Jake Rowe makes a couple of good points in his second look at the South Carolina game.
On offense, JT Daniels isn’t perfect, but he’s making some good decisions on the fly.
One of the reasons the run so heavily outnumbered the pass in this game was because the defensive looks dictated where JT Daniels did with the football. If you look back at some of UGA’s most productive plays on the ground, quite a few of them were either RPOs or plays that had a pass tagged on if the look was right.
The most notable was James Cook’s 29-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. That was an RPO where Daniels had a chance to pull it and hit George Pickens on the curl route with space, but Georgia had a hat for a hat in the box because the Gamecocks were showing bracketed coverage on Pickens. That obviously worked out well for the Bulldogs and there were a number of other instances where UGA took advantage of the packaged plays or RPOs to make the Gamecock defense wrong.
That tracks with what Kirby said about Daniels.
On what he has seen from JT Daniels the first two games he has played and what he is looking for him to improve on…
“Good decision making—that is the most important thing, to continue to make good decisions. If it’s not there, take off and run with it, throw it away—which he did the other day. He threw it away one time. There are going to be times where you don’t have the perfect call, or maybe they got the perfect defense into a call, and hey, you have to punt, you have to throw it away. That’s what I want to see him do and continue to get better at.”
As impressive as Daniels’ start has been, we need to remember he’s still very much a work in progress. He’s only going to get better with more reps.
Meanwhile, on defense…
Lack of eye discipline on defense: This mainly applies to the linebackers and the STAR/nickel position. Look no further than the 35-yard connection between Luke Doty and Nick Muse on South Carolina’s first touchdown drive. That was a really nice play call from the Gamecocks but Tyrique Stevenson’s eyes were in the backfield way too long. The guy he was coverage man-to-man on the play released into the back field for the end around, giving Stevenson the next man, which was Muse. By the time he took his eyes out of the backfield where he was eyeing the end around action, it was too late. Muse had already run by him on the wheel and he couldn’t catch up. The same occurred multiple times with the linebackers where they were late picking up a swinging running back out of the backfield. Those instances resulted in easy yardage.
It hasn’t been just Stevenson. The ILBs have been guilty of much the same. Florida took big advantage of that. The problems haven’t been talent (although Rice’s injury, to be fair, has to be factored in). They’ve been the result of poor fundamentals, something you wouldn’t expect this staff to tolerate.