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The Autopsy

September 4, 2009
  • State’s defensive front is good enough to keep the Pack in a lot of games this year. When they needed it, they were able to get good pressure on Stephen Garcia in obvious passing downs, limiting his effectiveness.
  • Toney Baker responded from a disastrous first-quarter fumble to show that he’s worthy of being State’s top back. Jamelle Eugene had a sub-par effort, and James Washington showed signs of promise and lots of passion, but not much else.

Ok, so that’s about it for the positives.

  • Execution. Too many dropped passes, too many blown coverages. State never looked crisp at any point in the game offensively, and rarely defensively.
  • Russell Wilson is human. Not only human, but perhaps a step slower than the human he once was. South Carolina’s much larger defenders were chasing him down from behind — something that didn’t happen last season. Maybe now we can move past all this Russell Wilson worship and start treating him — and the rest of the offense — as one unit and not just The Russell Wilson Show.
  • Mike Archer’s zone coverage still has way too many gaping holes underneath at or just beyond the first down marker. That led to multiple easy, drive-extending completions at the sticks that kept State’s defense winded and the game played the majority of the time on State’s half of the field. Give up the stuff five yards short of the marker if you must, but there’s no reason not to pressure the routes right at the sticks, especially in third-and-medium/long situations.
  • Our offensive line still is a work in progress. Six sacks to Wilson and a negligible running attack. We’ll have to see what the status is on Jake Vermiglio, but seeing him on the sidelines in his t-shirt sporting crutches was NOT a good sign. South Carolina’s new offensive line looks to be the real deal by comparison. SC had a definite advantage in the trenches.
  • Where’s the passion? The intensity? I know teams take on the personality of their head coach, but this was one occasion where State needed to step out of the mold of their stoic coach and come out fired up and ready to hit someone. Coach O’Brien has to find a way to either win without passion or find a way to to fire his team up before they take the field. It took three good quarters for the team to wake up and realize that they were in a dogfight; by that time it was too late.

Bottom line, I don’t think EITHER fanbase has much to crow about following this game. Both fanbases felt like their team would come out scoring points in bunches, and neither team’s offenses delivered. State did well to negate the Gamecocks at times when their backs were against the wall, but if State expects to win any meaningful games playing the majority of it on the wrong side of the 50 yardline, it could be a long year.

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