Five Keys For The Dawgs To Continue Their Success Against The Gamecocks

Wes HoltzclawCorrespondent ISeptember 11, 2009

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks reacts to a play against the Louisiana State University Tigers at Tiger Stadium September 22, 2007 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Tigers defeated the Gamecocks 28-16.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

For the first time in Mark Richt's tenure at the University of Georgia, the Dawgs will play the University of South Carolina with 0-1 record.

Georgia will look to rebound after being outplayed by the No. 5 Oklahoma State Cowboys and start their SEC mark at 1-0.

The Gamecocks will look to go 2-0 (1-0 in the SEC), if they can get out of Athens with a "W".

The 'ol ball coach was not too happy with the performance his team gave in their victory of NC State two Thursdays ago.

In that game, the Gamecock offense struggled to move the ball against a Wolfpack defense that plays near the bottom of the ACC.

Their only scoring drive started after a fumble recovery on NC State's 12 yard line. You could tell that Stephen Garcia looked very uncomfortable running Spurrier's offense.

With that said, I have five keys the Dawgs will to need to accomplish in order to get back on track with a win Saturday night.

1) Quarterback play

Joe Cox suffered from the flu last week, but that is no excuse for his so-so day in Stillwater. Mike Bobo was no help with his play-calling and really hung Cox out to dry.

Cox will look to prove this week that he deserves to be the quarterback under center for the Dawgs. The Gamecocks secondary is young and athletic, but will Cox be able to sit back and pick them apart?


2) Play-Calling

As I said before, Bobo was no help to the Georgia offense after the first quarter. I believe he abandoned the run way too early and put Cox in a position to fail.

Bobo has got to get back to running a smash-mouth style of football with some play-action passing mixed in for the Dawgs to have any kind of success against the Gamecocks.


3) Offensive Line Play

The offensive line was supposed to be the strength of the team heading into 2009. With the loss of Trinton Sturdivant to another torn ACL, the Dawgs will have to go back to the starting lineup at the beginning of last season.

The line played well, pushing the OSU defensive line around when we ran the ball, averaging around four yards a carry. In pass protection, it was a different story.

Will Norwood and Co. be able to pressure Cox? The offensive line must protect Cox so that he has the time to make the right decisions.


4) Defensive Pressure

I have no complaints with the defense. They played their hearts out for four quarters and was let down by the offense.

The Dawgs were able to hold a team that averaged well over 400 yards of offense and over 40 points a game a year ago, to only 307 yards and 24 points.

For the Dawgs to have any success they have to put pressure on Garcia. He looked like a middle school kid playing in the NFL when he was pressured by the Wolfpack.

You could tell he was rattled by any type of pressure and he did not know what to do with the football.

5) Play Loose

One thing the Dawgs cannot do is come out and play tight against the Gamecocks. This series is a tough series with six out of the last eight decided by seven or fewer points.

The Dawgs have to come out and run the ball, play solid defense and try not to do everything without making a mistake.

I'm not saying that they need to make mistakes, they just need to play with the confidence that they know what they are doing.


If the Dawgs can hold true to these five keys they should be headed to Arkansas next week 1-1 (1-0 in the SEC). If not they might as well let all the freshman play and gain valuable experience for next season.

My prediction: Dawgs 20 Gamecocks 10.