JD’s Five Keys to Victory – South Carolina Edition

Photo: Logan Booker/BI

Photo: Logan Booker/BI

.

1. Man Up D-Line – What most stood out in South Carolina’s impressive 27-10 victory over North Carolina in the season-opener was the dominant performance of what may be the Southeastern Conference’s best offensive line. Shawn Elliot, the semi-psychotic position coach who gained fame at Appalachian State after the upset of Michigan and the ensuing Fox Sports South feature, has put together a tremendous unit. They are monsters who create huge pushes in the run game, and they form a near impenetrable wall on passing downs. Georgia’s defensive front will have its hands full. They cannot get pushed around and must create pressure. If not, South Carolina has a great shot to make it a once unthinkable
four straight.

2. Stay Disciplined with Shaw – Connor Shaw is one terrific quarterback. He is an excellent passer, superb runner, tough as nails, and quite crafty. Especially on that read option. Georgia’s defensive ends and outside linebackers have to be disciplined and stay home. On his longest run against North Carolina, Shaw flat-out juked a Tar Heel linebacker with a nifty fake then turned on the jets. You can bet Todd Grantham and first – year defensive line coach Chris Wilson will be preaching throughout the week the importance discipline on the edge. Jordan Jenkins and Garrison Smith are dynamos, they will have to be at their best and show the way.

3. Manage Clowney – The likely No. 1 overall pick in the draft isn’t going to get dominated. You know that with Jadeveon Clowney. Georgia’s offense has to manage him though. The last two years, he has made monster, turnover and touchdown-causing, game-changing (in 2011 game-winning) plays against the Bulldogs. Since he did not have a great game statistically against the Tar Heels, you can bet he is going to pull out all the stops for the Bulldogs. You can bet that Georgia’s tackles – and Clowney figures to move around – will have some help from tight ends and fullbacks. But in the end, the line is going to have to set the tone. South Carolina has a lot of other defensive standouts who flourish if it takes two or
three to keep Clowney from having a monster performance.

4. Go Gurley Go –Georgia has the nation’s best tailback. This is the game where he can set the tone and have another of those memorable afternoons – like the one in Jacksonville. Leading with this elite talent and being the more physical team also puts the defense on its heels and slows down “you know who.” It was physical against Clemson, but there’s an open date and then North Texas before LSU rolls in, so Gurley can empty the tank. With Gurley showing the way, it makes the Bulldogs already dangerous passing attack even more lethal. Gurley went over the century mark against killer defenses in Jacksonville and the Georgia Dome, and this is another stellar stop unit. If he can soften them up a bit, maybe the speedy counter-puncher Keith Marshall can break loose on a long one.

5. At least push the Kicking Game – Struggles on special teams in recent years have been pretty evident – especially against the Gamecocks. In 2011, South Carolina brilliantly executed a fake punt with defensive end Melvin Ingram going 70 yards for a touchdown, and the Bulldogs missed a short field goal in the Gamecocks 45-42 victory. Last year, Ace Sanders broke Georgia’s back in the first quarter with a punt return that made it 21-0 in the 35-7 South Carolina rout. The Bulldogs just can’t afford these kinds of breakdowns. If Georgia can play it at least even on special teams, the odds lean towards the red and black breaking this losing streak to the Gamecocks and opening SEC play with a huge win.

13 comments
IveyLeaguer
IveyLeaguer

Nice job, Jeff, but you overlooked the most important key, IMO ... DON'T BEAT YOURSELVES.  That covers a lot of ground .. Murray, ST, coaches, the whole team.  We did that in Clemson and lost.

This is a far more difficult challenge than Clemson.  Do it again this week, and we lose .. you can write that down.

Also, I would put the OL in there.  For the OL, this game is like Alabama 2002.  The question then, as Pat Dye established it, was whether the Georgia OL was man enough to beat Alabama.

That question probably applies equally to Georgia's Front 7 on defense this week, but certainly the OL.  Are we man enough to beat South Carolina?

IDK.  But we're about to find out.

~~~

dougscoffee
dougscoffee

What is the longest Murray run?  What is the longest last year and this year?  I don't really know what the read options is, but is sounds like Shaw does it.  Have we done it?  Would something like that work well against SCAR?

Jasontuga13
Jasontuga13

I have a hard believing we're going to come out of this one with a W. I just can't see our d and o line improving that much in a week. I know they can improve but the type of improvement we need is not developed over night or in a weeks time. My prediction is South Carolna 34-21.

IveyLeaguer
IveyLeaguer

@dougscoffee 

IDK, but we have run it in the past.  Stafford ran it some, Murray has run it.

FWIW, South Carolina has killed us with the read-option the last 3 years, and a few times before that.

~~~

IveyLeaguer
IveyLeaguer

@Jasontuga13 

["I just can't see our d and o line improving that much in a week."]

It IS hard to see a W in this one.  And we won't see one if we are the same team we were last week.

Your point about developing overnight is valid.  We have to have done a lot more toward that end to have a chance to make the improvement we need. I don't know if we have or not.

Sonny has a very valid point about Gurley.  This is a once-every-20-years type back.  He can win the game for us.  But even he has to have a crease of some kind, which he didn't have last year.

It seems to me we should be able to do what it takes.  This is the same OL that blocked Florida and Alabama with some success.

I honestly believe it's just a matter of manning up.  We were soft last week. There's just no excuse for that.  This might be the SEC or NC game, for crying out loud.

Man up, and get the job done.  And, of course, don't beat yourself.

~~~

dawgathon
dawgathon

@Jasontuga13 The O-line will perform better simply due to crowd noise and being able to communicate.  However, there is also a Clowney factor. 

GirdersRBending
GirdersRBending

@Jasontuga13 I am afraid I agree with you.  Unless the UGA faithful create a hostile atmosphere that disrupts the gamecocks, the match-ups on the los favor USCe.  I hope we are both wrong.

meansonny
meansonny

In gurley i trust. we can beat anyone if we are able to get him enough touches. i am very concerned that south carolina runs all over us. and that means that this game can go down to the wire even if we do all the right things offensively.

GirdersRBending
GirdersRBending

@IveyLeaguer @Jasontuga13 I believe USC's defensive gameplan will center on not letting Gurley beat them and rattling Murray.  They will stuff the box and bring the heat.  If Bobo can gameplan around this and make them pay, we can keep them guessing and have success.  I'll believe it when I see it.

Jasontuga13
Jasontuga13

I asked the question on the recruiting blog. I hope this doesn't happen but I'm very worried it may. If we close September 1-3 what do you think happens in the off season? If we do go 1-3 in September I don't see us winning 8 games. I had us down as 8-4 this year.