COLUMBIA — They didn’t show off everything they had, because for once against an undermanned opponent everything went according to plan. South Carolina got ahead by a lot early and was able to dictate the game’s pace, get the subs some work and easily win.
That set up The Game next week, one that can …
Know what? You’ll read about it plenty over the next few days.
Wrapping up USC-Coastal:
1. As bad as I wanna be
The game started and folks were thinking, “This is fast?” No, it wasn’t. Because it didn’t have to be.
The Gamecocks saved their lightning-fast, The-Bandit’s-Trans Am-tempo offense for when they needed it, like at the end of the half when they had 59 seconds and one timeout to go 76 yards.
“If we go tempo, and they go three-and-out, then they’re going to run 10 minutes off the clock, that’s the biggest reason we stayed conservative in the tempo,” Jake Bentley said.
Coastal’s game plan was a reason the Gamecocks stayed off it. USC’s success with the run was a reason they stayed off it. Not wanting to show everything including the kitchen sink this week had a reason.
Whatever the reasons, they worked.
2. You get a carry! You get a carry!
Playing four or more running backs — and keeping all of them happy — seems a task akin to making orange and purple match. But it worked, Rico Dowdle and Ty’Son Williams handling most of the load, but A.J. Turner got in for two carries and even Slade Carroll toted it four times for 46 yards.
That will get more difficult. USC may want to adopt the “Lattimore Playbook” next week against Georgia if starter Dowdle is carving through silver britches time after time.
3. Like a record, baby
The secondary is thin and getting thinner, after Nick Harvey somehow decided targeting in the second half would be a good idea (he’s out the first half next week). Keisean Nixon didn’t look comfortable at one corner spot, and while the Gamecocks were able to rotate in a lot of backups, they’re going to be a man down for at least 30 minutes next week.
The secondary played pretty well, but Coastal only threw 18 passes. While Georgia will no doubt run the ball, it’s down to three scholarship tailbacks for the first half next week, and Jake Fromm will exploit the sidelines like he did last year.
4. Dart to Hart
Raise your hand if you knew Bailey Hart had been switched to receiver (present company’s hands are down). That’s either a case of Hart wanting to move somewhere with a remote shot of playing (quarterback wasn’t it) or the Gamecocks knowing that while their top six receivers are really, really good, after that gets real thin real quick.
5. The leg(s)
Parker White was perfect on PATs and on his kickoff tries, and the Gamecocks, citing a need to lessen his load, turned to Will Tommie for the final three kickoffs. For a week, no problems at all on kicking.
But, of course, there were no field goals attempted.
6. Old yellers
The Gamecocks were slapped with nine penalties for 99 yards. Much more than that and they approach early-1990s Miami Hurricanes country.
Will Muschamp called it intolerable and out of character. He was right on both. USC only had 62 penalties all of last year.
7. Bryson Allen-Williams is back
Muschamp mentioned several times in camp how much the loss of Bryson Allen-Williams hurt USC last year. The edge rush, the knowledge, the ability to audible … just the presence, wasn't there.
BAW returned Saturday and had five tackles, three for loss, a sack and a quarterback hurry.