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Tigers Shamed: South Carolina at Clemson Post-Game Discussion Thread

South Carolina
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While watching Carolina pound his hapless team, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney wonders what he'll say to the Tigers boosters on the IPTAY tour.

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Patrick Collard – AP

While watching Carolina pound his hapless team, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney wonders what he’ll say to the Tigers boosters on the IPTAY tour.

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It’s time to celebrate, Gamecocks fans! Carolina just made themselves comfortable in Clemson’s house and put a major whipping on the Tigers. The game really wasn’t even as close as the final 29-7 score. Clemson never  threatened to score after its early TD and Carolina had pity on its Upstate rival and took its foot off the gas in the second half. The gap between the two teams, especially considering that it all went down in front of what was early on a thoroughly energized Clemson crowd, was thoroughly apparent.

And that’s what’s so incredible about what Carolina did tonight. Before tonight, we hadn’t won two straight against Clemson since the 1960s, and now we’ve done to the tune of a 63-24 total margin of victory. We’ve been waiting for years for the Gamecocks to make the Palmetto Bowl a rivalry again, and Carolina just did it with a bang. This isn’t just a rivalry again, it’s now Carolina’s edge to lose. We now look to be the stronger program, and it’s easy to imagine our success against Clemson continuing next season. Clemson will undoubtedly field an improved team next year if they can keep their recruiting class together, but with all the offensive talent we have coming back and the game returning to Columbia, it’s hard to see us not being the favorite again next time around. Winning three straight against Clemson was difficult for Gamecocks’ fans to imagine a couple of years back after the Tigers whipped Carolina in 2008, but it now seems very easy to conceive. Pounding a team two straight years can do that for your confidence level.

In a season of many firsts, asserting ourselves in this rivalry is one of the sweetest. It may not have any immediate bearing on the SEC standings. However, after years of dealing with obnoxious Clemson fans look down on Carolina, it’s now Carolina’s turn to enjoy some success. That’s a great feeling. It’s what college football is all about, and it’s something we have gotten to enjoy much until now.

A few quick thoughts on the game:

1. Spencer Lanning deserves a game ball. Lanning missed a FG and had an XP blocked. (Our XP team needs some work, by the way.) However, his punting tonight was beautiful, and it allowed us to completely control field position in the second half. That was important, because I’m sure that Spurrier was happy to be able to play it safe and not ask Stephen Garcia or Marcus Lattimore to do to much in order to not have to risk injury going into the SEC Championship Game. Lanning’s punting made it easy for us to do that, because it put us in the position of not really having to worry about the outcome of the game for most of the second half.

2. The secondary has come full circle. Sure, they got some help from Clemson’s anemic passing game. (What happened to Kyle Parker, by the way? That was some noodly-armed QBing from the Clemson signal-caller. I take it this wasn’t what he came back for.) But Carolina’s secondary, outside of the early TD, again looked miles ahead of where it was earlier this season. They were consistently in position and showed a nose for the ball. What we’ve been doing since after Arkansas has worked, and it’s helped this defense morph into an elite unit.

3. Did Alshon Jeffery give the Biletnikoff folks something to think about? I’m watching Oklahoma wrap up a victory over Oklahoma St., and Justin Blackmon has been good but not great. I still think Blackmon wins the award, but Jeffery may have given himself a chance to put himself closer to contention for the award for the nation’s best receiver.

That’s a wrap for tonight. We’ll be back tomorrow with more coverage and analysis.


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Kentucky 14 @ Tennessee 24: Postmortem

Kentucky
Content provided by A Sea Of Blue.

After a promising start, the UK hopes of breaking the Tennessee streak goes by the boards.

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Wade Payne – AP

After a promising start, the UK hopes of breaking the Tennessee streak goes by the boards.

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I have a confession to make — I really didn’t think UK was going to win this football game at any time.  Tennessee has just been on a roll since Tyler Bray began starting, and they didn’t come off that roll today versus the Wildcats.

Congratulations to the Tennessee Volunteers for an outstanding game.  They did it with offense and they played just enough defense to keep the Kentucky Wildcats out of the end zone.

I really don’t have a lot to say about this game.  It went pretty much according to the script that the Wildcats have written for themselves all year — poor defense, turnovers, and stalled drives a critical times.  As the old saying goes, there is really nothing new under the sun.

Even Randall Cobb‘s heroics were not enough.  The Kentucky ground game, which began to move the football for a while in the second quarter, got stymied eventually.  The combination of time and score forced Kentucky to go to an all-out pass attack, and in the end, that attack just wasn’t good enough.

Kentucky, who is pretty much known for getting big plays on offense almost every game, had a notable dearth of them today, and had numerous wide-open receivers that Hartline just plain missed.  Conversely, the defense repeatedly gave up long vertical pass plays, many of them due to perfect ball placement by Bray.  That kid is just as hot as a $3 pistol right now, and might be leading the conference in passing if he had started from the beginning of the year.

Superlatives:

  • Randall Cobb amassed a ridiculous amount of offense today, but it wasn’t even close to enough.  Game ball.
  • The defensive line played pretty well today, comparatively.
  • The offensive line gave Hartline all the time he needed, but their run blocking could have been a lot better.
  • The receiving corps ran exceptional routes today.

The not-so-superlative:

  • The defensive secondary was just unable to stop pass plays.  It wasn’t that they were letting people get wide open or anything, but Denarius Moore and Gerald Jones just killed us.
  • Special teams were loathsome.  A missed FG that would have given us momentum, a shanked punt that cost us, a touchback when we could have pinned them down.  Those plays were the difference between winning and losing, in my view.
  • Bad throws by Hartline – he had a handful of receivers wide open and missed them for huge plays.  You can get away with one of those, but not four or five.
  • Turnovers.  This needs no exposition.  The end zone fumble effectively lost the game for us.

It’s too early yet for me to sum up the season, and I have too much to do here to take the time to write a long post on that, but one will be forthcoming soon.  Yes, this is a disappointment, but really, I am getting used to disappointment with this team.  It has been one of those years where the potential has simply been unfulfilled due mostly to poor ball handling and badly-timed miscues.  As good as this team looks statistically, they look disappointing in the only statistic that really counts — winning winnable football games, especially in the league.

With that, I’ll leave you to rejoin your Thanksgiving weekend, already in progress.


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Balanced attack demolishes Rattlers

Alabama
Content provided by Alabama Basketball Blog.

Box score

We jumped on them early and never let up. The game was over 5 minutes into the 1st half. 76-37 is your final.

The good:
- held A&M to 23% FG and 2-21 from 3
- outrebounded A&M 55-37
- forced 15 turnovers and pulled in 12 steals.

The bad:
- Hillman turned it over too much.
- FT and 3pt shooting.

An unexpected blowout… which was nice. Some things for CAG to work on with the players for our next opponent (Troy). All I had was the radio broadcast so I can’t break it down they way I’d like to.

Alabama Hoops Feed. FEED ME!
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This is Les Miles’s post-’Bama press conference. I submit this not just as a curiosity, although…

South Carolina
Content provided by Garnet And Black Attack.

This is Les Miles’s post-’Bama press conference. I submit this not just as a curiosity, although any press conference with Miles certainly is that. It also, though, says a lot about why Miles finds success as a coach. The guy may be crazy, he may have poor taste in offensive coordinators, and I don’t think you can argue against the idea that he can’t manage the clock well. That said, he clearly does one thing right, and that’s give his team a reason to believe it can make big plays. Miles plays to win, game in and game out. When confronted with the opportunity to draw up some backyard trick play when most coaches would just take a FG or punt, Miles doesn’t bat an eye. He’s goes for the knockout punch every single time. And you know what? It usually works. Miles’s confidence and bravura pay off with his players, who believe in him and in themselves as a team.

We could use a bit of that mojo around here, if you ask me. Maybe having a “coaching genius” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.


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Arkansas at South Carolina Post-Game: Thoughts / Topics for Discussion Thread

South Carolina
Content provided by Garnet And Black Attack.

Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino speaks to reporters before a luncheon at the Little Rock Touchdown Club in Little Rock, Ark., Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

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Danny Johnston – AP

about 1 year ago:

Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino speaks to reporters before a luncheon at the Little Rock Touchdown Club in Little Rock, Ark., Monday, Aug. 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

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As you might expect, I’m pretty much at a loss for words regarding how to describe what just happened, so I’m going to keep this short and sleep on a more detailed analysis. Hopefully the morning will bring a little clarity…and perhaps a smidgen of the confidence I once had about next week’s game.

1. This was largely an execution loss. The players were generally either hurt or playing flat. Stephen Garcia had an off night. Pass protection was horrible. Marcus Lattimore was sluggish / hurt. Our receivers played more or less like they did last year against UConn. Our secondary is completely depleted, doesn’t know how to tackle, and commits stupid, needless penalties. Hopefully some of these things will improve with a title on the line next weekend.

What happened to Garcia’s new-found ability to find the dump-off play? We missed out on two or three third-down conversions because Garcia failed to see Lattimore open on the sidelines.

2. This may surprise you, but I’m generally not too unhappy with the offensive playcalling. There were a couple of moments that miffed me a little, like when we got down on Arkansas’s five-yard line on a key early drive and threw the ball three times, followed by a missed FG. If we were throwing the ball because Lattimore was hurting, then Brian Maddox should have been in the game. Other than that, though, I thought we had a decent game plan. Steve Spurrier saw that Arkansas wasn’t going to give Lattimore any running room in the middle, and he drew up some nice remedies, such as asking Garcia to run the ball a little more than usual. If the execution had been there–if more of Garcia’s passes are on the money, if our receivers catch a few more balls, etc.–this one might have gone differently. Alas.

That said, let’s not give the coaches too much of a pass-it’s their job to get the team in the right mindset to play the game, and they failed tonight. Utterly.

3. Ryan Mallett is a great QB. As a downfield passer, he’s on another level compared to the rest of the SEC’s QBs. I was also generally impressed with his ability to get rid of the ball under pressure. The guy is shiftier than he looks. Certainly, if there was anyone wondering who the second-best QB in the SEC is coming into this game, that question has been answered. It’s Mallett.


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