Poor offensive and defensive effort dooms Gamecocks vs. Gators

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Will Muschamp reacts after South Carolina loss to Florida. Credit:TheState

Will Muschamp reacts after South Carolina loss to Florida. Credit:TheState

The Gamecocks performance today was eerily similar to the Mississippi State game back in September, when the Gamecocks were whipped on both lines of scrimmage and appeared to lack the effort they have played with lately. In what was clearly a revenge game for Will Muschamp and Kurt Roper, I expected a little more aggressiveness on both sides of the ball, and by aggressiveness, I don’t mean winning the toss and taking the ball. You had nothing to lose, why not take some chances?

The offense looked lost, which isn’t out of the ordinary for a bunch of freshman playing on the road for the first time against a NFL front and secondary. The offensive line continues to be this teams achilles heel. I’ve made it clear I’m not a fan of Shawn Elliott and continue to feel the same way. Elliott was the only coaching holdover from the Spurrier debacle and quite frankly, Elliott’s lines have underachieved for several years after being hyped during the preseason as a team strength. Is it all coaching? I doubt it, a lack of talent is also an issue, but isn’t that Elliott’s fault as well? The offensive line needed to step up and create some opportunities for the offense to have a chance and it didn’t happen. Florida was able to get home rushing three or four and caused havoc in the backfield all day. The running game, well, there wasn’t one.

Good lord, Kurt Roper didn’t have his best day calling plays. The offense seemed to have two plays, gap dives and screens, neither of which worked. The Gators stuffed the run and embarrassed the Gamecock offensive line all day, while the Gator secondary and team speed proved to be too much for the Gamecock receivers and tight ends to block one-on-one on the perimeter. I was a little surprised Roper didn’t take some shots down field and attack the middle of the field more, especially with two starting linebackers out for the Gators.

https://twitter.com/RubrChickens/status/797503700482883584

Jake Bentley played decent, especially given the circumstances he faced as a true freshman on the road for the first time. Sure, he made some mistakes and seemed baffled at times, but  he was under pressure a lot and it got the better of him. The lack of a running game hurt Bentley and the receivers had several huge drops in the game.

Special teams continue to be anything but ‘special’ for the Gamecocks.

We’ve got to get faster as a team…It’s really hurting us on special teams. Antonio’s a really good player, especially with the ball in his hands. But that’s a major issue for our football team, we’ve got to improve our team speed.

Someone should be beaten over the head for not telling Kelly to punt the ball out of bounds, instead, the Gamecocks continued to kick the ball to Callaway. Hell, on punt returns, the Gators tried to out kick their coverage twice and the Gamecocks still managed to find a way to lose yardage.

This team isn’t good enough to overcome poor field position, which they faced the entire first half.

The defense continues to find magic in the red zone, but at the end of the day, the defense struggled. This game could and probably should have been 40-0 at the half. The defensive line was non-existent against the run and did nothing to make Appleby uncomfortable. To make matters worse, it was basically against the entire second or third team Gator offensive line depleted by injuries.

The tackling was atrocious by the linebackers and secondary and the lack team speed was evident. The linebackers and secondary took horrible angles and appeared to be running in the Florida sand. Jamarcus King has played very well this season as has Lammon’s, when he’s not ejected for targeting, but neither seemed focused or prepared to play yesterday.

The only thing we learned from this game is that the Gamecocks have to get better on both lines of scrimmage to compete with the better teams in the SEC, right now, they just don’t have the talent to compete with the more physical teams in the conference.

Hopefully, the Gamecocks will return to Columbia, sharpen their spurs and prepare for a Western Carolina team that would love nothing more than to upset the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Saturday afternoon. South Carolina needs this one to become bowl eligible, something the Gamecock faithful should be proud of given the situation Will Muschamp took over from Spurrier.

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