Spurrier comes to town with chance to bring UGA to its knees after Boise loss
by Travis Ragsdale
There isn’t anything to sugar coat. The Dawgs have a lot of work
to do this week if they plan on beating the South Carolina
Gamecocks in their home opener. There is no use sitting around
and sulking about the Boise State game. The Dawgs got flat out
beat. Boise State is an extremely good team who played an extremely good
game. Georgia certainly showed some deficiencies in some areas but if you
take a step back you can see that there were some bright spots that came
out of Saturday as well. So, if Georgia can fix some of the things that are broken
and lean, there is certainly the chance that Georgia can beat Steve
Spurrier and the Gamecocks this week.
Yikes. Scary, scary stuff Georgia fans. The Bulldawg offensive line is
not good to be quite frank. It’s going to be a long season for those guys up front. Consequently,
it’s going to be a long season for the Georgia offense. It is hard to expect Aaron Murray
to be able to spread the ball around to his receivers if he is running for his life all game
long. Unfortunately, it only gets worse. As much as Boise State dominated the Georgia offensive
line, South Carolina’s defensive front is much, much better than Boise State’s. Freshman
defensive end (and former number one high school recruit in the country) Jadeveon
Clowney had a stellar college debut for the Gamecocks this past weekend racking up seven
tackles. He’s big, he’s fast, and he’s skilled. It will be a tough task to ask this group of offensive
linemen for Georgia to block Clowney and the rest of the South Carolina defensive line.
That will certainly provide fits for the passing game but what about the running game? Isaiah
Crowell showed bursts of what could be against Boise State; he certainly has the tools that
it takes to be an elite running back. The unfortunate thing for Crowell is that he can have all
the tools in the world, if he doesn’t have any room to run, he won’t be successful. It also
doesn’t help that starting left guard Kenarious Gates went down with some sort of leg injury
against Boise State. He is expected to be able to play.
Georgia has a really great player here with this guy. It was his first live action in over a
year but you would have thought he’d been playing that entire time based upon his play
against Boise State. Jones will be key in stopping the running attack of South Carolina and
sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore. Georgia fans will not want to remember the
abysmal defensive performance Georgia had against Lattimore last year. Lattimore is a big back
and the Georgia defense had an awfully hard time bringing him the ground in 2010. If the
Dawgs don’t want a repeat of that, Jarvis Jones will have to have a monster game and wrap
up on Lattimore every single chance he gets. Jarvis might want to think about buckling up
his chin strap a little more tightly for the South Carolina game. Another aspect about Jones
presence at linebacker that may go unnoticed is his ability to free up other players on the defense.
After his impressive showing against Boise State, South Carolina is going to have to dedicate
special protection to counter Jones’ abilities. This will result in less attention being paid
to players like Christian Robinson and Shawn Williams who will hopefully be able to roam
free and make big plays. Jarvis Jones, if playing up to his capabilities can make the entire Dawg
The Evil Genius
He did it at Florida and now he’s doing it at South Carolina. No matter where Steve Spurrier
goes, he causes Georgia fits. What is amazing is that during his tenure at South Carolina he has caused
the Bulldawg Nation great angst without an overwhelming array of talent. Now, he has that talent and
that could spell bad news for the next few years. Spurrier has a senior quarterback in Stephen Garcia,
who despite many issues, is still a quality SEC player. He has a future Heisman Trophy candidate
in Marcus Lattimore. And has a first-round draft pick in wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Talent is everywhere
on South Carolina’s team now. So will the Ole Ball Coach use it? Yes, but in very strange ways.
In a shocking move last week, Spurrier benched Garcia and opted for less experienced and less talented
Connor Shaw to start at quarterback in their season opener. It looks like Spurrier is up to his
old tricks once again in Columbia. It’s unclear why Spurrier decided to do this but it seems there are
only two logical options. A. He wanted to confuse Georgia and other SEC coaches by starting Shaw.
Perhaps he figures that this will cause problems in game planning for opposing defenses. Or B.
Stephen Garcia has not had a good off-season and has not risen to the challenge set forth to him by
Spurrier. This could have been a message to Garcia to say, “straighten up or lose your job” which
seemed to register given Garcia’s second half performance against East Carolina last week.
Georgia certainly isn’t coming off a great performance in the Georgia Dome against Boise State.
However, South Carolina isn’t coming off an impressive performance either. They kicked off their season
with the Pirates of East Carolina and were matched in a tough game up until halftime. The
Gamecocks ended up cruising to a victory with a huge third quarter but no team in the SEC should
struggle so mightily during a half against a team like East Carolina. The summation of their game let
the Gamecock faithful know that they, much like Georgia, have things to work on. Neither team will
be riding into the game next Saturday with much confidence after week one.
The game is in Athens and one might expect the Bulldawg Nation to show up early and give
the Dawgs a distinct home-field advantage against the eastern division foes. And they should. A loss
to a perennial BCS powerhouse in a non-conference game should not be anything to hang your
head about. Fans need to realize that a loss to Boise State does not spell doom for the Dawgs hopes
in 2011. Should the Dawgs beat South Carolina this Saturday, they will immediately be in the
driver’s seat of the SEC East and will put themselves in a great position to re-visit The Dome
in December to redeem their disappointing defeat last week.