Previewing S. C. State at South Carolina: Checking in on the Bulldogs' Defense

While their offense is formidable, the Bulldogs' has been downright nasty so far. Here are a few highlights, as well some related thoughts on what we should expect offensively from the Gamecocks.

  • The Bulldogs are an opportunistic defense at +5 in turnover ratio. Moreover, you can bet they'll take chances against us, as they know turnovers and big plays are their only chance to stay in the game. All that being the case, I'd be impressed with another low-turnover performance. (We're currently in the top 20 in turnover ratio--imagine that.) We can probably win this game easily even if we give up a few turnovers (see 2007), but we do need to continue to play efficient, mistake-free ball to keep team morale high as we head into the meat of our schedule.
  • The Bulldogs held Bethune-Cookman to 98 yards. All I have to say is: damn. That's a fine performance against any team. I'd be overjoyed if we did that.
  • With turnovers S. C. State's only real chance at staying in this, you can expect to see us run the ball a lot again. The Bulldogs have been good against the run so far, but their front won't stand a chance against our offensive line. Expect to see us roll up about 300 on the ground. I'm excited to see more Kenny Miles, for one.
  • At the same time, I don't see the point of all the talk of taking Brian Maddox out of the lineup. Folks, Brian Maddox plays a lot because he can catch the ball and he can block. He may not have the moves or speed of Miles or Jarvis Giles, but he does other things that are very important in Spurrier's offense better than those two. That's why he will and should continue to play. However, I don't necessarily think he should be our short-yardage back, as Miles and Patrick DiMarco have shown just as much or more ability to get tough yards.
  • The other reason you'll see us run the ball is that I would imagine the coaches want to protect Stephen Garcia. Garcia is apparently on the mend, but we need him at absolute full speed for Kentucky the next week. I would prefer not to see him run the ball much. I would also expect that you'll see Spurrier pull Garcia and play Aramis Hillary a little bit if we're up 4+ touchdowns in the second half. Reid McCollum is apparently still ill, so we may not get to see him yet.
  • Finally, while i'd like to see Garcia spend most of his time handing off, I would also like to see Spurrier let Garcia throw deep a few more times in this game. That's the one part of his game that appears to still be lacking, and it's important that he gets it down if we're going to deal with man defenses better than we did last week.
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