Humiliation. I was prepared to lose. I was not prepared for this.
I walked around all week in my Atlanta office telling my Bulldog co-workers that the 17 point spread was not enough. I told them they would win by three touchdowns despite their concerns about their quarterback. I mentally prepared myself for a loss, maybe even a bad loss, to protect these old bones from letting a football game impact other more important areas of my life.
Things were going according to plan through the first quarter, as we were competitive and looked like we might even be able to make a game of it. The 11-point halftime deficit wasn’t too bad, although I was a little concerned about how Georgia had moved down the field so easily in their two-minute drill.
Then we had to play the second half. Our offense was anemic. Our defense was horrific. Georgia ran 37 consecutive offensive plays without facing a third down. Greyson Lambert, a quarterback who was so average that Virginia asked him to not return for his senior season, completed 20 consecutive passes and set an NCAA record for completion percentage in a game. Jordan Diggs was blasted backwards into the end zone by Sony Michel and then posed over in a single moment that almost single-handedly eradicated our four wins in the previous five years over Georgia. Bulldog running backs were gaining eight yards before they were touched, and wide receivers were this open:
By the end Gamecock players were not only fighting with their opponents, but they were fighting with themselves in a telltale moment that right now this team is lost. Not only is there a dearth of talent on this squad due to poor recruiting efforts, but with very few exceptions there appears to be no heart and no self-respect.
In the end my mental preparation was for naught. A loss, even a bad loss, was acceptable to me last night.
Getting humiliated was not, and never will be, acceptable.
HBC. I have an idea how these last nine games will go, and if what I believe does happen it’s going to be a very sad ending to a great career for Steve Spurrier. Seeing video of him running out of Sanford Stadium having obscenities yelled at him by toothless, adult, redneck Georgia fans who have been dominated by Spurrier for the better part of 20 years did not help my mood.
That Ain’t No Hoke. Jon Hoke drew praise for his halftime adjustments in the first two games of the year as the Gamecocks played shutdown defense for the final 30 minutes against North Carolina and Kentucky. But last night he appeared to make no adjustments whatsoever. There was the occasional corner blitz that was picked up easily by Lambert, but very few times did we see more than four rushers to try to make something happen. Maybe I wasn’t watching closely enough, but I never noticed any stunts or twists either.
Who knows, maybe Lorenzo Ward deserves an apology.
It’s Zo Time. I said all summer that if at any point Lorenzo Nunez was our starting quarterback, then something has gone terribly wrong. I think we can all agree many things have gone terribly wrong, so it’s time to take our chances with the true freshman. Perry Orth is a nice story, from seventh string to bagging groceries to starting in Athens, but at this point that’s all it is – a nice story.
While Orth had his moments, it’s obvious Zo is an elite athlete and can make things happen that no other quarterback on the roster can. He might look like a baby deer running around out there at times, but I think he’s going to give us our best chance to score some points.
King Tuttchdown. Six yards receiving, 34 yards rushing. We’re wasting our main man.
On Quitting. At some point during the night former Gamecock defensive back D.J. Swearinger tweeted this:
Predictably, there was a lot of unfortunate reaction to this tweet by emotional fans. In turn, there was a lot of defense of DJ going on that what he said was “the truth”.
Here’s the thing – DJ was being honest in a way only DJ can be honest, and was probably expressing a lot of what we were feeling last night. The problem is, he has a responsibility none of the rest of us have. He’s one of the most popular Gamecock players of all time, and is now in a place where many of our players hope to be someday – the NFL. To tell our players, especially the ones who are strapping it up on Saturday and giving it every ounce of effort they have, that he is quitting on them is disappointing. Many of the current players look up to him. Hell, some of theme probably came to South Carolina BECAUSE of him.
Being disappointed in a performance is one thing, but telling a group of guys who look up to you that you’re quitting on them is quite another. I’m disappointed, and despite my deep disappointment at how this season is shaping up, I’m not quitting. You can accuse me of bitching and moaning, and that’s fair. But regardless I’ll be there next week supporting these guys, and the week after, and the week after that.
The Final Word. From your lips to God’s ears Isaiah.