a little extra playing time.

Second, I suspect Muschamp was aware of those stats I posted earlier about how his team hasn’t played its best in games prior to big meetings and wasn’t going to let up on the gas until the game was more than comfortably settled.

As he put it, he’s “… going to empty the chamber this week as far as the things we need to do to try to help us win…”.  I saw a focused team building confidence.


Filed under 'Cock Envy

“You start standing up with this bunch, you’re going to get pushed around.”

“… We all know each other pretty well from a coordinator standpoint, from a playcaller standpoint. Will there be some new wrinkles and some different things they’ve worked in the offseason? Sure, and we’ll have some as well. I think knowing kind of their structure and our structure, and how we do things — this game has been game-planned for since summer. We’re just kind of brushing up the game plan this week and I’m sure they’re doing the same.”  — Will Muschamp

I watched a replay of the South Carolina-Coastal Carolina game last night and came away with the overall impression of a well-coached Gamecock team.  Really, that should come as no surprise.  It’s easy to mock Will Muschamp’s in-game demeanor — and here’s hoping Saturday brings us a nice “Name That Caption” moment — but he’s been a coordinator at big-time programs, a head coach at two SEC schools and knows more than a little about football.

As the quote above indicates, this week’s game isn’t going to be won by surprise.  Each team will be well prepared as to what the other brings to the table.  Both coaches like to talk about imposing their will and that’s where I expect the contest to play out.

In that regard, another area where I think the advantage lies Georgia’s way is the matchup between the Dawgs’ offensive line and SC’s defensive line.  It sounds like Muschamp is thinking that way, as well.

“You got to play with a great pad level, that’s number one,” Muschamp said. “You start standing up with this bunch, you’re going to get pushed around. You better play behind your pads. Our guys understand that.”

Understanding is great.  Boom’s problem is that Pittman understands what his guys have to do, too.  And that leaves matters to simple physics, something that favors the visitors.

Georgia’s offensive line will be a problem for every opponent, but it’s a particular problem for a Gamecocks team still building its depth along the defensive front. If starting defensive end D.J. Wonnum returns from an ankle injury this week, South Carolina probably will start Wonnum (6-5, 258) and Allen-Williams (6-1, 230) at end and Javon Kinlaw (6-6, 305) and Keir Thomas (6-2, 276) at tackle. If Wonnum can’t play, the Gamecocks get even smaller as he likely will be replaced by the 258-pound Daniel Fennell or 245-pound Sterling.

“They are going to try to force their will on us,” Sterling said. “We can’t back down from it.”

The Gamecocks’ concerns up front are exacerbated by the fact that they are expected to have as many as three true freshmen in the rotation at defensive tackle — 285-pound J.J. Enagbare, 285-pound Rick Sandidge and 359-pound Josh Belk.

“We’re still kind of muddling through this week and talking in terms of, ‘How are we going to match up in some situations?’” Muschamp said. “So we’re still working through that.”

It’s kind of funny how all the pundits expressing concern about Georgia’s inexperience on defense have managed to gloss over Carolina’s similar state, innit?


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

See what condition my condition was in.

“I don’t know. I sort of always liked playing them that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”

Steve Spurrier, on the Georgia-South Carolina game

No such luck for South Carolina this year, I’m afraid.  I expect that’s gonna matter.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think team depth is getting the focus it deserves heading into Saturday.  It’s a place where Georgia enjoys an advantage over South Carolina — sorry, Saturday Down South — and I have to think it’ll be a factor as the game wears on in the heat and humidity that’s part of Columbia’s charm.

I think Kirby is well aware of it, too.

By comparison, South Carolina played its starters through three quarters against Coastal Carolina.  Now, I think Muschamp had good reason for doing so (more on that in a subsequent post), but it still is what it is.

Speaking of comparisons, take a look at what Georgia’s offensive line has focused on this week in practice…

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said Monday that the offensive line’s conditioning was not “where it needed to be,” against Austin Peay. The position group has been working in practice this week to better prepare physically for the SEC opener by doing some little things to improve its stamina.

“This week, we’ve really been focusing on our conditioning, because it’s going to be hot over there,” redshirt sophomore guard Ben Cleveland said. “So, we’ve been putting a really big emphasis on chasing down the ball, after its thrown, running on and off the field. Just the small things that are going to make a difference.”

… and to what the ‘Cocks had to devote practice time.

It’s a good sign for South Carolina that the biggest area of concern coming out of its season-opening 49-15 win over Coastal Carolina was the zip, or lack thereof, on center Donell Stanley’s shotgun snaps to quarterback Jake Bentley.

“We will discuss that moving forward,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “That is certainly a topic of discussion.”

It was a short discussion apparently. Stanley and Bentley both said Tuesday that the issue had been resolved.

“I guess it was sweat basically,” Stanley said. “The equipment guys have got some solutions for me so I think it’ll be good. It worked pretty good at practice (Tuesday).”

… Stanley’s snaps all made it to Bentley on Saturday but some of them didn’t have the pace or height the quarterback or Muschamp would have preferred, and that contributed to one fumble that the Gamecocks recovered in the red zone.

The little stuff matters.

One final conditioning note comes from a beat writer at The Daily Gamecock:

I think South Carolina will start off really strong and then it’s going to probably change second half because the team will get tired, they’ve been struggling a lot with stamina[Emphasis added.]

I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t expect a real slug fest early on.  The question is who lasts.


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football

“Walking around, I’ve seen a few of the things but it’s really just talk.”

Bulletin board material, it’s what’s for breakfast.

For sophomore offensive lineman Ben Cleveland, it’s a reminder. Not only is the guarantee from Gurley on the walls but South Carolina’s hype video has been playing in the weight room all week and according to the 6-foot-6, 340-pound guard, it serves as motivation. He doesn’t necessarily need a reason to want to beat the Gamecocks more, it just helps him stay focused on outworking the opponent.

But, he, too has Smart’s mindset. The outside noise and talk isn’t what matters. It’s all about the game and the individual battles that have to be won.

“Yeah, it’s plastered all over the walls,” Cleveland said. “We see it one time and I want to feel like we let it sit in our hearts and we don’t really dwell on it. We know what we need to do.”

It’s all how you use it, I suppose, but all that talk about how Kirby doesn’t use outside chatter to get a team ready appears to be fake news.  As long as it works, I’m cool with it.

In the meantime, judging from this, it doesn’t look like the Dawgs are giving Boom’s team much to work with in that department.


Filed under Georgia Football