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You saw what we all saw: A thorough defeat of the Georgia Bulldogs at the hands of the South Carolina Gamecocks. Here are a few thoughts in the aftermath.
It's a complete shock to the system. Yes, we were all feeling pretty good about the state of our program as we rolled through a mediocre schedule. And then, depression set in. Let's roll up our sleeves and get this over with.
1. Would this game have been different if Bacarri Rambo intercepts a ball he should have on South Carolina's first drive? Instead of Georgia's ball going the other way (and he had room to run), Carolina gets about a 50-yard completion that early in the game that set them up for a lightning-fast score thus setting the tone for the rest of the night. The worst possible scenario for us. A disaster.
2. You cannot get behind on the road in the SEC. I don't care who you play. Whenever you get down to a dominant defense whatever offensive game-plan you have drawn up pretty much becomes obsolete. Our game was on the brink with 5:37 left in the first quarter. After Murray's tipped interception, Carolina drove again and went up 14-0. Our defense showed no ability to stop Connor Shaw. Another disaster. Maybe we can hold them to 14 and recover...
3. ...then, we punted and 70 yards later it was essentially game over at 21-0. And there was still about a minute left in the 1st quarter. Disaster? No, Armageddon.
4. Greg McGarity, please spend the dollars and hire a top-flight special teams coach. If Richt doesn't like the idea, use your authority to override him on this one. Special Teams are vital and we've been treating this aspect of our game as an after-thought for years now. There is something fundamentally wrong with our ability to consistently defend a punt return. These are game changing plays that must be addressed with a new philosophy.
5. Forget LSU's vaunted defensive front. South Carolina has the best defensive front wall in the Conference.
6. The good news about Clowney is that we only have to face him one more season. Now the bad news: We still have to face him one more season. Lattimore will probably make the jump to the NFL, too. Kid should go ahead and get paid.
7. I have absolutely nothing positive to post about our offense. It wasn't merely physically whipped in all phases, but it was psychologically whipped. I'm not going to start picking out individual players because it was a group effort, but you could see it in the faces of our players, the body language.
8. How does an entire team come out as flat as we did in a game as colossal as this one? Where is the disconnect? This is not a recent event. We're 0-for-Insert Big Game Here since the Bush Administration. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
9. If I never see a sideline screen pass again, it'll be too soon. The closest we came to completing it was a pick-6.
10. Credit Grantham for making some adjustments after Carolina ran wild in the first quarter. The defense began to contain Shaw, but the die had already been cast by then.
11. That's about all I have to say about the game. It was a worse showing than the '08 Blackout. At least that team had a 2nd-half pulse. Last night's effort was seemingly DOA as soon as the bus pulled up to the stadium. This is what disturbs me the most, I think.
12. I sure would like to begin a season at full strength with no stupid off-field problems which lead to suspensions and experience the whole team concept from the first game of the season onwards. This affects our team - whether it's the first game or the sixth game. Am I asking too much?
13. Where do we go from here? We can still have a very good season but quit dreaming of anything beyond a possible berth in the SEC Championship game. We've got an open week before Kentucky, then Florida. We all need the bye week, methinks...
14. I have never liked Brent Musberger, and don't really have a thought about Kirk Herbstreit. I literally had to turn the volume down for 3/4 of the game just to quell my growing nausea. However, I did listen to Herbstreit's scathing words about our performance and I cannot disagree. Georgia didn't show up. I have to believe we are better than what we showed last night.
15. Tech lost and, as I write this, the sun is rising. To better days...
That's all I have. I'm sure there's more to add and that where you, dear reader, come in. Feel free to vent away but try to keep it clean. Congratulations to Steve Spurrier and South Carolina. You imposed your will last night, were the better team and deserved your 35-7 victory.