Well, I can’t say that I am completely shocked by the outcome, but I was surprised by how it arrived at that outcome. While I was correct about Garcia and company being the better offense last Saturday I completely missed the defense and my mvp candidate Drew Butler not even showing up. I’ll deal with this and more in due time. First I’ll take a minute to look at this from a student’s perspective since that it what I am.
Amazingly I have never made it to the Georgia v South Carolina game but from the reports I haven’t missed out on much. Every year I hear reports of how terrible the campus is and that the heat is unbearable; this year was no different. Seeing everyone in camo and jumping up and down to sandstorm is hard to stand watching on tv let alone seeing it in person. We lost and lost convincingly but I am thankful that I get to come home to Athens, GA and thats a moral victory in and of itself. But enough of that, on to football.
It really goes without saying, but the key to Carolina’s success seemed solely in the hands of Marcus Lattimore. He rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns and was absolutely unstoppable. The Gamecock wide receivers were as tall as advertised and while they weren’t the dominant force in the game, they helped make crucial third downs and other small plays that made an important impact. On defense, the Dawgs were getting good pressure with Justin Houston and Demarcus Dobbs, and Darryl Gamble was flying around making tackles so what was the problem? If any one stat lets me know the problem it is this; Bacarri Rambo led the team in tackles. Nose tackle DeAngelo Tyson was getting pushed out every single play which allowed Lattimore to get 3 to 4 yards across the line of scrimmage before he was even touched. Lattimore is a strong back so even when a linebacker would meet him after his 4 free yards he typically fell for an additional gain when he was tackled. If that had been the worst of it, this would have still probably spelled doom for the Bulldogs but an even worse scenario played out when the arm tackling reappeared. I haven’t seen a number yet but South Carolina’s yards after contact must be obnoxious. The secondary was just as guilty as the rest of the defense and perhaps even more so with some very suspect coverage at times. The inability to get the defense off the field was crippling. Coach Todd Grantham addressed this after the game as a point of emphasis, and even said that he intends to get Kwame Getathers and Justin Anderson more time on D line. The long USC possessions wore down the defense and provided our young quarterback with fewer chances to score.
With that, let’s look at the Georgia Offense. As bad as some people think it looked, I think we should all be encouraged by the play of the offense and especially by the quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray’s passes were all either right on the money or put in a place that was unable to be picked off. Coach Richt and Coach Bobo have said that it’s time to open the play book for Murray and really give him the reigns to the offense more than his first two games. I am eager to see what Murray can do when Bobo unleashes him, especially if AJ Green is on the field. As much as i hate saying it, I think if AJ Green had played this weekend the Dawgs would have come away with a win. As much as I want to say he doesn’t matter that much, and our team has the tools to make up for missing one player; I just can’t shake the fact that AJ would have made at least one insane play that would have altered the game. Especially after seeing how well Murray threw the ball and the good decisions he was making, I have to think that Green wins us that game. Even if he hadn’t made a great play, his mere presence on the field makes other receivers more open and allows for someone else to make a play.
Where was Drew Butler on Saturday? Perhaps we have been spoiled by his incredible punts, pinning the other team deep in their own territory; but he couldn’t even pin USC behind the 50 yard line. Granted, Lattimore would have just had to carry the ball a few more times but I think that theres more opportunities for the Bulldog defense to make a stop or a turnover.
There is still plenty to talk about, but hopefully we will be back soon with some more focused posts. Everyone cross your fingers for AJ. Sounds like we may know if he gets a reduced suspension either Tuesday or Wednesday but I’m not going to hold my breath. All in all, we still have an entire season to play and I think our problems are able to be corrected. I am not amongst those people calling for anyone’s head. I Love Greg McGarity and hope to have an article on him at some point in the next week or two.