Friday, November 02, 2007

Keys to a WIN against Ark-Kansas...

This will be a tough game for Carolina but I feel USC can win the game. Yes, Arkansas has 3 losses in SEC play but the Razorbacks' three losses to Alabama, Kentucky and Auburn are by a total of 18 points. Arkansas at home, even if they are a run focused team, is real good for some reason.....Only one SEC school has more home wins than Arkansas since 1998. LSU is 53-13 at home in that span while Arkansas is 51-17.

In order to win the game, USC must perform well with these 5 keys to a USC win vs. Arkansas:
1. USC Run Defense ---Simple game plan for Nix and Co. and that is to stop McFad/Jones (or at least contain). This means the d line has to brush off blocks and tackle. I feel the defense is up to the challenge and know that if SC can stop the run and force them to pass (even with Monk) then a win is within grasps.
2. Create 'big' plays---This means we need the D or someone on offense to create big plays. Interceptions are nice as are picking up fumbles...flip side is air it out and create some running room for the playmakers to take one to the house.
3. Gamecocks must win the "mini" games ---This means that USC must win the field position battle, must win the special teams battle and must win the turnover game. Arkansas has forced 11 turnovers in the last two games, seven in a 58-10 win against Florida International this past Saturday...this can not be allowed to happen! SC must win the turnover game. Also Field position is crucial to this game and to USC having success. We all witnessed the poor showing against Vandy and how their punter did his job and we never got past the 50 it seemed. Succop has to hit his FG tries and punt extremely well against Ark. Also the coverage unit must contain Arkansas's Felix Jones, he leads the SEC and is sixth nationally in kickoff returns, averaging 31.6 yards, with a long of 90 yards and two touchdowns. And we gotta contain Norton, who ranks fourth in the SEC in punt returns, averaging 10.8 yards with a long of 45 yards. Heck maybe Succop could kick a ball in the endzone a time or two on Saturday?
4. Offensive line play---Heath Batchelor,6-foot-7, 304-pounder, will be the sixth player to start at guard for the 23rd-ranked Gamecocks this season and had a good showing last week. We need for the entire unit to perform extremely well against Arkansas. It will be a tough environment but if the o unit can give Blake some time to make passes and allow Boyd/Davis to run the ball them look out victory b/c here comes da cocks.
5. Blake and Boyd ---These two players must have great games. We need a performance much like what we have seen glimpses of throughout the season but most recently in the 2nd half against UT. Time to turn it up a notch boys!
Win and we are still in the hunt for the SEC East....Prediction - USC 27 Ark 17

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quote of the week

The state newspaper reported that Arkansas's head coach Houston Nutt is going to start Casey Dick this week against USC. Dick was knocked out of the game last weekend against Florida international something something university. Here is the quote


Oh ARK-Kansas...

As usual we here at LOHD like to throw out some thoughts before we unveil the 5 keys to a Carolina win that we provide before every game. So here are some thoughts on the upcoming game versus Arkansas, which will not be a push over because they are not a easy win like playing Vandy is....wait, we lost to Vandy. Geez, heartburn is back. Anyway, the Gamecocks have to rebound because let's be honest we are some how mathematically involved in the hunt for the SEC East and what it boils down to is winning. I know, the 23rd-ranked South Carolina team has lost two straight...both have been heartbreakers but we are Carolina fans right....our history proves we are tough and faithful fans.

What we have is the Gamecocks vs. the Razorbacks on ESPN2 on Saturday at 8pm and both teams are in need of a "win." Arkansas leads the all-time series 9-6. SC has dropped 8 spots in the Top 25 and we need to stop this elevator ride. I will not go too deep in this b/c ESPN has a nice Preview HERE of the upcoming game.

Looking at Arkansas shows that USC has work to do. Arkansas is first in the SEC in tackles for loss, averaging 7.25 a game. The Razorbacks also lead the league in scoring (40.25 points), total offense (450.88 yards) and rushing (287.6 yards). Arkansas is allowing 19.75 points a game, slightly more than USC (17.78).

Despite what Dead Guy says here with his prediction of Arkansas winning (even with his research), I feel the Gamecocks will pull out a victory.

What it comes down to is stopping the run (period). South Carolina is shaky with their run defense at times giving up 169.2 ypg (10th in SEC) and running the ball, as we all know, is what Arkansas does best with 287.6 ypg. As mentioned just the other day on this blog, USC has to stop or at least slow down the run game of Arkansas. Barney and Fred must be stopped.....I mean McFad and Jones lead the SEC in running - 124.1 and 107.9 ypg respectively - and can not be allowed to run with ease. Last year, it was the coming out party for RB Darrin McFadden against USC - he put up 219 yds and 2 TDs. That can not happen again this year, if it does then game over and welcome to a 3 game losing streak.

Thoughts? Prediction of the score? Who do you think will win?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mitchell he is our man....

but the question is for how long? Coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday that he's going to give fifth-year senior Blake Mitchell "the opportunity" to finish the season as the starting QB.

Will this be a repeat of last year where Blake comes in to save the day after the offensive line figured out how to block? Or is this a last resort for Spurrier since Smelley still is making freshman mistakes and Beecher is not ready for the prime time?

This year, Mitchell lost his job at halftime of USC's 28-16 loss at No. 2 LSU on Sept. 22. He didn't play a snap the next three games before splitting time in USC's stunning 17-6 loss to Vanderbilt two weeks ago. Smelley started in Saturday's 27-24 overtime loss at Tennessee, but Mitchell came on with 9:48 left in the second quarter and USC down 14-0 and went the distance.

In his final 18 quarters last year Mitchell hit 69.4 percent of his passes (102 of 147) for 1,467 yards and twice as many touchdowns (10) as interceptions. Against Tennessee last week, Mitchell helped rally USC for 24 second-half points after coming on for Smelley, who was three for five for 40 yards and an interception. Mitchell completed 31 of 45 passes for 290 yards and one touchdown along with one interception.

So my question is -- How many of you think Blake will keep his job as the starting QB for the rest of the season or do you think Spurrier will pull the rug out from under him as soon as he makes a mistake and go with Smelley or Beecher?

Let's be honest here the USC football team has an opportunity to seize the moment (as they have had all year but decide to screw up each time). THE STATE and our friend at the Garnet & Black Blog laid it out HERE on how to win the SEC East.

USC Football Team should adopt Carpe Diem as their new slogon for the rest of the season!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The hotter the better, even in the winter

Just a reminder that next week will be the 2nd annual Tailgating Chili cook-off. Last year was such a success that we decided to bring it back for a 2nd year. There will be plenty of time to taste all the chili's as the game is not until 7:30 next weekend. So bring some beer and a spoon, and maybe some pepto bismol.

Arkansas’ Monk to Play

As reported in the news today, it seems the preseason All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection Marcus Monk will play against USC this Saturday.

This is the same guy that took advantage of the SC secondary last year to the tune of eight receptions for 192 yards with a touchdown.

The game plan of the USC Defense should be on the Arkansas backfield - McFadden/Jones. Put enough in the box to stop the run (or swing pass) and then let Captain play Monk. If we can play like we did against UT in last week's second half then we should walk away a winner. Granted if we get the ball to bounce our way and stop fumbling / throwing bad passes on offense.

What do you guys think?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Where have you been?

Blake Mitchell....seems he waits until desperation is served at dinner to show up.

He completed 31-of-45 passes for 290 yards - the most by a Gamecocks quarterback this season - and led USC to touchdowns on three consecutive series spanning the third and fourth quarters.

Oh and two other players that played great games...tailback Cory Boyd and receiver Kenny McKinley. Boyd rushed for a career-high 160 yards on 20 carries, while McKinley tied Zola Davis' school record with 14 receptions for a career-high 151 yards.

Let's all hope that this kind of performance shows up every week now. No more bad offensive showings please, 8 quarters is enough for Spurrier and me.

USC fell a game behind Georgia and a half-game back of Tennessee with two conference games remaining. The Gamecocks travel to Arkansas this week before playing host to Florida on Nov. 10. After an open week, USC closes the regular season Nov. 24 against Clemson.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

USC Remains Ranked

I feel this is a gift for Univ of South Carolina and weird that we are ranked higher than UT. Not even going to try to figure it out but I guess we are grateful.

The Gamecocks' second loss in as many weeks dropped them eight spots in both national polls. USC slipped to No. 23 in The Associated Press rankings and to No. 25 in the USA Today coaches poll.

Polls HERE.

SC loses to UT

Wide right.

Ryan Succop missed a 40-yard field goal in overtime after his Tennessee counterpart made a 27-yarder moments earlier as Tennessee defeated the 15th-ranked Gamecocks 27-24 before an announced crowd of 105,962.

With the wide right miss in overtime, it leaves the Gamecocks looking up at Tennessee and Georgia in the SEC East standings and needing help to reach the conference championship game for the first time in school history.

Steve sums it up with this quote -"We played just good enough to lose, that's how we played. We made some yards, hit some passes, but in the clutch we didn't hit crap."

Greenville News Article - here