A defining moment and quality win for the Carolina Football program last night in Columbia! It wasn't pretty but it was a crucial win over a (yes overrated) but quality Ole Miss program. The fact is this was not the 4th best team in the country Carolina faced. However, that does not take away from the outstanding defensive performance and acceptable offensive output by a hungry Gamecock squad. Coach Houston Nutt had no answer for the lightning fast Gamecock defense. He was out coached by Steve Spurrier who's conservative coaching this year seems best suited for this USC team. I think coach Spurrier is finally coming around to the fact that he must adjust his game plan to fit his team strengths. Over the past few years the Ball Coach has been trying to force his pass happy system on a team who's offensive line and receiving corps has not yet matured. The talent is now starting to pour into Columbia but still may be a year or two off. I was most impressed with Ellis Johnson's defensive scheme's led by All-SEC linebacker Eric Norwood. The Gamecock secondary also impressed me with their ability to cover the field, keep containment and not allow the Ole Miss receiver's to get behind them (with one exception that could have been costly.) The D-Line, linebacker's and safeties did an outstanding job of making the initial tackle and putting pressure on Jevan Snead when needed. We still need to get more tenacious off the ends and improve our pass rush. Punt coverage on special teams continues to be a problem. Note to coach Beamer: we need more speed on special teams! We should be imposing our will, running down there and hitting someone in the mouth. Instead we are catching (allowing the returner to come to us) instead of tackling.
The offense is another story. Once again I was very disappointed in our Red-Zone production! We have got to punch the ball in the end zone. We seem clueless inside the twenty yard line for the most part. However, Coach Spurrier did make a few good calls inside the ten that were nullified by penalties. Tori Gurley can be a big threat but must keep his head in the game and continue to work on technique. Moe Brown is giving us all he's got this year. I look for some more big plays from him as his confidence soars. We must utilize Jarvis Giles in space, he has been very limited in this offense. I don't know about you but this merry-go-round of running backs has it's limitations. On the one hand we are getting multiple players game experience. On the other hand we are not getting our backs in a comfortable rhythm. Kenny Miles had some nice runs, but are we going to see Kenny as the featured back next week? Who knows! Once again Stephen Garcia managed the game well. I have seen Stephen improve by leaps and bounds this season. He does not seem to get rattled under pressure and makes heady decisions when needed. He is doing a much better job of staying in the pocket, looking for receivers on the run and not forcing throws. However, I do have a problem with his deep ball. He has consistently under thrown the deep ball this year. The receiver's have had to come back for the ball on multiple occasions causing break-ups and near interceptions.
OK, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. South Carolina State is an over matched yet quality opponent next week. This is the last breather we will get until we are fully emerged in our SEC schedule. Let's continue to swarm on defense, work out the kinks on offense, continue to develop our young talent and Shock the World! Go Cocks!