I hear you. After spending season after season watching us line up in the shotgun from within five yards of the goal line, I've gotten used to hearing it, and I've given it a lot of thought. But let's be honest with one another - lining up in the shotgun a few yards from the end zone isn't a nakedly stupid thing to do. And many of us didn't act like it was when we celebrated its successes time and time again over the year. So it's a little funny, and a lot hypocritical, to see everyone coming out of the woodwork to suggest it was "dumb" of Spurrier to line up Connor Shaw and Mike Davis in the backfield and run the ball, like we'd done successfully all day long.
I remember in 2010 seeing us line up with Marcus Lattimore in the backfield in the shotgun near the goal line, and saying along with all of you, "no Coach, we can't do that succesfully!" And, we were all right:
As we would be reminded, again and again and again:
Unfortunately for poor Marcus, Spurrier would continue obstinately calling these plays near the goal line for his entire career, leading to results like these, which we all continue to rue to this very day:
Ultimately, this type of play calling would lead Marcus to an embarrassing conclusion to his USC career:
To think, what might have been.
Hey, I hear you. I GET IT. These plays involve Lattimore, not someone else. And most of the plays are the zone read, not the speed option. I also can't imagine a single instance in the recent past where we would run the speed option without Lattimore in a big game in a critical situation where it would work.
At this point in the post, I think you know where we're headed, right (if the prompt doesn't work, skip to 1:30)?
#13 South Carolina vs Tennessee 2012 Football Highlights | 10.27.12 | (via 22DukeBlue)
The worst part of this whole conversation? It actually wasn't a bad play call, not because of all the past evidence I just linked above, but because of all the concurrent evidence that we all had immediately at our disposal because, throughout the entire game, we ran all over Georgia with this very play. And even on the play in question, the call was great - the execution was lacking. As no less an option guru than Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson explained:
The play wasn’t the problem, Johnson said, but the execution.
"The tackle tripped and fell," Johnson said. "He didn’t block the linebacker. The Georgia kid (Herrera) made a great play." A replay backs up Johnson’s assertion.
Right tackle Brandon Shell fell coming off the snap, leaving him unable to get a block on Herrera, who ran free to the ball for the tackle.
And as the video clearly shows, that's absolutely the case:
I am absolutely not one of those people who pretends the coaches do not make mistakes. Suffice to say, a brief glance at everything that happened on the defensive side of the ball, not to mention special teams errors on every kickoff return and the preventable surprise onside kick screw-up makes it clear that would be a laugable position.
But come on. There are many areas where you can air your grievances on how Carolina could've played better on Saturday. But picking on one call, that we've used a ton historically, and that was wildly successful the entire day, and that would've worked but for one player failing to execute? Well then damn y'all, we look as silly as we sound.