What to Watch for: Georgia

In this new feature, GamecockAnthem.com takes a special inside look at the "game within the game" with several story lines for you follow during the Gamecocks' match-up with Georgia Saturday night. With so much taking place throughout the course of a game it can be a daunting task to keep up with everything. This will provide you with several things to keep an eye on and look out for Saturday.

How will the Gamecocks attempt to defend Green?

Summerville, S.C. native A.J. Green may be the best wide receiver in the country and is no question Georgia's biggest play-making threat on offense. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said earlier this week that the defense would have to do some 'different things' to defend Green, but obviously wasn't going to give away the unit's game plan.

So how will the Gamecocks seek to defend one of the best wide receivers to ever come out of the Palmetto State? The Gamecocks play a field/boundary-based defense so this won't be a case of specifically matching up one cornerback with Green. Both field cornerback Akeem Auguste and freshman boundary cornerback Stephon Gilmore will have the task of matching up with him at times. But neither will likely be asked to do so in one-on-one situations very often. The first thing to look for is that there will almost always be a safety over the top shaded to Green's side. This is not difficult to do and allows the defense to put more emphasis on Green without causing huge gaps in other areas.

Other times, particularly in goal line situations, don't be surprised to see the Gamecocks' choose to completely bracket Green with a corner and safety literally double teaming him with one covering the inside and the other the outside. This is obviously effective, but will weaken the defense's ability to cover the deep ball opposite Green, specifically when still trying to bring pressure with a linebacker, as USC often does with All-SEC linebacker Eric Norwood. This is particularity effective in the redzone, because it allows the defense to double Green and bring a linebacker on the blitz simply there is no worry about the deep ball on a shortened field.

One thing keep in mind is that if the Bulldogs do play back-up quarterback Logan Gray, it could prove to put the Gamecock defense in a precarious situation when it comes to defending Green and Gray's ability to run the football. In this situation the defensive coordinator is put in a pick-your-poison type decision as there is physically no way to double Green, 'Spy' Gray, and have a safety deep while still bringing the normal four defensive linemen USC likes to deploy.

Look for USC to use a multitude of coverages in an attempt to slow down Green, who will undoubtedly be fired up about facing his home-state school. One thing for sure is that the hard-hitting USC defense will look to get physical with the always-dangerous Green from the onset of Saturday night's battle between the hedges.

How much of the Spurrier offense will we see?

The game plan the South Carolina coaches put together and subsequent plays called against N.C. State made up a very small percentage of the Spurrier offense. Following the Gamecocks' 7-3 victory in Raleigh, Spurrier has acknowledged multiple times that the plan was simply to conservative. Spurrier has also warned that to be successful he and his offensive staff have to call plays that the offense is capable of executing and that there is a fine line between being too conservative and being too wide open. In other words, Spurrier is looking for the happy medium between the planet-leading 27 interceptions his quarterbacks threw last year and the 42 times the Gamecocks rammed the ball into the teeth of the NC State defense last Thursday.

Can Spurrier find that balance against the Georgia Bulldogs? There's no question there's no team in the country that gets the Ole Ball Coach's competitive juices flowing faster than the Dawgs of Athens. Keep an eye on the Georgia defense and if they look out of place at times. Easy throws for Stephen Garcia and space to run for the Gamecocks' backs are good signs that the play-calling has the Bulldogs off balance.

Can the Gamecocks' run the football?

When Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks' defeated the Bulldogs two years ago in Athens, running backs Cory Boyd and Mike Davis were able to break off chunks of yardage at a time to keep the clock and chains moving. In the Dawgs' three victories over the Gamecocks during the Spurrier era, that running room has been hard to come back.

USC looked to attack NC State up the middle last week and while it was effective at times it became very predictable and the Wolfpack defenders were able to key in on that aspect of the offense. Senior defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens well provide a stern test for the interior of the Gamecock line and USC will likely once again find tough treading up the middle.

USC will likely have to use diversity in the running game as well as some misdirection to try and create some running room. Look for Georgia native Kenny Miles and freshman speedster Jarvis Giles to get their chances to make plays against the stout Georgia front seven.

How will the left side of the line respond?

While the USC offensive line showed improvements as a whole over its performance from last year, the group still has a long way to go in order to be as productive as Spurrier and Wolford hope it can be. While Wolford was somewhat positive about the play of the line as a whole, he did pinpoint the left side of the line, which consists of left tackle Jarriel King and left guard Terrence Campbell, as needing to step up.

King is an emotional player who considers himself the heart of the unit. While the Georgia Military transfer has only played the position a little over a year now, he has NFL-type potential and should be able to match-up well with the Georgia ends much like he did last year in Columbia. Campbell, a junior from Austell, Ga., will no doubt be motivated about playing his home-state school. Will it be enough against one of the best duos of defensive tackles in the conference? Keep an eye on the left side of the Gamecocks' line as the game wears on Saturday. If King and Campbell can perform, then it could make for a fantastic night in Athens for the Gamecock fans making the trip as well as those watching at home on ESPN2.

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