Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thoughts on Smelley

Ok I got through phase 2 of the Gamecock Loss and pulled myself to watch the coach’s show. Looking back on the game I couldn’t help but wonder about the QB situation. Pre UGA I was all about throwing Garica in there and letting him mature this season. Let him get his licks in now and be ready to roll for next year.
However, watching Smelley in that game, I feel like he took a step in the right direction in becoming a top SEC QB. He was up against the #2 Team in the country without the security blanket of his #1 WR. He was poised all game and didn’t bow out like he did against Tennessee last year. He stood tall in the pocket and made several good throws down field in the second half; I just wish we would have opened up our playbook in the first quarter. Instead we spent it way too conservative running M. Davis and throwing 2 yard screens. Once the offense let loose we pretty much moved up and down the field at will against UGA, 208 yds pass in the second half alone! Cook had a mismatch all day, Moe Brown played his best game, and we caught a couple of breaks in some interference calls.

Smelley led 3 drives (all in the 4th) into UGA territory only to come up blank. The first one was the heart breaking fumble in the end zone by Mike Davis. If you watch this play again it will make you sick to your stomach because if Mike busts it out wide to the left no UGA defender was in position to keep him from getting to the corner. All of them bit inside and left the corner completely wide open. Second was the drop by Moe on 3rd down; followed by the 4th down give up route by CC.
Smelley then led the gamecocks on one final rally deep into UGA Territory. A holding call killed momentum and field position. On 3rd and 17 with 19 seconds left he forced the ball to Cook a play too early, it sailed high and was picked off. I would have loved to see us use the last bit of clock and go to forth down, with time running down, heave one in the end zone and see what happens. I don’t know but there is something magical about that end zone on 4th down just ask Eric Kimmery.

Smelley looked like he matured and was patient in finding his reads. There were a couple of other miscues besides the forced pass to cook, one play too early. First off, he still can’t audible. This was costly as a blitz up the middle clearly was coming. Smelley couldn’t do anything about it and it resulted in a 3rd down sack to move us out of field goal range. Second, he couldn’t scramble which is the reason he got sacked in the above mentioned sentence (son if you can’t scramble or audible and you see the blitz coming, throw it the Hell away!). So we need to work on scrambling, the audible, and a little better decision making, otherwise he put his team in a situation to comeback and win. It’s just too bad no one else on offense could make a play. If there is any silver lining it was Smelley stepping up to the occasion along with Moe Brown.

1 comment:

2nd opinion said...

i agree, Smelley looked poised in the pocket and they did a great job of not allowing him to get pressured. I beleive he was sacked only once in the game.

After watching the replay yesterday the Mike Davis fumble may also be put on the hands of the o-line. Jamon Merdith was pancaked and in the backfeild at the same time as Davis got the hand off. Jean Peirre also was struggling to hold his man at the line of scrimmage.

The only hope I have is that we continue to play up to the level we played at against UGA throughout the season.