Thursday, October 29, 2009

Keys to Victory: Carolina vs. Tennessee

OK, so how do we leave "Rocky Top" with a win on Saturday? That is the question. I will attempt to provide some answers in my Keys to the Game:

First, forget about the past! I know, South Carolina is a dreadful, 21-4-2 all-time vs. Tennessee. That's part of the problem around here. Fan's need to stop focusing on past failures. What you should be focusing on is the last five year window vs. the Vols'. Two of the four all-time wins (2005, 2008) have come in the last five years. That time period also includes a 27-24 overtime loss. As far as the SEC, Tennessee is (24-18) vs. the SEC, whereas SC is (19-21) over the last five years. So during this period these two programs have competed on basically even terms. However, Carolina's overall program productivity arc is drastically better than the Vols'. The Cocks' have had better recruiting classes, better consistency and most importantly better coaches during this time frame. Speaking of coaches. Now, I personally think Lane Kiffin is a punk. This is a guy who was born with a silver spoon lodged were the sun don't shine. I don't think he has ever had to earn anything in his life. He lives by the adage "Any publicity is good publicity." He must realize by now he is not doing the Vols' any favors bumping his gums. What he is doing is placing a huge bulls eye on their backside, and it seems that most SEC teams are more than happy to kick them in it! So let him do the talking...we'll be glad to do the kicking!

Now to the Game:

Defense wins ballgames in the SEC! We must limit Tennessee's run game. Let's face it, we are not going to shut down the Vols' run attack...containment is the objective. Ideally we would love to get them in 3rd down situations with four or more yards to gain consistently. Doing that would force Jonathan Crompton to complete passes. I would much rather take my chances with our secondary than to rely on the D-line to make consistent short yardage stops. We are great in pursuit and stretching plays from sideline to sideline, however, the D-line just hasn't proven they can bottle up the run.

We need better designed blitzes to be effective in pressuring Jonathan Crompton! I hope Coach Ellis Johnson has been in his laboratory this week designing some new blitz schemes. Rarely do our linemen come free to apply much pressure in the current schemes. We have been successful from time to time on the edge but never with consistency. You can rest assure that Tennessee will double team Eric Norwood. We need someone to step up and have a breakout game.

Limit penalties...especially on offense. I can't stress this enough. I don't know how many times we have shot ourselves in the foot this year? Let's just say we don't have many toes left! If we can get a honest days work out of the O-line I believe we will surprise with the amount of offense we can generate.

Establish a solid ground game early. Folks, let me be honest. By solid I mean let's have some semblance of a ground game. We cannot constantly put our offense in 3rd and long and expect to be successful. 3rd down and 3, 3rd down and 4 we can work with. 3rd down and 6-7 is not going to get it done!! Decide early on who is going to be the featured back. My best guess is Miles, let him get in his rhythm and put in some work. I don't think platooning backs will be successful against Tennessee.

GET JARVIS GILES (possibly Bryce Sherman) OUT IN SPACE!!! If Clemson can do it with Spiller and Ford, and Florida can do it with Rainey and Demps, we can do it with Giles and Sherman. The numbers just aren't there to support Giles's consistent use at tailback at this juncture. Let's get some quality production out of those two for once this season.

Welcome back Moe Brown. With the emergence of Alshon Jeffrey and continued improvement of Tori Gurley his leadership will be much needed Saturday evening. I can imagine that Tennessee will bring safety help over the top to minimize Jeffery and Gurley. That is why it is important that we get Brown, Gurley and Jeffery on the field at the same time. The Vols' will be playing defensive "Russian Roulette" with those individual receiving threats on the field at the same time. Stephen Garcia will have to make smart decisions but someone will be isolated one on one when that safety comes to help. That help will come in the form of All-American SS Eric Berry. Garcia must be careful not to get baited into bad throws and be cognizant that Berry loves to jump routes. If Tennessee comes out in the Tampa 2, look for Spurrier to get Weslye Saunders more involved and hopefully utilize the above mentioned Giles and Sherman in space.

Speaking of Garcia. He must continue limiting mistakes. I'm not as worried about interceptions on his part as I am about ball security. Tennessee is going to bring pressure. Garcia must secure the ball when he is in the pocket and protect it when he runs. He has a bad habit of carrying the ball in the wrong arm. Stephen must get rid of the ball Saturday night. We cannot afford to dig ourselves field position holes.

We should find out Saturday evening if the "New Carolina" is here to stay. 6-3 or 7-2 Gamecocks', simple as that, the choice is yours.


No comments:

Post a Comment