Man this week has blown by hasn't it? Honestly, there's not enough time for me to put everything that pops into my head onto the internet. I had so much more I wanted to write, but finding the time to do so in such a topsy-turvy week at work has made it tough.
Anyway, enough b*tching about my time constraints, let's talk a little bit about what UGA needs to do to beat USC (the fake one) this weekend.
When USC has the ball:
Well, my personal opinion is the the Offensive Line is the biggest key to running a successful offense, but in the case of South Carolina, it's in a virtual heat with the QB position. Fortunately for UGA and unfortunately for USC, the Gamecocks are struggling at both. So far, their OL has been letting virtual jailbreaks through on nearly every possession and when the QBs have had time to throw, they're usually throwing it to the other side.
Look for Spurrier's Cock 'n Fire Offense to not be too pass heavy at the beginning of this game. You're going to see a healthy mix of run at the beginning in order to try and set up some sort of play action pass or trickeration. To be honest, you might see Spurrier running a more Richt-like Offense and Richt running a more Spurrier-like Offense in this game (I will explain my reasoning shortly). Spurrier needs to establish the run and get the ground game going. Expect to see a lot of short runs, dinks and dunks, throws to the TE (who's quite a playmaker by the way) and screens. This will help the OL get an idea of the pass rush and also settle down the team for what is probably the game that will define their season.
When USC is on Offense, we need to line up our Big 4 right in front of them and then swing Rennie up to the line for a nice pass rush. Sure, with the way that USC has played so far, our DLs and DEs should be able to get pressure without bringing the blitz, but if I'm Tommy Beecher or Stephen Garcia (and expect Garcia to see snaps as well), then I'm getting worried if the Liberian Dream is across from me and ready to step on my side of the line. Either way, we need to bring heat and bring a ton of it. We have to rattle an already insecure QB corps and get Spurrier to start pulling that hook out early. The more QBs we see, the better we're doing. We need to bump at the line and play a TON of man. No more soft zone, especially against this team, which has an offense based on timing and finding the soft spots in windows in a scheme like that. We need to man up and throw down every chance we get. I EXPECT at least two turnovers in our favor. Our team should expect the same.
When UGA has the ball:
Remember how I said that UGA would be more like Spurrier's old teams of the past and vice versa? To me, this is Matt Stafford's coming out party. I'm really starting to agree with the other folks who thought this earlier than I, when I was still thinking about how much we're going to run the ball. It turns out, I think our goal is to score early, score often and pile it on. This is a statement game for us more than the past two. A lot of people have said that this is the "first" game of our season, and I expect that our team probably hasn't taken too kindly to that kind of talk, especially combined with the fact that our guys still hold USC accountable for keeping us out of the championship (both of them) last year.
Richt knows what's at stake here. He's not crazy and we certainly know he ain't nice ALL the time. Look for the Dawgs to do whatever it takes to get the ball first, either by kickoff or via turnover on downs. The key to this game is getting our guys into the endzone first (The Good Senator gives us a nice stat on that
via Jody's Info Overload
). Look for us to probably start off with a handoff or two, but after that, we're throwing and we're going for the jugular. USC fans really don't believe that Matt Stafford is the truth, but they are certainly about to get educated. Whereas we've kept the play calling very vanilla so far, it's time for us to open up the playbook and embarrass someone. It just so happens that this is the time we embarrass Spurrier in his house. If we score less than 30 points, I'll be severely disappointed.
In my opinion, you will see a lot of 3-4 WR sets with single-set backfields. Also, don't be surprised if you see a 2 WR, 1 TE and 2 RB (KM and CK) set as well. We showed a little bit of that at CMU, but only used to confuse the defense. This time, we'll use it to major efficiency. Our goal is to confuse a very slow, but solid, USC Defense that gets tired QUICKLY. If we can hang about 21 on them in the first half, I think this game is over. If we score first, I KNOW this game is over.
What I think will happen:
USC is in this game for survival, not to win. They HAVE to win this game to salvage their season. Period. There are no hidden tricks, no secret weapons and no "saving this one for a crucial moment later on" plays. This game is the only chance for the Gamecocks to lay it all on the line from the start of the gun and then see what happens from there. That makes this team and this game a very dangerous one.
How does UGA respond to that kind of attack? Well, we go out there and have the mindset of absolutely punishing the half assed 6-6 team that beat us last year in OUR own house by whipping them in THEIR own house. Look for UGA to start white hot. There will be no "feeling" the defense for a series or two to try to expose weaknesses. These two teams will lay it all out on the line from the very beginning because we all know that Vandy is not going to win the SEC, though they might be in the cat bird seat right now.
UGA will score first. They will score second and THEN USC might get their first taste of points for the game. However, we will not let up and we will not take it easy through the 4th quarter. This game defines our team, defines what we're all about and defines our goals. The balance of power in the SEC and the nation will shift with this game, mark my words. Our dominating performance will firmly place us as one of the top 2 teams in the land and solidify our spot in the polls.
This game is not about winning, it's about not going home a loser. USC had better be ready. I damn sure know the Dawgs are.
UGA -- 42
USC -- 17
Until next time kids.
Be safe (and Go Dawgs!).