South Carolina Week: The Tuesday Rundown

ATHENS - Georgia must maintain its focus to be successful against South Carolina on Saturday.

1. It's South Carolina week. A team Georgia hasn't beat in three match-ups. A team with a strong offense. More importantly for some, a team that has Jadeveon Clowney on its defensive line.

Regardless of all that, Georgia's not sweating past performances or Clowney. Richt knows how talented the Gamecocks are, though, and says Georgia will have to play them with a healthy dose of respect. That all starts with improving upon the offensive line's mental mistakes from last week.

"We had six drives that were affected by penalty," Richt said. "Four out of six times we lost drives to penalty. The offensive side of the ball was supposed to be the mature side and they had most of the penalties which was a little disappointing."

The offensive line has made a few changes as of Tuesday. One practice note from Tuesday is that Kolton Houston took a majority of the number one reps at left guard. After a few run-throughs Dallas Lee re-entered and Houston was bumped over, but Houston played noticeably more with the ones today.

2. Let's go ahead and address the Clowney situation. To be short, Richt says Kenarious Gates is the guy to stop him. Gates will start at left tackle on Saturday because Richt says he's the best guy for the job.

"I think Gates is a very good player," Richt said. "I think he's the guy who has the best shot of matching up out there. He played against Jadeveon a year ago so it's not his first time out there. Every snap's a battle."

Gates is the guy right now, so he'll be Georgia's primary means of stopping Clowney. Richt did mention a few other ways his staff could go about stopping him, though.

"Your tackle is responsible for taking him on the outside rush," Richt said. "You could also put a tight end on the side where he's at to give him something else to navigate. Also, you can set your point and get the ball out quickly with a quick passing game. Those are the things you can try to do."

3. Clowney isn't the only weapon on South Carolina's roster, though. Georgia's defense will have to brace for quarterback Connor Shaw. Shaw played consistently in the Gamecocks' season-opening victory against North Carolina, completing 11 of his 20 pass attempts for 149 yards and a touchdown. The senior also rushed for 43 yards, busting out one big run that accounted for 21 of those yards alone. That's an aspect of his game Richt says Georgia has to be aware of.

"You've got to be careful with him," Richt said. "He's going to run QB draw, he's going to run zone read and he's going to run even when it's not there. As a defense you have to be disciplined in your rush lanes. You've got to be very concerned with who truly is containing the quarterback. You can't just freelance out there. You've just got to have a good mix of zone coverages."

4. Josh Harvey-Clemons will return on Saturday after missing the Clemson game due to suspension. This will be a big help for Georgia's defense. On top of that Corey Moore will be available against South Carolina as well. Richt says having more safeties available will be less of a cramp on the secondary.

"Josh being back is big for us. He'll be able to play in our base and nickel scheme," Richt said. "Corey [Moore] will be back as well. It's got to be a physical day for us today. Tomorrow won't be different quite frankly. We had our hands tied in camp with being down to very few safeties. It's tough to get better when guys are't practicing."

5. Richt wants Georgia fans to be in attendance and loud this weekend. While that may not seem like a matter of high importance, Richt said it made a huge difference at Clemson. Georgia will be back between the hedges of Sanford Stadium on Saturday, though, and it's a big opportunity for fans to disrupt South Carolina's offense.

"We really do need our fans to be a part of this game," Richt said. "Crowd noise really is a factor. You have guys in the NFL still jumping offsides because they can't hear anything in the game. Some of our pass protection issues had a little bit to do with [Clemson's] crowd noise. If we were at home, we have the ability to verbalize, change our snap and keep people off balance. Our crowd is crucial in this ballgame."


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