Some quick, barely researched, not fully-formed thoughts from last night’s season opener:
– The insurance salesmen, accountants, doctors and lawyers were right. When the decision to start Connor Shaw over Stephen Garcia was announced on Thursday, there were a lot of fans that took to the world-wide web to express their displeasure. Mild as my objection was, I was one of those folks. There were a few who defended Steve Spurrier with tried and true variations of “You’re an insurance salesman, you think you know more about football than Steve Spurrier?”
Well, I certainly don’t know more about football than the HBC, but I know what I saw Saturday night. Connor Shaw looked like a squirrel trying to cross I-77 in his three series, and when Garcia entered in the second quarter a calm came over the offense. All of our failings against ECU cannot be blamed on Shaw, just as all our successes cannot attributed to Garcia, but I do know that once Garcia came into the game we outscored ECU 56-20. I’ll take that over great scrimmage stats any day.
– #7 is for real, but people need to start talking about #6 . Jadeveon Clowney was big, fast and powerful, just like we’ve been told. You noticed when he was in the game, and you noticed when he was not. I know, he wasn’t playing against an SEC-caliber offensive line, but still, you have to be excited about the future of the War Daddy. The story on the DL, however, was the play of Melvin Ingram. He is a freakish athlete (did you see the hands on that pick?) that was all over the place last night, and deserves to be talked about in all-SEC terms.
– Lattimore was Lattimore and Jeffery was Jeffery – And thank God for that. #21 even looked a little quicker and more decisive running the ball.
– We have a return game! Ace Sanders’ PR for TD was easily the most exciting play of the game last night, and the first time we’ve seen that out of the Gamecocks since 2003 (Chavez Donnings, anyone?) Bruce Ellington looked great on kickoff returns as well.
– Speaking of Sanders and Ellington… We have a lot of weapons on offense, we just have to find a way to get the ball in their hands. I was a little surprised we didn’t see any short passes to one of those two guys to try to get them out in space (Sanders’ short TD catch doesn’t count), but that part of the playbook may be closed until next week. Shon Carson looked very quick with the ball in his limited touches, and I was really disappointed we didn’t get to see Dameire Byrd last night. Hopefully that situation will be cleared up by next week.
– Stephon Gilmore is not a shutdown corner. This situation continues to disturb me. A great cornerback is going to get beaten on occasion, but a great cornerback is going to make a great play every once in a while too. I haven’t seen a great play out of defensive #5 in quite a while. Somebody please tell me why I’m wrong, I would like to be reassured.
– Don’t let the 37 points bother you. I really think our defense will be better this year than last. ECU’s points were a product of turnovers and their offense, which will score a lot of points on a lot of people this year. And they’ll need every one of them.
– Game Ball: Antonio Allen. Wow, 16 tackles, 2 caused fumbles, 1 fumble return for TD. Have yourself a night young man.
– We will be playing an ultra-desperate team next week. UGA was manhandled by Boise last night (side note: mad props to Boise, I was wrong), and conventional wisdom says UGA will be playing to save Mark Richt’s job. This could also wind up being an elimination game in the SEC East race, so USC will have to eliminate the mistakes from last night and be ready for a hostile bunch of Dogs.
Join us for TRC Unleashed tomorrow night where we’ll discuss these topics plus many more.