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.