Saturday, October 31, 2009

5 keys to a Gamecocks win over the Vols

By now I hope you have read the LOHD preview/prediction, read my opinion piece and watched the SC v UT scene setter.  What does that leave?  Well of course our usual "5 keys" that we lay out each week so here goes....

For USC these must be executed to escape Knoxville with a win -

1. Avoid 3rd and longs --- on offense the Gamecocks can not allow dumb penalites, a sack or loss of yards to put them in bad position.  Must get positive yards on 1st and 2nd down which means good plays called.

2.  SC must find a hole in the Cover 2 --- Garcia has to be able to pass on the Monte D and its Cover 2 scheme so the UT defense can be kept honest.  UT will cheat up early and try to shut down the run.  This means Garcia, well it is up to you to read the defense and find some passing routes to hit on.  With Moe, Saunders, Gurley and Alshon there should be some openings but of course don't force it - Berry is watching.

3. Field position battle must go SC way --- it close games the field position matters and this game is going to be close (hope i am wrong and SC blows them out).

4.  Gamecocks Special Teams must be Special (in a good way) --- Spencer has to have good punts, accurate foot, Adam (if you kick) please hit it long and high, tackle, play your lanes and lastly don't be the cause of defeat.  I hope Culliver gets some good returns today or even better - Sherman takes it to the house today.

5.   USC Line play --- on both sides of the ball the gamecocks have to win the battles up front.  Need pressure on UT QB, must stop the run!, have to tackle, have to block good on offense, create running lanes on offense and provide time. 

I also want to see Gilmore in the 'wildspur' formation tonight or some kind of trick play.  Still feel the gamecocks win this one by score of 17-13.

'DYK' - Head coach Steve Spurrier is 11-7 all-time against Tennessee, 2-2 as head coach at South Carolina.  The Gamecocks are 1-13 all-time at Neyland Stadium with the lone victory coming in 2005, Spurrier’s first season at USC.


Lanning On Ray Guy Award List

Per the USC Offical site ---

USC punter Spencer Lanning is one of 42 players named to the 2009 Ray Guy Award Watch List, as released by the Augusta Sports Council.  The award recognizes the nation's top punter.

Lanning, a 5-11, 188-pounder from Rock Hill, S.C., is currently fourth in the SEC and 38th in the nation in punting, averaging 42.3 yards per punt. He has a long punt of 56 yards.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gamecocks v Vols Preview/Prediction

The Gamecocks are heading to "Rocky Top" for a great SEC clash vs Tennessee and this game has lots riding on it from bowl implications, to SEC position and Spurrier v Kiffin.  So much you could talk about with respect to this match-up (like Monte's D v Spurrier's O) but what is most important from my gamecock perspective is escaping Knoxville with a win no matter how ugly it may be.

This game is to take place on Halloween and on that day UT is 1-1 v USC.  USC is trying to do something they have never done and that is win consecutive games versus the Vols.  Last year, the gamecocks won 27-6, can it be done again?

UT (3-4, 1-3) needs a win on Saturday as this season has been a struggle from the start.  Kiffin has shown glimers of hope for the UT faithful but the crowd grows hungry for wins like they were use to under Fulmer.  Spurrier also wants to win and keep this good season going as they should have beat UGa and had a chance vs 'Bama.  The Garcia lead offense needs to bring their 'A' game while the defense needs to play at their usual high level.

So what to watch for as this is a preview right...

USC Defense v UT Offense --- UT will do their darnest to establish the run.  They got a great back in RB Montario Hardesty, who ranks 4th in the SEC in rushing yards per game with 102.9 yards.  QB Jonthan Crompton has 14 TD passes with 10 INT.  He has thrown for 1,475 yds, 57.7% completion and averages 210.71 yds per game.  His outlets are Gerald Jones 22 catches for 281 yds, 3 TD; Denarius Moore 16 catches for 241 yds, 2 TD;  and Quintin Hancock with 17 catches for 194yds with 1 TD.  But again look for UT to try their best to run - run - and run.  The gamecocks D must stop the run, stop the run up the middle.  The gamecocks rank 14th in the nation in total D and 3rd in passing D.  I ensure you UT saw tape of the Bama game and will try to run up the middle.  Thank god Cliff Matthews is okay after getting the stinger as he is a key up front.  The D needs to force UT to throw the ball and get a TO or two.  I hope the gamecocks get pressure and push from the defensive line.  Overall, I suspect the D will rise up to the challenge as they play great on ESPN.

UT Defense v USC Offense --- UT allows about 18.4 pts per game.  They allow 269.71 yds (155.86 passing, 113.85 rushing) per game and have forced 15 (6 fumbles, 9 interceptions) TOs.  This D is just as good as the Bama D, they rank 10th nationally in total defense so it will be a great test for Spurrier to find the holes.  The key on the offensive side is not turning the ball over.  No stupid stuff!  No penalites and please throw the ball away if pressure is on ya Garcia.  With Moe Brown and Saunders back the passing options for Garcia improve.  Look for Alshon to get some looks but don't force it to him as he will have Mr. Eric Berry watching him.  I repeat Garcia, don't force throws as the UT secondary can hurt ya.  Also key players for UT besides Berry are Rico McCoy and Dan Williams.

Tennessee may lead this series 21-4-2 but over the last four years this has gone back and forth.  I feel this will end in '09 and USC will escape UT with its' first consecutive win.  I feel the SC D will do its job, look for Norwood to invoke his name in the national college football talk again with a great play; look for Garcia to manage this game well and SC running backs Miles and Giles to have great games as the running attack for SC will have to step up.  This game will be another close one as normal and a low scoring affair....I feel Spurrier earns this win with timely offense in the second half and great defense when needed, which is normal this year. 
Final Score 17-13 USC.

New Basketball Jersey's

Is it just me or do these jersey look pretty plain. I am also a little confused by the middle jersey, is that GaNecocks or Gamecocks? Thoughts and options are welcome.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Q & A with Vols in the Fall

A fellow blogger and I traded some "Q&A" regarding the upcoming UT v USC game.  I invite you to visit - Vols in the Fall - as they do a great job of diving into UT sports.

As mentioned, we traded some questions and answers dealing with the upcoming game in Knoxville.  You can view my responses to his questions by going to his site - HERE. 

And below is his responses to my questions, enjoy .........

1. Does the UT fan base miss Philip Fulmer any this season or feel the season would be different with him roaming the sidelines?

Miss him? Yes and no. The majority miss Fulmer because he was born in Tennessee, played for UT, and was a coach for the Vols, assistant and head coach, for nearly 30 years. He was a Vol through and through. He bled orange. He was respected as a gentleman and a valued ambassador for the state, the university, and the football program. We are a sentimental bunch. But those same people came to believe that the game had passed him by. Highly valued recruits were going elsewhere. His assistant coaching staff was of questionable quality. His play calling was frustratingly conservative. And, the final blow, the W-L record was suffering. The loss at home against Wyoming was the last straw. The AD was in real danger of a fan and donator munity.

Would this season be different with Phil at the helm? I think most would say yes, and decidedly for the worse. Land Kiffin has garnered the respect and confidence of the vast majority of the Vol fan base. We may still be adjusting to his “style”, but we have his back. I don’t think there is a Big Orange supporter today that believes we would have performed against Florida, Georgia, and Bama nearly as well as we did under Kiffin. And the biggest piece of evidence is in the conduct and resolve of the Vol players. This group would walk through fire for Kiffin and Company. Last year, many simply quit on Fulmer. Last year was a very distressing time for Vol fans. Today, it feels like somebody opened the doors to let the fresh air blow in. It feels very, very good.

2. Who is seen as UT’s rival – hear a lot when the match-up’s come around like UGa, Bama, UF or Vandy but who is truly seen as “the rival?”

Great question. The best answer I can give is perhaps what I wrote before last week’s clash against Bama :

“For Vol fans, Tennessee-Florida is the rivalry of supremacy for the SEC East Division. Tennessee-Georgia is the newly-christened rivalry of supremecy in the recruiting battleground of Georgia. Tennessee-Kentucky is the age-old state-line rivalry that is called the Border Battle (104 games and counting) – by the way, I miss the Beer Barrel. And, Tennessee-Vanderbilt is that bitter in-state rivalry (103 games and counting).

“But the Tennessee-Alabama rivalry is different. Its commonly referenced name is a date on a calendar: the Third Saturday in October... That is just a historical reference. But it is a reference that elicits a profound pathos. It creates an emotional response, for Tennessee-Alabama is the Rivalry of the Heart.

It is in the heart of every Vol football season’s schedule. It is in the heart of Autumn. And, it is at the heart of every Tennessee Volunteer football supporter. It is the heart of every Vol. It is truly a matter of the heart.”

One thing to keep in mind when asking the question you did is the age of the recipient. If you came of age as a Vol fan since the realignment of the SEC into divisions (early ‘90s), you might reflexively say Florida for obvious reasons. But I graduated from UT in the late ‘70s. Back then, Florida and Georgia were just periodic nuisances. But, Kentucky was a huge game every year. Vanderbilt was as well because back then it was the last game of the season and bowl fortunes were usually at stake, not to mention bragging rights in the state. Alabama, however, was THE rival. The rivalry had the history, the great coaches, the great players, the great teams, the national standing, the conference championships. For decades, more times than not, it was the signature game of the SEC. The funny part about it though is that Auburn, not Tennessee, was and still is Bama’s biggest rival. In that respect, it reminds me of the UNC-Duke-NC State triangle. UNC is State’s biggest rival, but Duke is UNC’s biggest rival.

So, in my mind, Bama is our biggest rival. I can’t imagine it any other way.

3. From a UT fan’s perspective, what are your thoughts on UT’s football team shirtless team photo?

Age plays a role in this answer as well. My bet is that the younger you are, the less of an effect the stunt had on you. At first, I thought it was way over the top and not in line with the University’s image. But like everything else in matters of generation gaps, rational thought brings things into perspective. That photo/video isn’t for me or friends of my generation. It is for recruits.

An Auburn blogger and I discussed this type of thing – he attended the UT-Auburn game earlier in the season. He was asking me about Kiffin and the new culture around the Tennessee program this season. He recounted a fellow War Eagler with whom he attended the game. They noticed how the Vol players during pre-game were getting into the rap music blaring out of the Neyland Stadium sound system. And they commented how the heavy metal music played at Jordan-Hare all of a sudden seemed out of place for them. They realized in their epiphany that the music at Neyland was for the Vol players, whereas the metal was for the middle-aged white dudes sitting in the Jordan-Hare bleachers.

So, I have to keep remembering that the photo is all about the kids – it is all about the players, present and future. As it should be. We all need to loosen up a bit.

4. Will Philip Fulmer Way be renamed in the future?

There are two coaches in the history of UT football to have won the National Championship. Robert Neyland won the first and Philip Fulmer won the second. They named the stadium after the first coach. I think the street name is safe.

5. Predict the final record for UT in 2009.

I’m still sticking with my pre-season prediction of 6-6. If we’re fortunate enough to beat the Gamecocks this Halloween night, then 7-4 is a distinct possibility. But, I’ll stay with the .500 season.

It’s worth commenting that after the big game in Tuscaloosa, there is a lot of talk about how we will definitely run the table and finish 8-4 and go to a New Year’s Day Bowl. I think some people need to get a grip on reality. If it happens, then great. But the chances are about 1 in 10 in my opinion.

***Also our pal over at Garnet & Black Attack, has also reached to 'Vols in the Fall', view it HERE.

Help coming to the Gamecocks Line - Next year....

Per The State -

Offensive lineman Duvan Milsap (6-foot-5, 300 pounds) of Buford, Ga., committed to USC. He is listed by as a 3 star lineman but do these stars really mean anything?

He picked the Gamecocks over Oklahoma State and Ole Miss. He also had offers from Clemson, Mississippi State, Louisville and East Carolina.

Milsap, who plays offensive tackle, is the 19th commitment for the Gamecocks and the eighth offensive lineman.  This current class is rated #26 by 

So we now have 8 OLs in the upcoming class, this is great news as we need these big uglies especially a guy like this - 6-5 300+ pounds.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Florida could be Gamecocks Bowl Stop college football analysts believe that South Carolina will be spending New Year’s in Florida again this year based on their latest bowl projections.

Mark Schlabach and Bruce Feldman each released their bowl projects on and say either the Outback Bowl (Schabach's choice) or the Capital One Bowl (Feldman's pick) is in the Carolina team's future.

Schlabach has South Carolina squaring off against Ohio State in the Outback Bowl for the third time this decade in Tampa on Jan. 1, 2010.

Feldman also believes Carolina will play Ohio State, but in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando.

I would be happy with either trip but first let's beat UT.

Coach Horn lands a 2011 Basketball Pledge for USC

Per Phil Kornblut -

The USC basketball team Tuesday gained a commitment for the 2011 class from 6-8 forward Anthony Gill of Charlotte.  Gill is the Gamecocks' first commitment for the '11 class.
He made an unofficial visit to USC this past Saturday and made his decision shortly thereafter.

It is good to see us get a big body this early....

LOHD Ballot for SEC Power Poll

1.  Alabama
Imagine if they had a passing attack...

2.  UF
The team of Urban, Tebow, Dunlap and the Refs are getting it done.

3.  LSU
Quietly taking care of buisness.

4.  S.Carolina
Winning ugly but hey it counts in the SEC.

5.  Ole Miss
They just figured out how to play offense.

6.  UT
Kiffin is earning respect more and more - NOT Lane, I meant Monte is - with a great defensive strategy each game.  Now if only they had a offense....

7.  UGA
Dawgs got some needed rest to prepare for UF and calm the flames of the fanbase.

8.  Arkansas
This team is bi-polar, flashes of greatest then flashes of horrible.

9.  MSU
Dan has quickly made past Coach Croom a distant memory.

10. UK
They beat UL - Monroe but most important is the John Wall saga in UK land.

11.  Auburn
Decided to stop playing competitive football.  No "war" in this eagle.

12.  Vandy
Vandy would be the national champions if "almosts" counted.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SEC in the Polls

SEC in the polls as of Oct. 26th

1. Florida
2. Alabama
9. LSU
22. South Caolina
25. Ole Miss

USA Today Coaches’ Poll
1. Florida
2. Alabama
9. LSU
21. South Carolina
22. Ole Miss

Harris Poll
1. Florida
2. Alabama
9. LSU
21. South Carolina
23. Ole Miss

SEC Slate of Games for Oct. 31st

So here is your run-down of SEC games this weekend....


Ole Miss at Auburn — 12:21pm
ESPN Regional Syndicated Network

Florida vs Georgia from Jacksonville — 3:30pm

Mississippi State at Kentucky — 7:00pm
Fox Sports Net

Eastern Michigan at Arkansas — 7:00pm

Georgia Tech at Vanderbilt — 7:30pm

South Carolina at Tennessee — 7:45pm

Tulane at LSU — 8:00pm

LOHD Heisman Watch

Here is who we think are leading one of the most wide open races in a long time...

Tim Tebow, Florida QB
Season: 84 of 132 passing for 1,159 yards, 8 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Rushed 121 for 466 and 6 touchdowns.

Mark Ingram, Alabama RB
Season: 152 carries for 1,001 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame QB
Season: 150 of 230 passing for 2,050 yards, 16 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Case Keenum, Houston QB
Season: 241 of 344 passing for 2,734 yards, 20 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.

Kellen Moore, Boise State QB
Season: 132 of 195 passing for 1,627 yards, 21 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

Outside looking in but could easily be on the short list above:
Colt McCoy, Texas QB
Tony Pike, Cincy QB
Ryan Matthews, Fresno State RB


Vandy v Gamecocks Post-Game Reflections

The Gamecocks' 14-10 win ended a two-game skid against the Commodores and made South Carolina bowl eligible.  South Carolina marched up and down the field, racking up over 400 yards of offense, but failed to score on either of its trips to the red zone.  The Gamecocks also struggled to extend drives, converting on just 6 of 16 3rd downs.  It was not the kind of win we had hoped for but it still counts as a win.  I am gald to get it!  Just hope lots of improvement is made as the schedule does not get any easier from here on out.

LOHD "Hot Dog Hero" of the game
RB Kenny Miles --- notched his second 100-yard rushing performance of the season. The redshirt freshman finished with 102 yards on 18 carries against a good Vanderbilt defense.

Chew on this....
  • Alshon Jeffery had eight catches for 161 yards and one touchdown...P.S. he is a true freshman.
  • Shaq Wilson had double digit tackles again which is a nice change to see a LB lead the team in tackles versus safeties as we’ve seen in years prior.
  • With Saturday night’s win, Spurrier earned his 105th win in the SEC and moved into a tie with Vince Dooley for third all-time. Only Bear Bryant (159) and John Vaught (106) have more.
3 Areas to Focus on in Practice from the LOHD Coaching Box
  1. The offensive line is still struggling. It gave up three sacks against Vanderbilt, and continues to shift around with new personnel.  I do not have the answer on who the right people are up front but just seems to me we settle on one and kinda stick with it.  I for one hate it when my boss is constantly looking over my shoulder and can only imagine the anxiety these guys feel...could be the issue?  Don't get me wrong, I want the best up there and those that want to prove why they play in the SEC but maybe the leash needs not be so tight.
  2. Kickoff Coverage.  I hope this was just a minor setback as the Gamecocks Special Teams had improved so much.  South Carolina allowed its second kickoff return for a touchdown of the season.  No more please.
  3. Play calling.  Spurrier let's see the genius again please b/c lately it has been lackluster.  I know SC is winning but just seems there can be a less painful way.  Open it up a bit.
Next up....
#21 South Carolina (6-2, 3-2 SEC) travels to Tennessee (3-4, 1-3 SEC) on Saturday.

Ten questions for last weeks college football?

1.) There are now only 7 undefeated teams, which teams has the best chance of finishing the season undefeated?

2.) Does Dan Mullen have a legit claim against the SEC officials once again screwing up a call that could have changed the outcome of a game.

3.) Is Clemson the best team in the ACC now?

4.) Do you think it would be wise for the Big 12 to realign there divisions, the Big 12 north hasn’t won the conference since 2003.

5.) Who is the best QB in the SEC, Tebow’s numbers are down but is he the best QB.

6.) This time of year, coaches start to feel the heat from AD’s about their jobs. Who is the first coach to go this year?

7.) Is Iowa for real, and do they have a legit shot at winning the National Championship?

8.) What do you consider worst, Navy beating Wake last weekend, or Army beating Vandy a couple weeks ago?

9.) If you were a NFL GM, who would you rather have on your team Mark Ingram, Tim Tebow or C.J. Spiller?

10.) Better true freshman WR through their first 8 games, AJ Green or Alshon Jeffrey?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mumme Poll Ballot - Week 8

The ballot is below. Again, the Mummepoll requires you to rank the top five teams and then just select, in any order, the next seven. This intent is for a more original polling format.

1. Florida

Rolling along.

2. Alabama

Barely survived a surprisingly close rivalry game, but did survive.

3. Texas

Nice win on the road against a middling Missouri team.

4. Georgia Tech

First win in Charlottesville since 1990. Should cruise unimpeded to the ACC Championship game.

5. LSU

Sound defeat of solid Auburn team.


Southern Cal

Continues to play close games against inferior talent.


Can they beat anybody impressively? On the other hand, can anyone beat them?

Virginia Tech

Off week, nothing to see here.


Did to Washington what Southern Cal should have.

Cincinnati, TCU, Boise State

Still undefeated, weak schedules keeping them out of the Top 5.

Gamecocks #21

The University of South Carolina football team is ranked 21st in the nation in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY/Coaches' polls released today.

The Gamecocks are 6-2 on the season, 3-2 in the SEC and tied with Georgia for second in the SEC East.  South Carolina's next game is at Tennessee (3-4, 1-3 SEC) on Saturday at 7:45 pm on ESPN.

Gamecock Fan of the Week: Vandy Edition

Oh George....
{pic credit - Ashton Vazquez)

Gamecock Clippings / Weekend News in Review

USC Football
'Dores knocked down: USC snaps Vandy skid
Morris: Cock 'n' Fire gang still can't shoot straight
Receiving unit steps up for USC
100 just a number to Miles
Special teams flaw makes a return
Gamecocks become bowl eligible with win over Vanderbilt, but it wasn't easy
SEC commissioner issues memos clarifying rules
Clemson, USC celebrate Big Thursday 50 years later

USC Basketball
More strides ahead for USC hoops
USC transfer gets UGA coach's praise
USC and SEC notes
Charleston hoops tourney is no turkey trot

SEC Basketball News
Report: UK's John Wall may not be eligible ... does this surprise anyone really?
SEC Basketball Preseason Rankings and Other Stuff

Garnet & Black Attack Blog Post of Note
Reviewing Vanderbilt at South Carolina: A Win is a Win is Revenge

Remembering the 1984 Gamecock Football Team

Remembering the 1969 Gamecock Football team