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Vanderbilt at South Carolina Postgame: Topics for Discussion

My hats off to Vanderbilt for playing such a gritty game. I'll have a full recap up tomorrow. For now, here are some things to think about.

1. Phew. That was close, but we beat Vandy. It wasn't beautiful and I would have liked to see us build more momentum going into the tough part of our schedule, but it does feel good to get a win over these guys after two years of futility. In the end, a win is a win, and we got the win. It's also worth saying that this is a game we probably wouldn't have won last year. This year's team made the plays it needed to make and hung tough at the end.

2. The offense played well, but it didn't show up on the scoreboard. What's the problem? I actually thought the offense played quite well in this game, especially Stephen Garcia, Alshon Jeffrey, and Kenny Miles. I think this might have been the best game Garcia has played for us; he made good decisions and put a number of tough throws right on the money. That TD toss to Jeffrey was a thing of beauty, and the earlier touchdown pass was also a good throw that D. L. Moore should have caught more cleanly. (That was a catch, though; his left foot was down when he gained possession.) The offensive line had some problems, but I wouldn't say they played a bad game outside of the penalties. All in all, we put up 432 total yards. That's a good night against a tough defense.

However, we only got 14 points out of it, and all those yards don't mean a thing without points to show for them. Some of the problems weren't exactly in our control, such as the bad field position we often had due to Vandy's stellar special teams play. However, some of the problems are things we need to work on. Penalties killed some of our drives, and our play calling seemed to get strange when we would get close to the red zone. I also thought Spurrier was a little too conservative late in the game; it's one thing to run it up the middle every time when you're up by two scores and another altogether to do it when you're only up by four and need to get a few more first downs. The conservative approach was even more suprirsing considering how hot Garcia was.

3. Penalties. What's the problem? There are some penalties that I can stand, like Melvin Ingram's facemask early in the game. Ingram was playing hard and was just in a bad position. But all these mental mistakes from the offensive line are frustrating. You'd think that our coaches would have addressed these problems by this point in the year, but apparently not. We really need to limit this stuff down the stretch if we're going to finish strong.