Thursday, September 11, 2014

From opening kick 'til the end of the first quarter

As this morning's earlier post alludes to, this game in Columbia tends to be won in the fourth quarter, 2012 notwithstanding. But a lot of attention is being paid to Georgia's confidence, its mindset at Williams-Brice in particular.

Take it away Mr. Emerson:

Is there a chance Georgia comes into Williams-Brice overconfident after how poorly South Carolina looked in the opening game?

It’s always a possibility, but I think the bye week may have helped. It gave the coaches two weeks to show game film from the Clemson game and isolate on the mistakes that were made. Hutson Mason has had two weeks to hear that he’s not a good quarterback, and it obviously bothers him. It also makes the Clemson game seem further away, which may help stem the overconfidence factor.
Then again, it could certainly work the other way: Two weeks to hear how great you are, with ESPN putting Georgia in the playoff, Todd Gurley getting the Heisman hype, etc. This is one of those things you can’t say for sure until after the game.
I agree that it turns out this bye week may be a blessing in disguise. I expect Georgia will travel to Columbia focused on playing good, fundamental football. And I expect that the coaches have already broken them down from the high of that opening win. The quotes from the players and coaches suggest that this game is being put in the right frame.
“I’ve got a feeling this game could get a little bloody,” coach Mark Richt said. 
“We’re both going to come out swinging,” Bailey said. “We’re not going to back down and they’re not going to back down.”
Quarterback Hutson Mason said he expects a “big, physical, downhill game. May the toughest man win so to speak.” 
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo expects the Gamecocks, already 0-1 in the SEC, to play hard.
“We’ve got to match their intensity,” he said. 
But I don't think we'll need wait until the end of the game to find out if that was all just talk. We'll know at some point in the first quarter if Georgia came in overconfident.