Frisby's Corner: Week Twelve

Tim "Pops" Frisby, one of the all time fan favorites at South Carolina, played wide receiver for the Gamecocks during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and he will now be sharing his insider perspective in a weekly column called "Frisby's Corner." Read inside for the twelfth edition of this exciting and insightful piece, as Frisby shares his thoughts on the Carolina/Clemson game from this past weekend.

Tim Frisby can be heard on ESPN Radio's "The Sports Drive With RT" on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3-6 p.m. on 93.1 FM in Columbia.


I must admit that I have had a huge smile on my face since Saturday afternoon. We all bore witness to a glimpse of the future in regards to the Carolina - Clemson rivalry and Carolina football in particular. In year one of the Spurrier era, the ‘Head Ball Coach' instilled a team attitude. In year two, Coach has built on the team attitude, while continuing to assemble the talent that will be necessary to compete at the highest levels of SEC football.

Carolina dominated Clemson on Saturday. Domination is defined as, "Thrashing your opponent in the majority of recorded statistical categories, and producing a win." By this definition, domination is an excellent choice of words. So let me detail how Carolina dominated the Clemson Tigers in the 104th installment of this rivalry:


RUNNING BACKS

I was right on the money in predicting a huge game for Cory Boyd. This young man is a proud soldier, who didn't back down when he was called upon. I predicted that Boyd would play with a chip on his shoulder, which is nothing surprising if you are a true Gamecock fan and know Cory's approach to games. What is really scary is the thought of Boyd carrying the ball 20-25 times a game. He would be every bit as productive as Spiller or Davis. I guarantee you this, Cory would not accept a ridiculous nickname such as the ones accepted by the Tiger backs. I salute Cory Boyd who joins the ranks of backs such as Branden Ore (Virginia Tech), who are underappreciated and refuse to believe the hype.

Mike Davis continues with his late season heroics. It started with the Florida game in 2005 and continued through the Independence Bowl. Mike had a rough start to 2006, but once again showed signs in this year's Florida game. Davis ran over, around, and through the Clemson defense on Saturday. He was a man among boys.

The unheralded Lanard Stafford, aka "Double Stack" to us insiders, once again gave a solid performance from his blocking back position. He continuously put Tigers on their backs and cleared holes for our runners. Stafford is the type of unselfish player that Spurrier loves to have on his teams. I was especially elated to see Lanard pick up positive yardage on a dump off pass to keep one of our drives going.

Although C.J. Spiller (10-155-2, 15.5 ypc) broke off a big run and a scamper around the corner, he did not play with the consistent effort and heart of Boyd and M. Davis. 111 of Spiller's 155 yards came on two runs of 80 and 31 yards, respectively. Clemson did not get anything out of James Davis (11-19, 1.7 ypc), who might as well not have shown up for the game, and Tommy Bowden should have recognized the need to replace Davis with Reggie Meriwether (3-23, 7.7 ypc) early in the game. Coach Spurrier would not have hesitated to pull one of his backs if they were unproductive.

WINNER: CAROLINA (Boyd, M. Davis, and Stafford)


WIDE RECEIVER

It was a no-brainer. I did not have to be a rocket scientist to predict that the Carolina receivers would embarrass their Clemson counterparts. Bottom line: Clemson could not stop the Gamecock passing attack. The Tigers resembled the "Keystone Cops" trying to chase around the Carolina receivers. Clemson zoned Sidney Rice (8-103 yds) and still could not stop him. Kenny McKinley (5-66 yds) made his usual blue collar catches across the middle, and we got consistent production and big plays from both Noah Whiteside 3-42 yds) and Freddie Brown (4-30 yds). If not for a few under throws, who knows how bad things would have gotten for Clemson? I stated last week that Coach Spurrier would formulate a plan to shred the Tiger secondary, and the proof was in the pudding on Saturday. The Tiger secondary was as suspect as I thought.

The tight ends did an excellent job of pass protecting on Saturday. Although Spurrier did not include them in his offensive game plan, they were included in his master plan. Redshirt Freshman Jared Cook threw some punishing downfield blocks to give Boyd and Davis running room.

Clemson showed the inconsistency at receiver that has plagued them all year. Although they were able to produce two plays of substance - one to Jacoby Ford (Fred Bennett fell down and pulled a hamstring), and one to Chansi Stuckey (which was reviewed) - they were completely outplayed by Carolina's receiving corps. I said in my last column that Jacoby Ford has all kind of untapped potential. However, he has not been able to put any plays together on a consistent basis. The Clemson receiving corps should not absorb all the blame for their dismal performance though. Most of the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Will Proctor for not delivering catchable balls, and Tommy Bowden for being out coached.

WINNER: CAROLINA (Rice, McKinley, Whiteside, and Brown)


QUARTERBACKS

I told you it was not necessary for me to do a quarterback comparison last week. Do you believe me now? Blake Mitchell (23-36, 268 yds) thoroughly outplayed his inept counterpart Will Proctor (13-19, 190 yds). While Blake carved up the Clemson zone and any attempt to play man, Proctor struggled to find targets, and generally overthrew them when he did find them. Proctor only attempted 19 passes, while handing off the ball 33 times. Maybe Clemson thought we didn't know they run the ball?? Obviously any comparison of the two QB's is utterly ridiculous. Will Proctor was who I thought he was.

I would have loved to see Syvelle Newton at QB for a couple of snaps for old time's sake. However, by not seeing him, we can rightfully assume that Coach Spurrier is somewhat satisfied with Blake's decision making and has turned over the reigns to the redshirt junior.

WINNER: CAROLINA (Mitchell)


OFFENSIVE LINE

Our young, up-and-coming offensive line outplayed their more experienced counterparts on Saturday afternoon. Bottom line: the Carolina O-Line was hungrier and wanted it more. This young line protected Mitchell with a passion. Justin Sorensen did an outstanding job against NFL-bound defensive end Gaines Adams. Jamon Meredith opened holes and pancacked defenders throughout the game, earning SEC O-lineman of the week honors. Chris White played his usual solid game from the center position, and Seth Edwards held his own creating lanes for Boyd and Davis to burst through. I stated that our O-Line would be up to the task Saturday, and they proved me right. I would be remiss if I did not mention how well Carolina picked up Clemson's blitzes. We knew that Clemson's only hope would be to bring the house often. However, we were there waiting just as I had predicted.

Clemson's offensive line tried their best, but they were not ready for a tough SEC defense. Carolina's pressure was too much for them to overcome in the long run, as we consistently pressured or forced their QB out of the pocket and penetrated into the backfield. As predicted, the Tigers tried to depend solely on their running game, and it backfired.

WINNER: CAROLINA (Entire O-Line)


DEFENSE

Going into the game, I said that we must limit 3rd down conversions to be successful against the Tigers. Clemson was 5-11 on conversions. I call that a success! I said we must put pressure on the QB (even though he could not pass) to keep CU honest. Our defense turned in 3 sacks for –25 against the Tigers. I call that a success!

I said in my last column that I was sure Clemson would try to attack the areas that have proven to be weaknesses for us throughout the year. Containment has been a season long problem for us. C.J. Spiller was able to get to the outside and up the middle for two big plays. However, we were able to keep containment the rest of the day and keep Spiller between the tackles.

The defensive line completely shut out James Davis, as the sophomore tailback was swarmed under any time he touched the ball. I said tackling would be key, and the defense made a solid tackling effort throughout the day.

As I suspected, Coach Nix walked the linebackers up and stuffed the box, eliminating any place for Clemson to run. This technique also forced Will Proctor to do what he dreads the most, throw the ball.

I was surprised that Clemson did not drag receivers and tight ends over the middle and take advantage of one of our perceived weaknesses. It seems Proctor didn't even attempt the type of passes he is capable of making. Carolina's secondary eliminated what little downfield threat Clemson had. Clemson was not able to move the ball vertically with any success, and Carlos Thomas seemed to get in Chansi Stuckey's head with his physical play and solid tackling.

Jasper Brinkley (10 tkls) brought the heat all day, and Stanley Doughty provided a much needed push up front that disrupted the Tiger offense. Overall, the entire defense receives a game ball for a standup performance and a bend-but-don't-break attitude.

WINNER: CAROLINA (J. Brinkley, and Carolina defense)


SPECIAL TEAMS

Ryan Succop! Enough said.

WINNER: CAROLINA (Succop)


SIDEBAR

I always told you that I call it how I see it, and I pull no punches. That statement includes critiquing of my own cohorts for their predictions and loyalties during this past season. If you listen to ESPN Radio on 93.1 FM in Columbia, it would have been obvious to you that two of my colleagues, who I will leave unnamed, were on the Clemson bandwagon all year. They even picked Clemson to beat Carolina on Saturday!! (As Carolina Grads, that's something they will have to live with) To be honest, they jumped on the Clemson bandwagon as a way to appease some of our Tiger listeners. The problem is they got too comfortable with their seats on top of the bandwagon and couldn't get off. I told you I pull no punches, and if Clemson were that good, I would not hesitate to tell you such. However, I saw right through the pretenders that Clemson turned out to be. I told you honestly at the beginning of the season that Will Proctor was not capable, and Clemson's defense was suspect. I would not lie to you. I had the pleasure of playing this game on an organized level for over 30 years, and I know a few things about this game. My colleagues bought into the Tiger hype and then proceeded to roll off a cliff with that orange bandwagon on Saturday afternoon. So I am able to revel in and relish in this victory much more because I played for Coach Spurrier, and I believe in what he is doing at Carolina. I honestly knew we were the better team out there Saturday afternoon. I'm quite sure my colleagues will crawl off the remnants of that orange scrap heap and come back to the Garnet and Black. However, it will never be the same for them, because they lost the faith, the only true thing that binds Carolina fans together forever.

I would like to thank Doug Jolley (GamecockAnthem.com) for extending to me this opportunity to write a column for the best fans in the world. The fans will always remain #1 in my heart. I was honored to wear #89 as a Carolina player, and I am honored to provide you with some insight into the Carolina program. Thanks for your support.

Tim "Pops" Frisby

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories