Saturday, September 06, 2008

My last thoughts on the Vandy Game

I hate to revisit the subject. The loss was horrific and one that should not have happen but it did. Here is my favorite quote concerning the game and it comes from Vandy Coach Bobby Johnson -

Vandy coach Bobby Johnson said he had trouble figuring out why his team was a 10-point underdog to USC. “I was surprised that so many people thought it would be real hard for us to beat them,” said Johnson, a Columbia native and former Furman coach. “We beat them last year and I don’t know why everybody thought they got so much better than what we were getting.

I can only hope that this inspires the Gamecocks to 'step-up' with 10 games to play. By now we all know that the SEC top to bottom is a great conference. There are no easy games, even a MSU can sneak up on ya. Every game, including Wofford and UAB has to be taken serious. I also want to see Spurrier throw deep at least once...come on truly air it out some.

I agree with Garnet&Black that the game is over and we must look past it. It is a new week and a new opponent. Granted the team staring us in the face is UGA and yes it will be tough but our team has got to respond. It is only the 3rd game of the season and there are lots of downs to be played so let's all move on and get behind our team come Saturday.

SEC Power Poll: Week 1

The official Week 1 SEC Power Poll is up at Garnet and Black Attack. Florida claims the top spot by a paltry 3.5 points, with Georgia right on their heels.

Read all about it at the link below:
Link to the full poll

Here is my ballot and how I voted -
  1. UGA
  2. LSU
  3. UF
  4. Auburn
  5. Alabama
  6. South Carolina
  7. Tenn
  8. Ole Miss
  9. UK
  10. Ark
  11. Vandy
  12. MSU

SEC Power Poll : Coaches Poll

As mentioned before LOHD has the honor of partcipating in the SEC Power Poll for the second year conducted by our pal at the Garnet & Black Blog. I forgot to post and share the first ballot of 2008. The poll dealt with "SEC Coaches and who is the best in the league."

Here is my ballot -
1. Mark Richt
2. Urban Meyer
3. Tommy Tuberville
4. Les Miles
5. Steve Spurrier
6. Nick Saban
7. Phil Fulmer
8. Bobby Petrino
9. Sly Croom
10. Bobby Johnson
11. Houston Nutt
12. Rich Brooks

Here is how the SEC Power Poll with all the votes shaped out -

1. Urban Meyer, 267 points (8 first-place votes)
2. Mark Richt, 262 (9)
3. Tommy Tuberville, 239 (2)
4. Les Miles, 216.5 (2)
5. Steve Spurrier, 191 (2)
6. Nick Sabana, 189.5
7. Phil Fulmer, 149
8. Houston Nutt, 113.5
9. Bobby Petrino, 102
10. Sylvester Croom, 97 (2)
11. Rich Brooks, 73
12. Bobby Johnson, 50.5

Thoughts? I will do a better job of posting my votes for the SEC Power Poll and explanations in the future.

Friday, September 05, 2008

This is how it feels

When you are riding high, then Vandy comes along for the 2nd straight year and does this.

How the hell do we stop the pain? Drinking a lot might be the only answer to our problems or maybe hire a better offensive line coach.

Vandy beats USC....again!

I tried to think of a word stronger than disappointed but could not today....I am shocked by what I watched thursday evening vs Vandy. Props to Vandy for beating Carolina 24-17.
Vandy responded after half, came out a new team, got some breaks and beat SC. Granted USC shot themselves in the foot so many dang times it is not funny. Oh well....I feel sorry for the SC defense b/c the SC offense is so bad.
Blog reports on the game

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Gameday tidbits

There are a suprisingly large number of Vanderbilt blogs with regular postings. After persusing some of the better ones, here are a few things I found to give you an idea what they are thinking:

The Sports VU is the most optimistic of a decidedly optimistic bunch:

"The day has finally arrived. Vanderbilt vs. South Carolina on ESPN. I don't think I've ever been more excited for a football game. Maybe it's because Erin Andrews is here. Maybe it's because it's my final SEC home opener as an undergraduate. Or maybe it's because there's some part of me that just knows Vanderbilt is going to win."

He goes on: "South Carolina's defense is very good, even for SEC standards. They're quick to the ball, they hit hard and they play with an attitude. With that said, the Gamecock offense is mediocre at best. They're starting a different quarterback, Spurrier's already complaining about his offensive line and their running game is nothing special."

"Tonight's game is going to come down to special teams and field position. Seems obvious enough, but I think it's even more important than usual for Vanderbilt. If the Commodores can force a few USC turnovers (and capitalize on them) and then take care of the ball on offense, I truly do like their chances. Furthermore, they'll probably need a big play on special teams to put the offense in position to score."

His prediction: "Vanderbilt 24, South Carolina 20"

jake at Save the Shield is a bit more guarded and noncommittal, but as he points out:

"Vanderbilt’s most recent win over a ranked team was, of course, at South Carolina last year, and South Carolina is also the most recent SEC team that Vanderbilt has defeated in consecutive years. On the other hand, the last time Vanderbilt was so looking forward to an early-season matchup against the Gamecocks was 2004, and of course we remember how that turned out.

It seems that Vanderbilt is more likely to win big games on the road when nobody expects it than to win big games at home when many people hope for it. Lets hope they can break the trend this week."

via Vanderbilt Sports Line Stanimal gives three keys to the game for Vandy:

"1) Force some turnovers. The Gamecocks were turnover happy in the first half of last week’s game. They’ll be going in with a new QB, but last year’s game we forced turnovers off Smelley as well. If we can get some picks then we’ll be doing great.

2) Control field position. As long as we keep this game low scoring and maintain control of the game, we’ve got this one in the bag. Keep the ball as close to our side of the field as possible, run the ball well, control the clock. SC, despite being an improved defense, is still susceptible to QB runs and option play.

3) DON’T turn the ball over. On the flip side of us winning this game is us playing smart football. Spurrier is going to try and keep Nickson from using his feet as much as possible. Chris is going to be forced to throw more this game than before, and as long as he is smart with it, we can win this game."

Frankly, these three keys look good to me. If they do those things, it might be very difficult for us to escape with a win.

Finally Moral Victory has this analysis:

"Spurrier doesn't lose early in the season unless he's playing LSU. His players are fresh and he hasn't started messing with his quarterbacks' minds yet. Heck, Mark Richt is scared to play South Carolina in September, and for good reason."

He continues: "I think this one is close. We believe we can beat Spurrier now, which is a start. But outside of Nickson, we can't run the ball consistently, and the Gamecock defense is awfully, awfully tough. Would I be surprised if we won? Well, yeah. Would I be surprised if we lost on a last-second field goal — say, 17-14? No. Would I be surprised if we lost 28-0? No.

So I'll average those two scores and say we lose 17-7."

For my part, I have am not sure what to expect. I remember the 2004 game Save the Shield refers to. While tailgating at the Parthenon, none of us knew what to expect and thought the game would be close. It turned out it wasn't and as I recall that was a game in which our atheletes shined and made a few big plays. I don't know if we can do that again tonight or not, but either way I don't the difference in our atheletes and Vanderbilt's is as great as it was 4 years ago.

I am not yet sold on the defense. I had as much fun as anyone last week watching them punish an outclassed NC State team, but I don't think anyone can say for sure how much of that performance was our defense and how much was NC State's general futility. I hope more of the former, but until proven otherwise NC State is a very bad team. Running quarterbacks scare me, but less so now with Ellis Johnson than with Tyrone Nix.

Offensively, I have always been a Smelley fan. His biggest problem has been his inability to throw the ball deep to the sidelines, an area Spurrier likes to attack. Hopefully the offseason weight program has fixed that. If he gets some time, and thats a big if, he could carve up the Vanderbilt defense, even with DJ Moore out there. If the passing game gets going, Mike Davis and the running game won't be far behind. (See 4th quarter last week))

As far as Vanderbilt's offense goes, their Chris Nickson is certainly capable of causing plenty of trouble for our defense. He is more dangerous moving than he is static, but he is a serviceable passer as well. The best way to disrupt a running quarterback is to get defenders in the backfield through penetration without having to rely on blitzes from the second level. If our defensive line can consistently get in the backfield against a realtively green Vandy offensive line, the defense's night will be made much easier.

Vanderbilt's defense, with the exception of DJ Moore, is more of an unknown quantity than our defense. Their outing against Miami OH was solid, but what did we really learn?

Final Prediction: South Carolina 27, Vanderbilt 13.

5 keys to a win for USC vs. Vandy

South Carolina vs. Vanderbilt
WHO: USC (1-0) at Vanderbilt (1-0)
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
LINE: USC by 10

5 Keys to a USC Win

1. Contain and limit the Vandy QB

Sounds easy and should be for the mighty Carolina D. If the D is unable to limit the Vandy QB for creating then it could prove ugly. I am confident that Ellis Johnson will stack the box and force Nickson to hurt us through the air.

2. Carolina O Line Play

The Carolina O line needs to play like it is the 4th quarter against NCSU. If they do that then they should be able to protect Smelley and create running lanes for the Carolina RBs. If they struggle then the offense will struggle like it did the 1st 3 quarters against NCSU.

3. Carolina QB Play

Chris and/or Tommy needs to step up. I think Chris will play most of the game and have a lights out game...he will make a statement as to why he will be the starting qb in 2008.

4. Carolina Special Teams

Carolina can not allow DJ Moore to hurt us. Succop needs to continue to kick the shit out of the ball and make FGs. The rest boils down to tackling and blocking.

5. No injuries for USC

This is a important key to the game b.c of what is next. Not saying we are overlooking Vandy b/c USC is out for revenge. But in beating Vandy don't get hurt!

My Prediction is ----USC 30 Vandy 13

Game Day --- SC v Vandy

Big Spur, pictured above, looks like he wants revenge from last years' defeat.....

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Now this might be taking it to far

I have seen this post a couple times on different blogs and message boards and thought I would share with LOHD. Pretty sad but kind of true.

"Bowden's Rock"

Interesting Klempson info..

I was reading this article today and ran across two interesting pieces of info that I will share below -- -

"...The Citadel, Central Florida, Wofford, Furman, Louisiana Tech, Ball State, Middle Tennessee, Utah State, Temple and Louisiana-Monroe. Those last 10 schools have accounted for 15 of Bowden's 69 wins at Clemson, about 22 percent of his victory total."


"...against Associated Press Top 25 teams, which have now won 21 of 34 meetings against Clemson."

Gamecocks Game 2 Prediction (Vandy)

South Carolina might have over looked Vandy last year, but this year is a whole different story. The game will be a tail of 2 defenses that both are looking to make a statement to open up SEC play. D.J. Moore a Spartanburg native grew up watching USC play and last year showed Coach Spurrier why he should have been recruited by the gamecocks. South Carolina has some top players in the secondary as well, watch for Caption, E.Cook and Carlos Thomas to have big games against Vandy. I would expect Coach Johnson to stack the box and make Nickson beat the gamecocks with his arm and not his legs. In games like these look for Norwood and Jasper to have a field day laying hits on Nickson. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of the 3rd quarter Mackenzi Adams isn’t under center.

The key to beating Vandy will be ball control, and amount of turnovers. Last year turnovers and offensive line play killed Carolina. Look for Spurrier and the coaching staff to have the O-line ready this week for a battle in the trenches.

Key Match up. Kenny vs. Moore (both are 1st team all SEC players, should be a good one)

Offense advantage: Vandy

Defense advantage: USC

Special Teams advantage: USC

USC 24
Vandy 17

2011 Future Gamecock

Interesting piece I saw today about Gamecock recruiting involving SC's most prestigious HS. In his very first game Northwestern QB Justin Worley tossed 6TDs and accounted for 377 yds through the air. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 185 lBs, several recruiters expect him to become a big time prospect. Carolina has already taken notice and will give him a long hard look.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Vandy notes

It would be nice to write that Vandy is the same old Vandy and that we will roll over them, but after last year we've lost the right to dismiss them out of hand. Perhaps we can earn that right back this year with a convincing win.

Vanderbilt easily beat Miami (OH) Thursday night 34-13 and will bring some confidence in Thursday night's game in Nashville. details

Chris Nickson will get the start over MacKenzie Adams. Adams, we will all remember, started his first game against South Carolina last year in Columbia. Nickson ran for 166 yards on 20 carries against Miami (OH). Known for his running ability, he could prove difficult for South Carolina to contain, and even if the defense can contain him, the defense will still have to gameplan for him.

A group South Carolina may not have to spend time worrying about is the Vanderbilt running back corps. After accounting for Nickson's yards, an end around and reverse the Commodore running backs ran 25 times for 77 yards.

As far as receiver goes gone is unquestionably talented WR Earl Bennett. Hoping to take his place is arguably the most talented receiver on the roster WR Sean Walker. Walker had 2 TDs against the always stout Miami OH defense.

Also gone is LB Jonathan Goff, leaving Vanderbilt with virtually zero star power on the field. The defense, though, thinks highly of itself. JR defensive end Broderick Stewart ridiculously stated that he thinks the Vanderbilt defense is the fastest in the SEC.

"Hands down, I think we're the fastest," he said. "You'll see. We're going to play really fast. We've got guys all over the place who can move, some new faces that people haven't really seen, and it doesn't get any better than having a secondary like ours playing behind you.">

On the less absurd side, CB DJ Moore (from Broome High School in Spartanburg) is someone to watch. As a punt returner he returned a punt 91 yards, not for a touchdown, in last weeks game. He also had an interception. It would be nice is Smelley or Beecher would stay away from his side.

The defensive front seven returns only two starters from last year's surprisingly strong unit. With less than stellar recruiting classes, one would assume it will be difficult for Vanderbilt to replace 5 players up front. Also, Vanderbilt gave up 340 yards to Miami (OH).

As always, tickets are available.

Further reading:

Moral Victory

USA / Coaches Poll

Well, well look who has joined the party at #24....
other notables
UGA now #2....
clemmons back all the way to #22 in one poll and dropped out the other....

Clemson's Bowden calls 'Bama's Saban for advice

Is it just me or does this seem odd? Full Story HERE but pasted below -

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Clemson coach Tommy Bowden needed to find out what went wrong in his team's opening 34-10 loss to Alabama, so he went to the source.
Bowden spoke with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban on Sunday and asked how the Tigers might improve this season.
Bowden also spoke with his father, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden; Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and Georgia coach Mark Richt.
Bowden said he thinks his players put too much into the preseason hype of starting ninth in the country. The coach said his players couldn't match Alabama's intensity and came up on the short end Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Word on the street is he is also going to call Oprah, JR, then God, and Dr. Phil by Thursday......

Shouldn't he know how to coach his team after 9 seasons? Is this odd to anyone else?

Poor Taters

This was posted last week on a Clemson message board, and they say gamecock fans are delusional. I guess they will just have to wait until next year.

It is the last night you will go to bed with the Clemson Tigers 'over-rated'.

It is the last time you will ask, 'do we deserve this ranking?.

When you go to bed tomorrow evening the world is going to be different.
Mark May is going to be a believer.
Kirk Herbstreit is going ALL ORANGE - ALL THE WAY!
Lou Holtz - well frankly, who cares?
But tomorrow night when you go to bed you will have memories of a DECISIVE Clemson Victory! - The Offensive Line will get the job done.- Cullen Harper will be RAZOR SHARP! The Heisman Talk will get serious.- James Davis will be known as the top back in college football.- CJ Spiller will be known as the Most Exciting 8 Seconds in College Football for his TWO 80+ yard TD runs.- Aaron Kelly will simply put an exclamation point besides his name and I think that would look great when they put his name in Death Valley.- The Clemson Defense will make itself known as one of the very best in the NCAA.- Ricky Sapp, Da'Quan Bowers, Crezdon Butler, Michael Hamlin, Chris Clemons ... expect lots to be written about this crew on Sunday.- Manners and Bucholtz are going to deliver.- And Tommy Bowden is going to be mentioned as Coach of the Year for destroying Nick Sabin and the Crimson Tide.Remember this evening Tiger Fans. Because from here forward, you are entering the decade of THE TIGERS.
Then Nick Satan said I will beat down the Taters with a team of high school all stars resting my upper classmen for the SEC. When it was all said and done the tide had steamrolled the tigers down in hot lanta.

true that

Monday, September 01, 2008

It's Smelley time

Spurrier said after practice tonight that Smelley will start at quarterback Thursday night at Vanderbilt.

More on the Story - HERE or HERE
This move really does not surprise me as Chris earned his right to get the starting nod. The question is will we see just one qb from USC participate on Thursday?

Ron Morris gets it right in this article...

I feel that ol' Ronnie from The State, even if we here at LOHD don't like the guy, penned a good article in yesterday's paper.

His last two paragraphs sums it up nicely -

This Tigers’ team might well recover from the Alabama loss and run up big scores against weak ACC competition. Clemson might even win a league championship and play in a BCS bowl game. But all of that is not enough to erase the stigma that Clemson is still not a nationally elite team. It remains a team that excels in a woefully weak league.

Full article HERE

Gamecock News Thread

Vets leave wake-up call for Vandy
Davis will start at tailback; no word on starting QB
Instate recruiting efforts pay off for Horn, USC
VIDEO: Spurrier, players preview Vandy game
The evolution of Syvelle
Smelley ready for his turn
Practice report: King to start; Doerr leaves team
Spurrier may turn to two quarterbacks
USC report: Spurrier calls false starts inexcusable
Spurrier says QB announcement may not come until Wednesday

Poor Klempson

It was that ugly.

Alabama outgained Clemson 419-188 and outrushed the Tigers 239-0 (that’s not a misprint).

Zero rushing yards as a team guess it was a dome and 'thunder & lighting' can not happen inside, right?

Let's get this over with and say that Clemson got punished and embarrassed over the weekend against Alabama. I really thought the game was going to be a lot closer but I guess that is what I get for giving CU credit against a SEC opponent. I should have remembered Auburn but I really did think that Clemson had the talent. Scratch that...they do have the talent and I feel (and have felt) that the problem lies with Tommy Bowden.

Clemson got outplayed and walked on the field like they knew or should I say deserved to when b/c they were #9. That my friends is the fault of the coaches (i.e Bowden) for letting the players think they were just that good. We all know preseason polls do not mean anything and in today's world with 12 games...well you gots to earn those 'W's.' Sorry baby bowden it is not human error but simply a beating. You and the other coaches did not prepare nor adjust at half so it results in a beating. Don't blame injuries b/c every team has them.

Bowden plays not to lose rather than plays to win....I have said that for 7 years now. Every big game they suck. When will fans realize this, yes he has a great team and has done well recruiting (even if his actions are odd) but for every big game they suck. Clemson’s record against nationally ranked opponents is 13-22 under Bowden, 2-6 outside the Atlantic Coast Conference -- the two being wins over South Carolina.

Clemson stands a good chance of heading into the season finale against the Gamecocks with a 10-1 record. But I'd be significantly more impressed if USC came into that contest at 8-3 or maybe even 7-4. The Gamecocks have to get by Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and Florida along the way, so three or four losses for them would say a lot more than the Tigers' one. It goes to show the obvious disparity currently present between the ACC and SEC. It seems to grow larger every year.

Oh well I will stop there for today b/c god knows we could talk about this one for a good bit....

Articles to read -
Tide shove Tigers around
Keys to the game
Promise becomes a fumble
Sound off with Ron Morris
Quarter-by-quarter analysis
Crimson tidal wave washes out Clemson
Tigers in deep chill in Hotlanta
Clemson University routed by Alabama
Tide wins big over Clemson in opener
The Tide Druid Article
Same old Clemson collapse
Clemson now focusing on bouncing back after tasting defeat
Welcome to SEC football, Clemson
Assessing the wreckage
Tommy Bowden teleconference tidbits
Where to go from here?
Monday afternoon tidbits

Tom O'Brien on the Carolina D...

By now we all know that NC State didn't come close in the 34-0 lose to the Gamecocks. NCSU's most effective drive ended at the USC 32-yard line....that is a nice stat and great job by the Ellis Johnson new and improved D.
NCSU's passing attack finished 5-for-20 for 49 yards and two interceptions. The 49 yards were the lowest since they had that total against Appalachian State to open the 2006 season.

O’Brien said the USC secondary and pressure on the quarterback had a lot to do the lack of a passing attack in The State recently but here is my favorite quote....
“I think they are an excellent defense,” O’Brien said. “They are powerful. I think we rushed the ball (OK). We couldn’t throw on them, couldn’t get away from them.”

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Clemson fans...

this picture says it all! I will write more later......Just maybe you should have allowed Tommy to head to Ark-Kansas?