How @MizzFootball offense will attack @GamecockFB

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mizz rushing 2019

Missouri has a terrific rushing attack. They like to smash a team down the field like they did to West Virginia and Southeast Missouri State. Missouri’s first line of attack is the good old smashmouth attack, ramming it down your throat running the ball. 

The table here shows the rushing figures for the first three games of 2019. You can see where that trend is heading.

Last season against us, Missouri rushed for 286 yards (6.22 yards per carry). Moreover, if you check their 2018 SEC rushing statistics, South Carolina was not the only SEC team to get crushed by the Missouri running game. They also posted over 200 yards against Florida, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee—all Missouri victories. Kentucky and Alabama held Missouri to under 100 yards rushing—all Missouri losses.

The Missouri offensive line last year was excellent. It returns three of its 2018 starting offensive linemen this year. Replacing two linemen in 2019, the Missouri coaches are searching for a consistent lineup. Last year Missouri’s line was very stable. This year, Borom and White started at Wyoming. They lost their starting jobs after the loss. Cook and Lawrence started the last two games. Odom stated it is possible Borom and White may reclaim their starting jobs this week.

As you can see from the table, their line has substantial girth, similar to the size of the North Carolina line. GS is my abbreviation for career games started.

mizz ol

The Gamecocks have a different front seven this season. But North Carolina rushed for 238 yards in the first game (4.6 yards per rush). I expect Missouri will test the Gamecocks defensive front seven. They want very much to establish a ground attack. 

Missouri has some play makers in the skill positions but they ain’t Alabama.

From reviewing the receiving statistics this season, the quarterback, Kelly Bryant, distributes the ball evenly among the wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs.

mizz offensive playmakers

The love to throw swing passes to running back Tyler Badie, but Larry Roundtree is also a regular Bryant target. The tight end, Albert O, is an athletic big target. He does a good job of boxing out safeties with his big body. Missouri has hit several big vertical passes this season. I expect they mix in some inside slant patterns (like Alabama) to stress our defensive safeties. With our track record this season (and last), opponents will attack the safeties until they prove they can make plays.

The defensive game plan is obvious. Stuff the Missouri running attack. Execute a controlled rush to keep Bryant in the pocket and force him to make third and long passes. Wyoming’s defense created a lot of havoc pass rushing. If we can recreate that, we could disrupt Bryant and maybe make some defensive plays in the secondary. Our entire defense needs to step up. This will be a huge challenge on the road in the SEC. 

A @MizzouFootball Player Guarantees “dub, for sure”. Others allege the 2018 @GamecockFB victory was trash.

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No doubt. The Gamecocks were fortunate to beat Missouri 37-35.  Parker White kicked a 33-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in the game. Missouri out-gained the Gamecocks in total yardage 490 to 377. On the other hand, the Gamecocks won the turnover battle 2-1, including a beautiful second-half pick-six interception by Sherrod Greene against Missouri’s future NFL quarterback, Drew Lock.

There was a big rain storm that interrupted the game. It was after and during that storm that the Gamecocks thundered back and won. But when Barry Odom was asked on Tuesday what he learned from that close loss, I didn’t expect him to say this: “Bring an umbrella and don’t trust the weather forecast.”

Certainly, his quarterback (Lock) seemed rattled. But I don’t believe it was the rain. It was the fans and the Gamecock players, who fed off the energy. It was astonishing that the storm failed to more significantly dampen the ardor of the Gamecock football fans. Some left, driven away by the deluge.  The remainder were inspired. Witnesses in attendance say that the post rain-delay crowd was loud as hell. Odom’s Lock and Missouri melted. Odom’s remark about the rain this week was unusual because he blatantly discarded the usual pre-game coach-speak doctrine of being deferentially complimentary to an opponent. He should have complimented our team and our fans. Instead . . . .

Coach Odom, what did you learn about that loss last year? 

Bring an umbrella

WTF, Odom. That was, what, disrespect?

sterkThis was not the first time Missouri coaches and administrators have disrespected Gamecock fans. Remember February 2018. The Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk was so astonished about the passion of our Gamecock women’s basketball fans that he, and the losing Missouri women’s basketball players, slandered our entire fan base, falsely accusing our fans of spitting on players and calling Missouri’s all-white basketball team the N word. SEC COMMISSIONER @GREGSANKEY LATEST VICTIM OF @MIZZOUATHLETICS UNPROFESSIONAL AD 

Obviously, the loser Jim Sterk’s unfounded and false claim was ridiculous. South Carolina has a black basketball coach and all the South Carolina players were African American. Video evidence showed Missouri’s players leaving the coliseum without incident. Police at the coliseum saw nothing to corroborate the sore losers’ allegation. The SEC fined Missouri $50,000 for its AD’s false statements about our fans. Sterk was later forced to publicly apologize to Dawn Staley and pay Staley’s charity an additional $50,000 to settle her defamation suit. Sterk still has not apologized to our fans, and apparently, he has no intention of doing so.

Odom’s bring an umbrella comment reflects Missouri’s institutional disrespect for Coach Muschamp’s program, our 2019 football team, and the South Carolina fans. That disrespect is reflected by the comments from several of Odom’s veteran Missouri football players. They consider the 2018 Gamecock victory a gift or just trash.

mizzou st louis dispatch Knox quote

mizzou st louis dispatch Floyd quote

Mizzou primed to play South Carolina in what has been a wild SEC series

Here is how Missouri’s media describe the 2019 Gamecock football season:

South Carolina’s only victory has come against FCS Charleston Southern, a week after a loss to North Carolina. Through three weeks, Muschamp’s defense ranks among the worst in the SEC — No. 13 in scoring defense and pass defense — and has allowed the league’s most scrimmage plays of 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards.

Looking ahead: South Carolina at Mizzou

Still not convinced that Missouri considers their overall 2-5 SEC  football record against us a fluke. Check out this Twitter post by the Missouri Athletic Department. It has an embedded video of defensive back Richaud Floyd guaranteeing that Missouri would get the dub “for sure”.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Video Address:

WM_The-Outlaw-Josey-Wales-an-army-of-one-poster_scaled-600x877[1] I have a feeling a reckoning is coming for these red legs. 

 

The GOAT: @StephenGarcia

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On April 9, 2013, a baby goat was born on our homestead. As soon as I saw his face, my mind went back to the October 9, 2010, post game press conference with Stephen Garcia. The Gamecocks had just trounced number one Alabama before an ecstatic home crowd. Garcia, a warrior quarterback on and off the field, never took off his eye-black for the post-game interviews. That is why Garcia is Garcia. 

Black Death Returns — 2019

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The 1987 Gamecock football team was one of the most exciting teams I’ve ever seen. The offense was an innovative “run and shoot” which featured unstoppable receivers like number 2, Sterling Sharpe.

The real signature of the 1987 team was the D. The defensive coordinator was Joe Lee Dunn who brought an all-out blitzing scheme. The defense was so violent and angry that opposing players became visibly intimidated. 

The regular season culminated in a 20-7 night game victory over a ranked Clemson team. Fans chanted R O D N E Y — R O D N E Y  as the defense obliterated Clemson’s O line. The Defense was all over poor Williams. When Brad Edwards intercepted him and ran it into the end zone in the fourth quarter, the place descended into absolute bedlam. 

The Gamecock fans loved that ferocious Black Death defense all season. The stadium was extremely loud. The Carolina band played Louie Louie and we sang along and danced.

Louie Louie, oh no, said we gotta go
Aye-yi-yi-yi, I
Said Louie Louie, oh baby, said we gotta go

Back in those days, the student section was located in the upper east deck. The east side swayed up down to the beat of Louie Louie, rising and falling several feet.

The State newspaper reporters were horrified. They tried to get Joe Morrison to condemn the students for making the stadium upper deck sway. But instead JoMo said, “If it ain’t swayin’, the Cocks ain’t playin.”  If one was not intoxicated, I imagine the upper deck swaying up and down could be a bit unnerving. But USC engineers claimed that the undulating east upper deck was totally safe. They told us it was designed to sway.

Nevertheless, after 1987, the Administration demanded the band stop playing Louie Louie and moved the students down into the endzone.

The 2019 Gamecocks will have a lot to live up to in these uniforms. I hope that the band brings back Louie Louie. But what I really hope is that Coach Muschamp brings us a Black Death D.

The @TarHeelFootball Defensive Gameplan–shut down @Edwards_Bryan4

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Bill Belichick’s defensive game plan is simple: take away what the other team does best.

In the TarHeel’s press conferences yesterday, both the Head Coach and DC (Mack Brown and Jay Bateman) described Bryan Edwards (6’3″, 215) as the Gamecocks biggest offensive weapon. Both suggested the TarHeels defense will  eliminate that threat.

In early January 2019, Gamecocks fans were extra nervous before the NFL draft declaration deadline. There was genuine concern and angst that wide receiver Edwards might declare. We collectively breathed a sigh of relief when he chose to stay for his senior season. 

Edwards has 2,083 career receiving yards as a Gamecock.  He ranks 9th in receiving yardage. With a mediocre season, Edwards will pass former Gamecock greats Sterling Sharpe, Robert Brooks, Sydney Rice, and others, to etch his name into the Gamecocks history books as third in all time receiving yardage. With a great season—more than 1,000 yards receiving—Edwards will eclipse Alshon Jeffrey, who tops the South Carolina list with 3,042 career receiving yards. 

In view of Edward’s career, and the void left by Debo, it isn’t surprising the TarHeels coaches are promising to shut down Edwards. This will just be the first of many opposing DCs who will scheme to take away Jake Bentley’s favorite targets. It’s vintage Bellichek. 

In 2018, Bentley looked for three primary receivers, Samuel, Edwards, and Smith, who caught 62, 55, and 45 passes respectively.  That’s an even distribution among the top three targets. This year, Bentley will target Edwards and Shi Smith obviously. After those two though, there are no Gamecocks receivers with a proven and established receiving history. This table shows the the 2018 passing data for current receivers and it demonstrates a massive drop off in number of receptions after Edwards and Shi Smith. 

2018 wr data

The TarHeel’s plan to take Edwards away from the Gamecocks begs the question: who among the 2019 offensive players will step up. @Vannj03 and @Treesmif are obvious candidates. Maybe it will be freshman @XavierLegette, a healthy @Dreak_1, or possibly converted quarterback @UrichJay. 

Who will be a 2019 offensive play maker? Who is the new Gamecock star to watch?

Personally, I would love to see this guy emerge:

dak

My Prediction for the @TarHeelFootball Offensive Game Plan for the #Gamecocks

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Everyone is aware that the North Carolina Tarheels re-hired their old coach Mack Brown. Brown immediately retained excellent coordinators including Offensive Coordinator (OC) Phil Longo, formerly of Ole Miss. In last year’s game against the Rebels, Longo’s offense scored 44 points and accumulated 616 yards against the 2018 Gamecocks’ defense. 

Philosophically, Longo employs the air raid spread style of offense. This is the high octane spread derived from Mike Leach or Hal Mumme offensive schemes. The receivers are taught to take what the defense gives them——to seek green grass.  Quarterbacks and receivers read, react, and adjust to the defense on the fly. 

Most assume the TarHeel air raid offense will be pass happy. However, Brown and Longo (quoted below) downplay expectations for 60-70 pass-attempt offense.

Brown has said the “Air Raid” description might be “overused” because he wants the Tar Heels to have a power running component to go with the ability to throw the ball downfield. And that’s where the trio of returning backs come in.

Brown, Tar Heels open camp with clear strength: running back

The philosophy is Air Raid – we throw the ball that way – but there’s going to be a downhill power run element to the offense that we think is very important

Rushing Attack in Play for Phil Longo’s Air Raid 247Rushing Attack in Play for Phil Longo’s Air Raid 247Rushing Attack in Play for Phil Longo’s Air Raid 247

The TarHeels announced that Sam Howell, a true freshman, is now QB1 for the TarHeels. The receivers are learning Longo’s new schemes and lack significant playing experience. Likewise, the first team offensive line lacks experience. Look at this first team offensive lineman chart. 

UNC OL

The lack of experience on the OL must be a major concern for the Tarheel coaches. It is much more difficult to teach young offensive linemen to pass block. That would require communication and understanding perhaps beyond the capabilities of these young TarHeel lineman at this particular time, especially considering the multiple Gamecock defense. Pass blocking mistakes are inevitable.

The line’s inexperience coupled with inexperience at critical offensive position of quarterback and receiver suggest that undertaking a passing attack against the Gamecock defense would be a much riskier strategy than telling these big boys up front to cut loose and run bock. If Brown and Longo start pitching it all over the place on Saturday, interceptions and sacks seem probable.

Brown and Longo know that the strength of the TarHeel offense is the running backs. They have three excellent backs in Antonio Williams (5’11”, 210), an Ohio State transfer, speedy Michael Carter (5-9, 195), and Javonte Williams (5’10”, 205). The dual-threat, freshman quarterback Sam Howell (6’0″, 225) is build more like a running back than a prototypical NFL QB.

They know the 2018 Gamecocks defense yielded 195.3 yards per game rushing. In 2018, the Gamecocks ranked 95th overall in FCS against the rush.

There is no question the Tarheels will pass a good bit under Longo. However, I look for them to exploit their offensive strength, running back, and minimize risk. I would be very surprised if they exceed 30 pass attempts. They will test the Gamecocks with that big ole offensive line.

Positionless D: The @TarHeelsFootball Defensive Coordinator @CoachBateman

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Fans are in for an unpleasant awakening if they believe the Gamecocks offense will roll against the TarHeels. Head Coach Mack Brown hired one of the absolute best defensive coordinators (DC) in the country in Jay Bateman. Bateman, 46, has been a DC since he was 23. This post looks at his credentials and what makes Bateman special.

Jay Bateman stunned the college football world in September when his game plan helped Army take then No. 5 Oklahoma to overtime, despite an overwhelming disadvantage in personnel. But to those in the know, Bateman’s prowess as a defensive coordinator was old news. Last offseason a parade of coaches traveled up the Hudson River to study the Black Knights’ tactics.

The Search to Save NFL Defenses

The 2019 TarHeels operate a modern positionless defense where defenders might attack the offense from anywhere. The Bateman defensive philosophy evens the playing field when there is a talent disparity between opponents. Bateman counters the talent gap by using coverage disguise, unleashing unexpected rushers and “baby doll” defenders that confuse opposing offense lineman. His goal is to influence linemen to block people who are not rushing, and not block those that actually are coming. Bateman’s positionless defense scheme blurs the traditional definition of defensive ends and safeties. In Bateman’s world, the defensive end is the safety while the nose tackle is probably a baby doll linebacker. Here’s Bateman on players with positional flexibility:

People talk about hybrids all the time. That’s a great term, but to me everybody on our defense has to be a hybrid.

The Method Behind Jay Bateman’s Defensive Madness

Here is a detailed clip from Inside Carolina that illustrate his schemes:

If you liked that clip, I’ve created a UNC Bateman playlist with the other videos that Inside Carolina published on their YouTube channel. Thank you, @InsideCarolina.

Playlist of the Bateman Defense Schemes.