Tuesday, September 06, 2011

My Glass of Kool Aid is Half Full

My Glass of Kool Aid is Half Full

I am ready to look forward and stop looking back at the Boise game. But, a little more consideration of the Boise game is needed for me to look forward with a glimmer of optimism. When I left the Dome, I felt like we were doomed this coming Saturday against South Carolina. But I have started rationalizing (or perhaps irrationalizing - if that is a real verb) that there are some fixable issues and if they are fixed this week, we can beat the Gamecocks. By fixable, I am stretching and proposing that we may figure out how to pass block on 3rd down and stop the false starts (we had four).

Aaron Murray was sacked 6 times and 5 of them were on third down. Surely South Carolina will see that and plan for similar pressure. Now, the responsibility falls on our o-line and coaches to figure out how to neutralize the pressure that we know is coming from Ellis Johnson's defense. Coach Richt acknowledged that attempting some screens is an option. How about using 275 lb Bruce Figgins in Pass Pro?

I don't see him whiffing at defensive ends like we saw in the Dome. If we had played a team like Louisiana Lafayette in the opener, we may not know the severity of this problem, but based on the results in the Dome, we know where the bulkhead is leaking so hopefully we know how to patch it.

False start penalties are especially frustrating because in addition to disrupting any potential flow you may have going, adding 5 yards to the distance for a first down typically means changing the play call, possibly changing the personnel and naturally makes it harder to make a first down. These are all gimmes for the defense and in a close game against a talented opponent, we simply cannot afford these gimmes. Coach Richt mentioned that they will go to more silent counts this week and that should help the tackles. Maybe that will solve it, but another solution would be for Ben Jones to get in the ass of the culprit who can't remember the snap count. Accountability to your teammates is an effective motivator. Use it. And while we are on the subject of gimmes, remember when David Greene would draw the defense offsides at least twice a game with his cadence and hard counts? More of that please. Make the other guys screw up and give us some free yards and attractive down and distance situations. This is especially true when you know they have their ears pinned back to aggressively rush the QB. Will someone get this memo to Coaches Richt and Bobo?

Now... looking forward. We know South Carolina is good but there is reason to consider that their defense may not be as stout as the Boise defense - at least based on their first week performance. The Gamecock defense yielded 31 points to East Carolina in the first three quarters while the game was very much in doubt. ECU couldn't run the ball very successfully (28 for 85 yds) but the QB was 35/56 for 260 yards and 4 TDs. Both teams lost 4 fumbles in this game and the Gamecocks returned one for a TD and had a long punt return for a TD. Two stats I like very much... South Carolina registered zero sacks and allowed ECU to convert 9 of 19 third downs and 2 of 2 fourth downs.

I still have no idea how our defense will stop Lattimore, Garcia and Jeffery, so hopefully we can outscore them.

There is no doubt that the Dawgs have their hands full, but at least at this point, my glass is still half full. A victory over South Carolina would make our most important season goals still attainable. We need this win. I am behind this team, evidently pushing the bus. If the Kool Aid runs out, I will have to fill it up with some high ABV craft beer.

Go Dawgs! GATA!

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