Observations on the first half of South Carolina/NC State

The likelihood of beating South Carolina has been the topic of much discussion around this website for the last few days.  Quite simply put, beating South Carolina has the potential to mean the difference between a mediocre season and a good season.

So what have we seen tonight as college football kicks off for the season on ESPN?

First and foremost... who's the guy in the visor coaching this smashmouth running football team?  Cause it sure as hell ain't the Steve Spurrier I'm used to seeing.  SC is cramming the ball down the throats of NCst.

Problems for UK that I'm seeing so far:

1)  Power running game for USC is very frightening.  UK has traditionally had tackling problems and the Gamecocks are running with impunity.

2) Garcia isn't throwing the ball very often, and when he does he's not shooting far beyond the line of scrimmage.  This will neutralize one big advantage we can have with Lindley and crew.

3)  Special teams is a bitch.  South Carolina's average starting field position for this first half of the season is the 47 yard line.

4) South Carolina has a strong defensive front seven.  They have gotten to the NCst quarterbacks with ease.  They closed the half out with a solid blindsind sack on the Wolfpack QB and the running backs haven't had much success either

Potential opportunities I've seen:

1)  USC has problems closing the deal.  Despite starting on their own 47 on average, they only put 7 points on the board.

2)  Pass protection.  Garcia has fallen victim to a couple of coverage sacks that have allowed the NCst line some sacks they shouldn't have had, but even so the NCst line has been in the backfield quite a bit.  (When SC wasn't running.)  We can sack this guy given the chance.

3) Defensive secondary.  The SC secondary has been beat on at least two to three plays deep, but the NCst QB's couldn't capitalize... this is potentially something we can exploit, <em>if</em> Hartline has improved as much as we want to think he has.

Its early in the game, but I'm already seeing some surprising things.  We'll know more on Saturday after the Cats finish their game.

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