I'll have some scouting reports up on Furman over the course of the week, but let's be honest--although we should all keep in mind that this is a football team we're playing and hope our guys will take the Paladins a bit more seriously than some of the other teams around the country have taken their FCS opponents, we should probably get ready to enjoy another blowout. That said, it's good to look for progress in these games, and there are a few things I think we should look for. They include:
Accuracy, rhythm, and a quick release from Stephen Garcia. Garcia didn't have a great game against Georgia. He managed the game fairly effectively, but he also coughed it up once, took some ugly sacks, and whiffed on a couple of throws. It would be good to see him get his mojo back this weekend, just in time to take it with him to Auburn. I'd first of all like to see him connect on a long TD pass. He's connected on some nice balls, but he seems to be a little off when he's throwing for six, Brian Maddox's drop notwithstanding. I would also like to see him avoid getting sacked. He did a good job of that against Southern Miss., but after taking a couple of tough hits against UGA, he seemed to lose his cool a bit. He needs to get it back.
Kenny Miles. I have no problem with giving the ball to Marcus Lattimore 37 times in a game where you know you're going to need every little yard. However, we're not going to be able to do that each week. Lattimore took a lot of hits against Georgia, and he'll need to rest his legs a bit this time around. There's no reason, though, that that should be a problem when we have a guy that ran for 5.0+ ypc last year. Miles is a perfectly capable SEC back, and I would like to see him on the field a bit more to spell Lattimore.
Spreading the Ball Around a Bit. Similarly, while I love Alshon Jeffery, I was to see us use some of our other targets. Jeffery is clearly our best receiver, but Tori Gurley, D.L. Moore, Jason Barnes, Ace Sanders, and Patrick DiMarco are also viable targets. It seemed that Garcia was oftentimes focused on trying to get the ball to Jeffery somehow in the second half. There's no need for us to take that kind of shortsighted approach when we have this kind of talent.
A Pass Rush. Ellis Johnson has said that he really wants to find a pass rush, and it's been pretty obvious that we're missing not having Eric Norwood or Shaq Wilson on the field right now. Devin Taylor had a nice game against UGA, but Cliff Matthews hasn't been quite as dominant as we hoped, and we're not getting a great rush from the Will LB. I'm not sure how many blitz packages Johnson will show us this week, as he's probably going to want to save some tricks to try to get in Cameron Newton's grill, but I would like to at least see Matthews run over somebody.