Frisby's Corner: Week Three
I finally figured out a way to keep Carolina fans in their seats during the fourth quarter of a football game. Hire the South Carolina State Band to play at the end of the game! Seriously, the S.C State band outperformed our band about as bad as we outperformed their football team on Saturday night. Score: USC 38, SCSU 3. USC Band 0, SCSU Band 1. I hope our band can get their act together by 2011.
Let's get back to the game. I sat (with special thanks to Ryan Clary & Family) in Sec 9, Row 31, Seat 21, West Lower and watched the painful first half with a crowd of dyed in wool Gamecock fans. We all squirmed in our seats as we watched the Gamecocks give S.C. State every conceivable opportunity to stay in the game. Let's be real here. Carolina was able to maintain a lead in the first half due only to the Bulldogs offensive ineptness and USC's defensive pressure. I call it how I see it, and I personally do not want to see the offensive performance during the first half on Saturday ever again. Blake Mitchell was abysmal from the start. Other than the reception by tight end Jared Cook in the first quarter, Blake's passes were either too high, in the dirt or woefully short of his target. However, his backup Tommy Beecher faired no better. I thought I was watching a sequel to "Dazed and Confused" out there during the next few series. I actually stopped counting the turnovers. The rule usually states that if you have to use more fingers to count turnovers then are required to make a "peace sign," you're usually in trouble. Where is "Tricky Dick" Nixon when you need him?
Ok, anyone can have a bad game, and Blake is known for getting back on track rather quickly from these types of outings. So let's hope that history repeats itself and we see the other Blake Mitchell this weekend against a very disciplined LSU team. Enough said.
I don't know what Coach Spurrier said in the locker room at halftime, but from my experience, I'm quite sure it went something like this: "Alright guys, obviously you starters don't take your jobs seriously enough to execute our game plan for this week. Well, in the second half I'm going to give a few other guys that want to play, and some of these freshmen the opportunity to make something happen. Now I'm gonna find out who the players are that want to play, some of you might want to think about finding another team to play for, but we're not gonna have this type of crap here at Carolina. All right men, we have another half to play some Carolina football. Let's go to work!"
I guess it was a pretty good speech? That speech, and I'm quite sure a few choice words from the likes of Cory Boyd. Obviously it worked like a charm because the Gamecocks were a different team in the second half. The backfield duo Mike Davis and Boyd put the team on their backs and played a little SEC smash-mouth football when nothing else seemed to work. The bottom line is that USC got the job done. Were they looking ahead to next week's match up? Probably. Should they have been? Definitely not. But heck, all of us are looking ahead to next week, aren't we?
I really don't know what else Coach Spurrier can do with the special teams. He tried putting starters on the team and I believe the outcome was worse then before. First of all, the coverage team is not getting down the field and off blocks fast enough. The opponents' return man, although usually fielding the ball in the end zone, is normally untouched well across the twenty-yard line. Shoot, President Sorensen would have a good return average against that type of coverage. Whatever they do, special teams need to get fixed fast.
Ok, let's talk about the receivers. What is the deal with Moe Brown? I always thought the ideal place to hit a receiver was in the hands. Obviously I'm wrong because that is not true in Moe's case. And it seems he is sharing some receiving tips with Larry Freeman. Now Freeman did come up with one highlight catch on Saturday to his credit. However, he was not a poster boy for Allstate Insurance out there either. He needs to step up and take a leadership role among this young receiving corps. As I said before, Freddie Brown is a very capable possession receiver, but he is not going to get down the field deep for this offense. It is imperative that USC develops one or more of these freshman receivers.
Once again, the defense was USC's saving grace on Saturday night. Team speed on defense showed up once again against S.C. State. However, once again the failure to fully stop an option attack offense was evident and worrisome. USC does seem to be able to plug in players throughout the defense with no appreciable drop-off in quality of play though. Many second and third team players received quality minutes on Saturday. Coach Tyrone Nix seems to have a proven formula that is most effective against a traditional drop back style of play. This bodes well for the upcoming LSU game. I'm confident that the defense will allow Carolina to stay in the game on Saturday in Baton Rouge. Let's hope the offense can find a way to put some points on the board.
Now I'm not one of these guys that buys into the theory that Coach Spurrier is not playing his full hand prior to a big game. He most definitely ran all the plays that were designed for S.C. State on Saturday night. However, those plays are not the same plays he will be designing to run against LSU. Just like styles make fights, styles and teams make football games. Look for coach to run plays he believes are going to be successful in beating LSU. Some may call that not showing his hand, I call it good coaching.
I'm really not going to harp much on this game. All in all, there was not too much that we could take from Saturday gameplan-wise that will help this upcoming Saturday. The lessons this team should have learned are ages old. Never take a team for granted. Pride is a powerful motivational tool. And you are only as good as you play this upcoming week. I think the Ball Coach has a few tricks up his sleeve for the "Bayou Bengals." But this game is going to take more than smoke and mirrors. Legends can be made on Saturday night. I hope we are up to the challenge. GO COCKS!!!
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