“… 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?