Best of times, worst of times!
Big Orange Report 10-24-11
This article was originally published in blog:
Best of times, worst of times!
By Warner Agee
Emotional Roller Coaster
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. For one half of football last Saturday in Tuscaloosa, the traditional rivalry was in full bloom. It was a bare knuckles brawl, an old time, rock ‘em, sock ‘em Tennessee-Alabama slugfest. Four field goals, two for each team, made it a two quarter game. Unfortunately for the young Volunteers, the second half can be filed under the heading of “Forget as Soon as Possible.”
Once again, the lack of any substantial pass rush exposed the secondary and allowed the Tide to abandon their cherished run game and go airborne. Giving credit where credit is due, Bama quarterback A.J. McCarron shook off his first half jitters and delivered his best Tyler Bray impersonation in the final two stanzas.
Shedding the Shirt
A funny thing happened to freshman quarterback Justin Worley on the way to a red-shirt season. He was inserted for the final series of the game, thus signaling an end to a potential red-shirt year. Obviously, coaches Dooley and Chaney didn’t have much choice. Matt Simms atrocious performances in two consecutive games signaled that UT would have to call on a true freshman for the second consecutive autumn. Worley, who was the National Gatorade Player of the Year in 2010, threw for almost 14,000 yards and 157 touchdowns during his incredible high school career.
Vol linebackers vs. Brandon Wilds—Both the South Carolina freshman tailback and the team’s fans seem very cocky (pun intended) that this player can run over the Vols as if he were Lattimore reincarnated. It’s freshman vs. freshman here as AJ Johnson and Curt Maggitt need to hit this guy in the mouth the first couple of times he gets the ball. It is a lead pipe cinch that if senior Austin Johnson gets a shot at him that the Volunteers’ middle linebacker will try to knock him into the next area code.
JaWuan James and Dallas Thomas vs. Devin Taylor and Jadeveon Clowney--- These two outstanding SC defensive ends have created mucho havoc for opposing offenses this season. It’s man on man here and if the two Big Orange tackles can slow these guys down, then the offense will have a much better percentage for success on Saturday. The two Carolina ends have combined for seven sacks this year and compliment the best inside pass rusher in the SEC, tackle Melvin Ingram.
Justin Wilcox vs. Conner Shaw—It’s time to roll the dice and use some imagination against a young quarterback still in the early stages of his career as a starter. With Garcia gone, Spurrier will have to rise or fall with Shaw in this game. Coverage disguises in the secondary and blitzes from the boundary side might rattle the Gamecock signal caller. Nickel back Eric Gordon and strong safety Brent Brewer have shown some ability to rush off the edge on passing downs. If someway, somehow the Vol defense can get the visitors in long down and distance situations, then maybe it’s time to throw everything in the playbook at Shaw.
Mychal Rivera vs. Antonio Allen—The Vol tight end might be a primary target for Justin Worley and be matched against the premiere playmaker on the Gamecock defense. Allen leads his team in tackles with 60, has three interceptions and has recovered three fumbles this season. Allen, the Spur (rover), on a very good defense, must be accounted for on every snap, especially when he is not assigned coverage responsibilities.
Point of Attack—Everyone knows that LSU and Alabama have two of the premier defenses in the nation this season. Unfortunately for Tennessee, the front seven for South Carolina is just a notch below the defenses for the Tigers and the Tide. The sophomore dominated Vol blocking front has shown a bit more aggression and muscle the last two weeks and if the Big Orange is to have any chance to win on Saturday, then that young blocking front will have to at least get a stalemate against the big, strong and athletic Gamecocks.
Secret Weapon—Perhaps this might be the game that Rajion Neal takes a short swing pass and promenades to touchdown territory. Obviously the Vol offense needs some kind of big play spark and the speedy Neal is certainly a candidate to make something good happen