Saturday, October 17, 2009

5 Keys for a gamecocks win vs the crimson tide

By now I hope you have read the LOHD offical preview - HERE - of the game and also read the defensive strategy for Saban - HERE.  Both lead into my 5 keys for tonight that the South Carolina Gamecocks must execute.

As I stated earlier...
If the Gamecocks hope to knock off a second opponent in the top five this year, it’ll likely take another down-to-the-wire effort. The Gamecocks will have to play nearly perfect with a outstanding performance from its defense in stopping the run while not shooting themselves in the foot with turnovers. The USC offense will have to control the ball with a mixed bag of running and throwing plays, anything to keep the ‘bama offense off the field. The Crimson Tide are beatable and Carolina has a chance, but it will take perfect play from USC on both sides of the ball, timely mistakes from Alabama, lots of luck and an answered prayer.
Now for my 5 keys to a Carolina win....

1.  USC Line Play on both sides of the ball --- this game will be won or lost in the trenches tonight.  USC O line must protect Garcia, give him time to throw and create running lanes.  On the other side, the D line must create havoc for the 'Bama backfield.

2. USC must stand tall in 1st half --- SC must not let the game get out of hand early.  Seems this year Carolina has been a second half team so don't mess up by allowing Bama to surge in the 1st half.  Keep it close going into half.

3.  USC must win TO game --- Bama does not turn it over much but in this game they have to for SC to win.  Also Carolina must not shoot themselves in the foot this game.

4.  USC Special Teams --- on punts and kickoffs, SC must tackle.  Simple, right?  Also the foot of Spencer Lanning must be accurate tonight.

5.  Perfect play, luck and a prayer --- there is a chance tonight for Carolina.  They need to play with heart tonight, be tough, play smart, no dumb penalites, some luck of the irish and a answered prayer for the gamecock nation.

Go Cocks...shock the world tonight!

Preview of Nick Saban's Alabama defense from Smart Football Blog

I am going to post a write up that SMART FOOTBALL wrote awhile back on Coach Saban's defensive strategy. 
All credit to Smart Football for this excellent post, which is a must read for gamecock fans today b/c you will be witness to it tonight when the Gamecocks take on 'Bama.

Repost: Preview of Nick Saban's Alabama defense (6/29/2009)

Nick Saban: Still Billy’s Boy

Saban has been coaching defense – and coaching it quite well – for decades. But there is no question that the defining period of his coaching career was 1991-1994, when he was Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns. Just knowing that tells you a great deal about Saban’s defense: he (primarily) uses the 3-4; he’s very aggressive, especially on passing downs; he wants to stop the run on first and second down; he’s not afraid to mix up schemes, coverages, blitzes, and looks of all kinds; and, most importantly, he is intense and attentive to detail, which is the hallmark of any great defensive coach.

Let's allow Saban to explain his defensive philosophy in his own words. From one of his LSU defensive playbooks:

“[Our] philosophy on first and second down is to stop the run and play good zone pass defense. We will occasionally play man-to-man and blitz in this situation. On third down, we will primarily play man-to-man and mix-in some zone and blitzes. We will rush four or more players versus the pass about ninety-percent of the time.
“In all situations, we will defend the inside or middle of the field first – defend inside to outside. Against the run, we will not allow the ball to be run inside. We want to force the ball outside. Against the pass, we will not allow the ball to be thrown deep down the middle or inside. We want to force the ball to be thrown short and/or outside.
“… Finally, our job is to take the ball away from the opponents’ offense and score or set up good field position for our offense. We must knock the ball loose, force mistakes, and cause turnovers. Turnovers and making big plays win games. We will be alert and aggressive and take advantage of every opportunity to come up with the ball . . . . The trademark of our defense will be effort, toughness, and no mental mistakes regarding score or situation in any game.”

None of this is revolutionary and much of it is coach-patois (there is another section in his playbook where every position is required to put in “super human effort” or else they are deemed to have failed), but it’s a good place to start. Most good defenses begin with the premise that, to be successful, they must stop the run on first and second down to force known passing situations on 3rd down. (Which is one reason why Bill Walsh – in words far too often unheeded – advocated doing much of your dropback passing on first down.) Indeed, the book on Bob Stoops’s defense is known to everyone: first and second down expect an eight-man front and on third down you will see some kind of base or nickel personnel zone-blitz. No mystery there. A final brief prefatory note is that while Saban bases out of a 3-4, he quite commonly has one of his linebackers put their hand down and line up as would a 4-3 defensive end.

So let’s get a bit more specific. First I’ll discuss what is maybe Saban’s most common defense, Cover 1 Robber. Second, when Saban does use zones on known passing situations he likes the overload blitz and the common 3-3 zone blitz behind it, so I’ll show a basic example of what this might look like. And finally, I’ll discuss a couple coverage techniques that Saban likes to use.

Cover 1 “Robber”
Cover 1 is maybe the most common defense in the SEC. (Though “Cover 2” is close if you lump together all its variants.) Base Cover 1 is quite simple: the “1” refers to a deep safety who aligns down the middle, while all the offense’s skill guys are covered man to man. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is bump and run – it could be loose coverage – but it often is bump and run. The defense needs a great centerfielder back at Free Safety who can stop the deep ball and cover sideline to sideline.
The nice thing about this defense is it is simple and, once you’ve locked in five guys in man and a free safety, you can do whatever you want with the other five. And, maybe most importantly, with just one free-safety deep, the defense can get in a lot of eight-man fronts. On passing downs, the defense can find ways to creatively blitz five guys, have a deep safety, and all the while still account for all five of the offense’s receivers. The defense cannot really outnumber the pass protectors, but it can still collapse the pocket. That’s base Cover 1.
Cover 1 “Robber” works the same, except there are only four rushers and, along with the deep middle safety, another defender comes down to an intermediate level to read the QB’s eyes and “rob” any pass routes over the middle, like curls, in routes, and crossing routes. “Robber” is the most popular term for this technique but Saban’s is “Rat.” (I was always partial to Homer Smith’s term, “floaters,” which is the most descriptive.) There’s nothing magic about this coverage; every NFL team and most BCS college teams use it. Indeed, despite all the bluster about the Indianapolis Colts being a “Cover 2 team,” on first and second down you see lots of Cover 1 and Cover 1 robber from them, except they use their strong safety, Bob Sanders, as the “floater.” The key is for the floater to be able to read run, screen, or pass, and to use his eyes to get to the receiver and the ball. It’s particularly effective nowadays with the increased use of spread formations which most offenses use to open up passing lanes over the middle. Floaters or rat players can stop these inside passes and make game-changing interceptions. Below are some diagrams, and I expect to see Saban use this coverage a lot this season. (As a final note, Cover 1 Robber is useful against spread offense teams with mobile QB’s because the floater’s job becomes to not only read the QB’s eyes on passing downs but also to watch him for scrambles and to simply mirror the him on run plays like the option and the zone read.)

Base Zone Blitz

I won’t say too much because I’ve written extensively on pass protection and the zone-blitz here. But Saban will go to the zone-blitz in some passing situations and also when he feels like he can use the blitz in a way to attack an expected run and still play zone behind it. For example, if a team likes to run off tackle to the TE side on a particular down and distance, he might call a blitz that attacks that area and the zone blitz lets him still play sound coverage behind it. And like most modern defenses, Saban’s most common coverage behind a zone-blitz is a 3-3 or three-deep and three-intermediate defense with five rushers. Cover two behind a zone blitz is often dangerous because of the added uncovered deep seams, but most defenses feel comfortable with the 3-3. Below is a good example of an overload zone-blitz Saban uses to the open side of a one-back formation.

The thing to remember is that for years, when a team blitzed it was playing either Cover 1 or Cover 0 man (or simply left holes in its zone), and quarterbacks were coached to throw the ball where the blitzer had come from. Nowadays, there’s a common perception that a zone-blitz works because a defensive linemen gets in the throwing lane – no. What the dropping defensive end in the diagram above does is allow the defense as a whole to stay in zone coverage, and further notice who is covering the area where the blitzers came from: the strong safety, who is usually an effective pass defender, certainly moreso than a defensive end. That is how zone-blitzes cause confusion.

Other Techniques - Cornerback Leverage and Pattern Reading

Finally, let’s discuss some coverage techniques. The first is that Saban likes to have his cornerbacks adjust their “leverage” on a receiver based on the receiver’s split from the tackle and sideline. The theory is that if the wide receiver has cut his split down he has done one of two things: (a) given himself more room to run an out breaking route, or (b) cheated in to run a crossing or deep in-breaking route. So if the receiver cheats his split in, Saban has his cornerbacks align outside the receiver to defend the out-breaking route, because if he runs the in-breaking route the corner has help from the linebackers and safeties. Similarly, if the receiver lines up very wide (bottom of the numbers, let’s say), he has given himself room to run an in-breaking route like a slant. So the cornerback will align inside the receiver to take that route away and on the belief that an out-cut from that wide will be very difficult for the quarterback. To coach this Saban uses a “divider” line where they believe the receiver’s tendencies change to reflect one of the above two strategies. Nevertheless, the defensive back still must defend the route the receiver actually runs and maintain proper technique, but this is an important starting point.

More significant, however, is that Saban heavily coaches up “pattern reading” within his zone drops. The two zone-dropping schools of thought are to teach “spot-drops” or “pattern-reading.” One can overemphasize the distinction, but generally spot-dropping is easier to teach and was the traditional approach. For example, if your outside linebacker is responsible for the weak-flat, he will take his read steps and, upon reading pass, will drop to a spot and then react to the QB’s eyes. A big advantage with spot-dropping is simply that it is easy to teach to, say, a run-stuffing inside linebacker who spends most of his time on run game pursuit and shedding blocks. But the weakness is that well coached receivers – who have enough time – can become excellent at settling in the “zone holes” between defenders. And, with good receivers and good QBs, offenses have become more and more adept and finding and exploiting these zone holes.

Pattern-reading, on the other hand, is much like a matchup-zone in basketball. Defenders are responsible for zones but they basically play man on the receivers who come into their zones. Moreover, pattern-read teams begin by immediately coaching their defenders on how to recognize popular pass combinations (and indeed, the very concept of pass-combinations themselves), and each week zero in on the 5-15 most common pass concepts they will see from that opponent. When done correctly, pattern-reading defenders know exactly how to cover receivers in their zones and seamlessly (in a quite literal sense) pass the receivers onto other defenders as they run their routes. One thing that distinguishes Saban is that he uses pattern-reading in almost all of his coverages, including the traditional Cover 3, whereas many coaches only let certain defenders pattern read or only use it with certain defenses like Cover 4. Sounds a lot like Belichick, no?

Again all credit for the above goes to Chris from !

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Gamecocks v Crimson Tide Preview

The 22nd ranked University of South Carolina Gamecocks (5-1, 2-1 SEC) hit the road to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the number 2/3 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC).  This game has all the makings of a great SEC match up....ESPN, Saban, defense, Spurrier, Erin Andrews and fans like the one to the left.

Spurrier has faced the Crimson Tide once with South Carolina, a 37-14 home loss on Sept. 17, 2005. Alabama leads the series 11-2, including a 8-1 mark in its home state.

The Gamecocks' only win in Tuscaloosa was 20-3 on Oct. 2, 2004.  But Spurrier is 2-0 versus Saban and will need everything to go "near perfect" to make it 3 wins on Saturday.  I may be alone when I say they have a legitimate shot at beating Alabama but I truly feel that they do.  USC has nothing to lose as most already feel they are going to lose so all they need to do is leave it all on the field come Saturday night.

On the field that night you will see two of the best defenses in the SEC and the country on display.  USC will try its' best to win with a strong defensive showing, which will be lead by USC LB Eric Norwood.    What may be special about this game is not only the Spurrier v Saban issue but on the field you will have two of the best linebackers in the country.  Norwood may lead the SEC with 6 sacks but McClain leads Alabama with 42 tackles, and has 5.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions.  Both men are scary like the lady to the left.  Alabama is one of only three SEC teams with more sacks this season (15) than Carolina.  If you like defensive type games I feel this one is going to be right up your alley.

USC Defense v Bama Offense --- South Carolina will face Alabama's 17th-ranked offense (444.7 yards per game) that's 12th in FBS with an average of 37 points. The USC defense, currently ranked 15th in FBS, will need to step it up big like they did vs Ole Miss.  LB Eric Norwood, one of the leading candidates for the Lombardi Trophy and Butkus Award, will have to make an impact Saturday.  Along with him the big area that must play well is the defensive line for Carolina.  Cliff Matthews and gang must play great while getting tons of push against a very good Bama O-Line.  They must shed blocks to close running lanes.  The key for Carolina on defense is limiting Bama's ability to run the ball effectively. 

USC has not allowed an opposing back to rush for 100 yards this season and ranks fifth in the SEC in rushing defense. USC has given up its most rushing yards the past two weeks, allowing S.C. State to run for 170 and Kentucky to go for 205. The Wildcats, who had a pair of backs finish with 89 rushing yards, found ample running room between the tackles.  This can not happen vs the tide or the tide will roll.

Alabama tailback Mark Ingram averages 109.8 rushing yards a game....hikes.   Ingram, a workhorse at 5-10 and 212 pounds, has run an average of 25 times for 156 yards the past two weeks in wins against Kentucky and Mississippi.  The Crimson Tide are outscoring their opponents by an average score of 37-12.5. Alabama averages 43 running plays and 27 passes a game, and it leads the SEC in time of possession at 34:08 a game.  For SC to take control and limit bama success, then South Carolina must tackle better than it has so far this season. Too many ball carriers have been able to shed or bounce off tackles.  Look for Carolina to crowd the box and try to force Bama to throw the ball.  Carolina must make UA QB Greg McElroy (9 TD, 1 INT, 1233 yds, 60.8% completion; Averages 205.5 yds per game) beat them.  With that the USC secondary, without Auguste, will have to be ready to make plays and play smart.  Bama wide outs, Marquis Maze (12 rec for 242 yds, 2 TD),  Colin Peek (17 rec for 192 yds, 1 TD) and  Julio Jones (13 rec for 175 yds, 1 TD) are really good and must be contained.  It is a tall order for Carolina to stop this offense and force a lot of 3 and outs or TOs....will they do it?

USC Offense v Bama Defense --- The Crimson Tide also boast the nation's No. 2 defense (220.5 yards) and are eighth nationally in allowing 12.5 points per game.  To say Carolina has to play perfect is putting it simple.  Garcia must have his coming out party in this game and lead USC to victory.  He must not make mistakes, read the defense, show poise in the pocket and make the necessary throws.  Alabama’s defense has held their opponents to under 100 yards rushing in 17 of their last 20 games.  USC will have to try to make that 17 out of 21.  Kenny Miles and Maddox must fight through tackles and get loose for some big gains.  USC must find success running the ball and loads of pressure is on the Offensive Line of Carolina.  The big boys up front for Bama are nasty and will be the hardest Carolina faces until they play Bama again.  Meaning these boys are good.

Bama is lead by LB Rolando McClain, Mark Barron ( 32 tackles,  17 solo),  Javier Arenas (31 tackles, 22 solo) and Eryk Anders who has 5.5 tackles for losses up front.  This Bama D has forced 13 (4 fumbles, 9 interceptions) turnovers this year and will be looking for more.

Carolina must win this game with ball control, no mistakes, good completions through the air and strong line play.  Spurrier needs Alshon or Gurley to have big games and thank god TE Weslye Saunders, who to me is the key to the offense in this game due to him presenting a mis-match, is back.  Carolina on offense will have to light it up and play smart...can they do both?

Sum it up
My brain is telling me that Bama will win this game by 10 points like 27-17 but my heart is telling me that my team from Columbia is going to shock the world come Saturday night and post a 16-14 win due to the foot of Spencer and great 2nd half play......

Which one to believe?

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Quick Comment on the 'Bama Game allowed LOHD to give a quick statement for their preview, which you can view HERE, and I have posted our comment below...

Can South Carolina defeat the mighty Alabama?

If the Gamecocks hope to knock off a second opponent in the top five this year, it’ll likely take another down-to-the-wire effort. The Gamecocks will have to play nearly perfect with a outstanding performance from its defense in stopping the run while not shooting themselves in the foot with turnovers. The USC offense will have to control the ball with a mixed bag of running and throwing plays, anything to keep the ‘bama offense off the field. The Crimson Tide are beatable and Carolina has a chance, but it will take perfect play from USC on both sides of the ball, timely mistakes from Alabama, lots of luck and an answered prayer.

Check with LOHD soon as I will have the offical LOHD preview up tonight and my 5 keys in the morning.....

Gamecocks' Eric Norwood on Butkus Award List

Gamecocks LB Eric Norwood was again placed on a semi-finalist list, first the Lombardi and now the Butkus Award list.

The 25th annual Butkus Award, goes to the top linebacker in college football.

The Butkus Award is selected by a 51-person panel comprised of scouts, coaches and journalists. Selectors follow all rules of their leagues, including limitations on contact with players. Individual votes remain completely confidential.

I hope he wins both and putting on a strong performance versus Alabama is a good way to do that.

Gamecocks Quote of the Day

WR Moe Brown's quote on playing Alabama this weekend….

"We're not going in there to play close and have moral victories. We're going in there to win"

Go Cocks!

Giles not to make the trip

Looks like Jarvis Giles will not be making the trip to Alabama due to missing to many classes this week. This is a giant blow to the SC running game. Also announced last night by that Heath Batchelor has left the team again. What the heck is going on, the biggest game of the year so far and our players are getting in trouble. Come on Gamecocks

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bar Review for Alabama

Well it has been a while since I have done some drinking in Alabama but I will try do my best for our first edition of Bar Review on the Road. The last time I went to Bama for a game was back in 2004. I am not sure how much has changed since then but I can still give you a heads up on what I remember from back in the day. The last time I was there it was parents weekend, and I must say that the parents at the AXO house were very nice to let me and JR use their restrooms and for giving us free t-shirts. So you if run into a pickle and there isn’t a porterjohn around, I say stop by the AXO house, they have a couple of restrooms right downstairs.

Ok back to the bars, the first place you are going to want to stop is Galette's, it isn’t the nicest place in the world but it sure was a lot of fun the last couple of times I have been down that way. Also check out Houndstooth right there off of University Blvd. Most places are pretty easy to find, as most of the bars are located right there on the strip.

Have fun and safe travels gamecock fans

Spurrier v Saban : Did you know?

Spurrier and Nick Saban have faced each other just twice, both while Spurrier was at Florida and Saban was at LSU. Spurrier's Gators won both times pretty easy....this time it will not be easy for Spurrier as the Gamecocks Coach.

These two coaches are 2 of 4 active head coaches in the SEC that own national championship rings. Can you name the other two?

Spurrier and Saban have a combined 8 SEC Championships between them.

Lombardi Semi-Finalist

Here is a list of Lombardi Semi-Finalist:

Terrence Cody, Alabama, NG, #62, Sr., 6-5, 365, Ft. Myers, FL
Rennie Curran, Georgia, LB, #35, Jr., 5-11, 228, Snellville, GA
Carlos Dunlap, Florida, DE, #8, Jr., 6-6, 290, North Charleston, SC
Jerry Hughes, TCU, DE, #98, Sr., 6-3, 257, Sugar Land, TX
Rolando McClain, Alabama, LB, #25, Jr., 6-4, 258, Decatur, AL
Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma, #93, DT, Jr., 6-4, 297, Oklahoma City, OK
Eric Norwood, South Carolina, LB, #40, Sr., 6-1, 252, Acworth, GA
Russell Okung, Oklahoma State, LT, #76, Sr., 6-5, 300, Houston, TX
George Selvie, South Florida, DE, #95, Sr., 6-4, 250, Pensacola, FL
Brandon Spikes, Florida, LB, #51, Sr., 6-3, 258, Shelby, NC
Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska, DT, #93, Sr., 6-4, 300, Portland, OR
Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri, LB, #12, Sr., 6-2, 245, Jasper, TX

I think as gamecock fans you will recognize a lot of these names, as they are from the SEC. We will meet two of them on Saturday, Mt.Cody and McClain. Hopefully Norwood can show the world that you don't have to be the biggest guy on the field to be the best.

Gamecocks are above .500 now

The gamecocks, with their win vs UK, recently climbed above .500.  In their 116th year of intercollegiate football, USC is 532-531-44 all-time.

Let's never look back and keep building....

Columbia, SC one of the best sports cities ?

The Sporting News released its' list of best sports cities a few weeks ago and little ol' Columbia, SC made the list. 
As you can see it is made up of cities with Pro Teams or good college football teams but what is interesting to note is the representation of the SEC....

The SEC is representin':
41. Gainesville, Fla. (Florida)
57. Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Alabama)
65. Oxford, Miss. (Ole Miss)
77. Athens, Ga. (Georgia)
78. Lexington, Ky. (Kentucky)
79. Baton Rouge, La. (LSU)
80. Knoxville, Tenn. (Tennessee)
81. Columbia, S.C. (South Carolina)
88. Auburn, Ala. (Auburn)
94. Fayetteville, Ark. (Arkansas)
95. Starkville, Miss. (Mississippi State)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vote for Norwood and Give Him a Nickname

Eric Norwood continues to hold a spot on the leaderboard of ESPN's Heisman Vote 2009.

Norwood is currently in sixth place, and was as high as third place earlier this week.  So as you can calculate, he is losing ground and needs your vote.

Now to vote for Norwood, you must write him in. And you can't just write him in anyway; it must say "Eric Norwood, LB, South Carolina" or the vote will not count.

To vote, go here.  Do it!

PS - Give Norwood a nickname by going HERE

{pic credit - Erik Campos, The State}

SEC Power Poll - LOHD Ballot

  1. Alabama
  2. Florida
  3. LSU
  4. South Carolina
  5. Arkansas
  6. Auburn
  7. Ole Miss
  8. Tennessee
  9. Georgia
  10. Kentucky
  11. Mississippi State
  12. Vanderbilt
Please visit "teamspeedkills" for full poll recap.

SEC Slate of games for Oct. 17th

Here's the complete SEC television lineup for Saturday:

  • Georgia at Vanderbilt, 12:21 p.m. ET, SEC Network/ESPN Regional
  • Mississippi State at Middle Tennessee, 12:30 p.m.ET, ESPNU
  • Arkansas at Florida, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
  • UAB at Ole Miss, 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net
  • Kentucky at Auburn, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
  • South Carolina at Alabama, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN
Who ya pickn'?

Monday, October 12, 2009

UK Wildcats v USC Gamecocks Post-Game Reflections

I know I am a tad bit late on recapping the game as most beat writers and blogs beat us to it but this is a game that I need to sit on and think about.  Due to the fact - well, we were some what lucky to win.  Our defense did not play up to their potential versus UK.  For the second week in a row, our defense did not get a sack.  That will not help our cause this week vs 'Bama.  Thank god for a good display by our offense in mixing in the run and the pass.  Garcia did well - Over the last two games, Garcia is 29-of-42 passing (69.0 percent) for 365 yards and five touchdowns. His interception on Saturday was the first in 16 quarters. Nevertheless, he had a 189.01 quarterback rating against the Wildcats, his highest of the season.  Great play by Alshon but sore thumb on offense was our line play as it was not that great.  Oh and don't forget Chris Culliver who did a excellent job on special teams and put his offensive partners in good position.

I am certainly gald we won but know this week in practice has to be a great one.  The gamecocks have to play just about perfect vs Alabama come Saturday.  Our young team is going to have to step up big in front of a rowdy crowd.  Both sides of the ball have to bring their A+ game to the field and execute.  I will get to my preview later and keys later but know this...USC line play on both sides of the ball has to get better or it could be a long trip home from Alabama!

LOHD "Hot Dog Hero" of the game
WR Alshon Jeffery -- He caught seven passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns. Jeffery, a 6-foot-3, 217-pound freshman, had just 5 catches coming into the game, but seemed to develop some chemistry with Garcia due to some undersized corners.  For Jeffrey, the heralded true freshman from Saint Matthews, S.C., it was a coming-out party. His second touchdown was a thrilling, one-handed, over-the-shoulder ESPN highlight reel grab.  Jeffrey – LOHD fans will recall – was the subject of a Youtube 'Lane Kiffin Show' spoof after he chose the Gamecocks over the Vols......Something tells me pumping gas is not in this kids future.

Runner-up was RB Kenny Miles, who is emerging as the Gamecocks' top back. The redshirt freshman carried the ball 17 times for 100 yards against Kentucky. Fellow backs Jarvis Giles and Bryan Maddux had just three and two carries, respectively.

Chew on this....
From 2006-08, South Carolina is 15-5 in games played prior to October 15.  Add the 2009 totals to the mix and USC is 20-6.

Post October 15?  Over the last three years, the Gamecocks have posted a gaudy 6-12 mark in games played after October 15, and a 2-9 record over the past two seasons. I bring this up not to force you to slam your head against the nearby wall but to make a point that there is still tons of work to do for these 2009 gamecocks. They travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa this week. Then the Gamecocks host Vanderbilt at 7pm on ESPNU, oh, and this is a Vandy team that has beaten SC twice in a row.From there they go on the road against Tennessee and Arkansas. Then back to Columbia to round out the season vs. No. 1 Florida and arch-rival Clemson.

Bartender, I will take another.....

3 Areas to Focus on in Practice from the LOHD Coaching Box
  • Line Play - must win some battles in the trenches, time to get angry boys and smack people around as Bama has big boys that will eat you up front on both sides of the ball
  • Spreading the ball amongst the recieving corp -  Bama knows Alshon and Alshon will not be able to go to the bathroom without a Bama player, let's just say he will be blanketed vs Bama. Somebody has to step up....paging Mr. Saunders and Mr. Barnes.....
  • Leadership Time to Step up --- Norwood and others it is time to rally the troops and get them pumped up for what is going to be a great game. UK and Ole Miss showed us some weak spots but the gamecocks must play a "complete game" for 60 mins.  I do not want to hear about young this or injuries....throw that out the window and man up!

Gamecocks Wideout Jeffery - SEC Freshman of the Week

Just as LOHD predicted he would, the gamecocks wide receiver was today recognized as the top freshman for this past week by the SEC- HERE - this is what they wrote.....

Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
6-3 • 217
St. Matthews, S.C. (Calhoun County HS)

• Jeffery caught seven passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns in South Carolina’s 28-26 win over Kentucky.

• He scored from 10, 28 and 22 yards out on passes from Stephen Garcia.

• The three touchdown receptions tied for the second-best single game performance in school history.

• Jeffery came into the game with just five catches for 61 yards through the first five games before his breakout performance on Saturday.

---Also Gamecocks QB Stephen Garcia was recognized for a "outstanding performance" by the SEC in Week 6 for connecting on 16-of-23 passes for 233 yards with three TDs and an interception against Kentucky.

Great Job and Go Cocks!

10 questions for this week

1.) Best defense in the country Florida or Alabama?

2.) Do you think Notre Dame deserves to be in the top 25 this week?

3.) After defeating UGA this past weekend in Knoxville, Kiffen said that “UT will never lose to UGA while he is coaching at Tennessee” What does this statement say about Kiffen?

4.) More important return for their team, Sam Bradford to Oklahoma or Tebow to Florida?

5.) Does Dez Bryant deserve to be reinstated after he lied about hanging out with Deion Sanders?

6.) Who is going to win the ACC Atlantic conference, it is turning out to be a train wreck?

7.) Bigger surprise, Duke beating NC State or Vandy losing to Army?

8.) Now that Bradford and Tebow are back, does Colt McCoy really have a chance to win the Heisman?

9.) Bigger surprise, Jenn Sterger (FSU Cowgirl) asking Bowden to Step down, or Colorado Coach Dan Hawkins benching his son?

10.) What game are you most looking forward to this upcoming weekend?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mumme Poll Ballot

For explanation of the Mumme Poll see last week's write-up here.

1. Florida

Undefeated reigning BCS champion who just handed LSU their first loss of the season and their first loss at home at night in atleast 21 games.

2. Alabama

Another week, another solid, convinving victory.

3. Virginia Tech

Appear to be putting it all together, this week’s game against Georgia Tech is the last major hurdle to the ACC Championship game.

4. Southern Cal

Bye week is no reason to drop from the Top 5.

5. Texas

No real strong win to point to, but who else are you going to put here?


Comeback win against Missouri vaunts them into the top 12.


At this point how many teams could stay within 10 points of Florida, 3? 5?


Still undefeated but how long can they continue to escape with close wins against inferior teams?


We didn’t learn anything new, but they didn’t do anything to fall either.

Georgia Tech

There’s a reason the triple option was once the dominant offensive scheme in college football. Paul Johnson wants to remind you why.


If they’re that good and Boise beat them, what do we say about Boise State?

Boise State

Dependent on their Oregon win for their credibility, but that’s looking pretty good.

Also considered

Ohio State
Penn State
Oklahoma State
South Florida

South Carolina moves up to #22 in Polls

South Carolina (5-1, 2-1 SEC) will enter the game ranked No. 22 in the latest Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches' polls, while Alabama (6-0, 3-0) is the nation's #3 teamin one poll and #2 in the other.

The SC v Bama game is set for 7:45pm on ESPN.

The Crimson Tide lead the all-time series, 11-2, but the Gamecocks have won 2 of the last 3 meetings between the two schools.  Can it be done again?

Go Cocks!

Get use to hearing this name - Alshon Jeffery

Alshon Jeffery wears number 1 and what could be for good reason. 

The Calhoun County native who turned down the "other USC" to come be a gamecock football player, finished with seven catches for 138 yards and three scores. The freshman had five catches for 61 yards in the season's first five games.

This quote sums it up....."Those Southern Cal boys don't come to South Carolina for no average receiver," Spurrier said later, relaying GA Mangus' message that was voiced after a TD in the coach's headsets. "The kid can play. It took us six games to figure out he could really play. Alshon was something else in there."

LOHD is on the record that Alshon will be the SEC Freshman of the Week come Monday.

{pic credit - Gerry Melendez, The State}

Gamecocks Fan of the Week: UK edition

{pic credit - alston vasquez - The State}

Gamecock Clippings / Weekend News Round-up

Here is some selected news for ya...

USC football
Morris: Jeffery proves he is quite a catch
Garcia, Jeffery jump-start USC over UK
Miles hits 100 mark to help carry Gamecocks
Whitlock fills in nicely for defense
Angry Culliver uses returns to get even
South Carolina scratches out victory over Wildcats with big plays and Jeffery
Empty seats scream loud
Younger Jeffery Gains Another Offer
How USC Scored
Freshman receiver steals show

from the uk side
Did you know....
68,278: The lowest announced attendance at Williams-Brice since the Arkansas game in 1998, Brad Scott's final season.