The opening week of the college football season was not good for the Georgia Bulldogs or the South Caroliina Gamecocks. That being said, South Carolina came out of the weekend in a lot better shape as they got a win and now sport a 1-0 record coming into Athens this weekend. Most of you out there know that I am a Georgia guy so when it comes to the Dawgs I have certain biases. For that reason I like to venture out and get the views of other people when it comes to Georgia games. This week we visited with the South Carolina Gamecocks blog Leftover Hot Dog to talk South Carolina football. We took a look back this weekend at the East Carolina game and we also talked about this upcoming weekend in Athens. Take a look and share your thoughts below in the comments section or shoot us an e-mail at collegefootballzealot at gmail.com:


After the East Carolina game, what are your biggest concerns right now with the Gamecocks?

Happy to see the Gamecocks escape with a win versus ECU as that was one ugly game.  With a little help from the Pirates, the Gamecocks got their first win and can move on to SEC play now.  The biggest concerns going forward are USC’s pass defense and the punting game.

USC allowed ECU’s Dominique Davis to throw for 260 yards and four touchdowns.  It could have been worse but ECU decided to turn it over on other possessions.  The Gamecocks had depth issues coming into the game in the secondary but those that played did not step up.  For USC to win against Georgia or anyone else in the SEC for that matter, they have to play better in the secondary.

The other area is punting.  It is so inconsistent and that it is a liability in potential big games in my view.  In big games, field position can mean everything and the last thing the Gamecocks need is a ‘shankster’ for a punter that cannot be relied upon.  Don’t want to lose that way.  Let’s hope this area gets fixed very soon.


Which players pleasantly surprised you with their first game performance?

The Gamecocks were led on offense by wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who caught five passes for 92 yards, while Marcus Lattimore rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries. USC’s Stephen Garcia outshined starter Connor Shaw as Garcia finished 7-of-15 passing for 110 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 56 yards and two scores on five carries.

Defensively, USC’s Antonio Allen had a career night. Allen led the team with 16 tackles, forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles, and scored a touchdown.  Another bright spot on the Carolina defense was Jadeveon Clowney, who finished the game with seven tackles, including a half tackle for loss, which was good for third on the team.


What concerns you the most about the Georgia game?

The biggest thing that concerns me is that the Bulldogs are going to be playing inspired football at home in a very big game that has SEC East implications.  The ‘Dawgs will be playing to save Mark Richt as his seat is on fire.  The Gamecocks have to match this intensity.

The player that concerns me is their quarterback Aaron Murray.  Aaron Murray is the best quarterback in the SEC and USC will need to be playing their best to win what is the most important game in the SEC East in 2011.

Last fall, Murray put together one of the finest seasons by a quarterback in Georgia’s history: 209 of 342 for 3,049 yards and 24 scores, eight interceptions (only eight) and another four scores on the ground. He has the right tools to lead the UGA offense and USC must rise to the occasion by playing tight defense in the secondary.


Where do you see South Carolina having specific advantages against Georgia going into Athens this Saturday?

Going to say Marcus Lattimore and his running abilities.  The UGA defense gave up 129 yards to Boise State.  USC will be looking to do just that and then some.  Lattimore is the key to the USC offense as his performances opens up the passing attack plus when he has success the Gamecocks offense is keeping the defense off the field.  Lattimore just needs to do what he did in 2010 to UGA again in 2011.


I'm not going to ask you for a prediction but tell me what South Carolina needs to do to win this game...

For USC to win at UGA, the Gamecocks must match the level of play and control the tempo.  USC has to pound it out on the ground, move the chains and keep UGA’s offense off the field.  On top of that Stephen Garcia needs to play mistake free football.