Friday, October 26, 2007

5 Keys to a Win at UT

The Volunteers (4-3, 2-2) VS. No. 15-ranked Gamecocks (6-2, 3-2).

As I get ready to leave for a trip to Knoxville today, I wanted to make sure that I leave behind the 5 keys to a win at UT. I have already prepared myself to hear Rocky Top at least 146 times in a 8 hour span. Going into the game, my first thought is - Carolina can win this but it depends on which team shows up on both sidelines. Meaning if the team that played Vandy comes into UT it is over before the half but if the team that played UK / UGA then it will be a great game with a USC win. The flip-side of this - if the UT team that played UGA shows up, then look out but if the UT team that played to start the season makes a appearance it should be a win for USC.

Enough of that and hopefully it makes some sense to ya, here are the 5 Keys to a Win at UT:

1. USC O line must step up ---Seems that this has been a key all season and it truly is the number one key for USC to leave UT with a 'W.' Whatever the combination USC uses on the line does not really matter, what does matter is whomever plays has to play great. Let's only give up 2 sacks this game and no more. Give the QB time to set his feet to make good throws and create running lanes for Boyd/Davis.
Grade here is a "B," they did real good this game.

2. USC Offense ---The entire Carolina offense is a key this game. Normally, I try to single out a player or position but the entire unit has to perform at a higher level in a tough stadium that seats 100k+. Expect crowd noise but don't let it get to you, use the silent snap count, limit dumb mistakes and no TO's. Davis/Boyd must carry the ball at least 20 times this game or heck try a screen pass or two. USC receiving corps has to catch, whether it is a TE or a WR - CATCH the ball and block down field so the running game can do good things.
Grade Here is a "B" and that is due to the offense not showing up until the 2nd half.
3. USC must win the field position game--- This game for the last few years has been a game of inches and field position with a turnover mixed in there from time to time. USC must capitalize on what is given and put the ball in the endzone when given the opportunity. Vandy it seemed started on our side each time and this can not happen against UT. Special teams must execute and we have to move the ball on offense.
Grade here is a "D" because when the time counted to keep them at bay we sucked.

4. Defense must produce --- This unit is the anchor of our team and we owe many wins this season to the D Unit (not G Unit) but in this match-up with UT we need the Carolina D to get a TO and help the offense. Example of this was the UK game with Norwood doing his duty. We need that kind of performance to get the pressure off Smelley and leave the stadium with a win. USC defensive end Eric Norwood said Tennessee’s success is “going to change” in the Greenville News. “We’re going to get pressure,” said Norwood, who leads USC with five sacks. “(Kentucky quarterback Andre’) Woodson hadn’t been sacked that much. We got (after him). I don’t think their O-line is that much superior to Kentucky’s.” God I hope you do what you say.
Grade here is a "B" due to the fact that yes they forced some fumbles but just could not pick up the ball or run a INT back.

5. Succop must be ready --- It may come down to a kick or a great punt so Ryan has to be ready to show why he is one of the best kickers in the nation. In 2005, he helped to win it not only with his FG but with good punts. So please Ryan just kick the sh*t out of the ball when punting and split the up rights on FG attempts.
Grade here is a "B" b/c well he made the one in regulation but missed when it counted. Also he did real well punting and kicking off but the rest of the special teams did not do so hot in coverage.

Prediction - USC 24 UT 23


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