Marty Simpsons big-play breakdown
In this special feature, former Gamecock football player Marty Simpson takes a look at some of the big plays from the South Carolina-Florida football game.
Travian Robertson 8-Yard Sack
My first observation of this play is how silly the Florida route is. Look at how they are running a 5-yard out with one of their wide receivers. I am not a big-time college coach, but my thought is with nine seconds left in the game you might want to get farther downfield.
Watch Robertson's effective bull rush. He doesn't even really get the sack as much as he pushes his linemen backwards 5 yards into the quarterback. I also want to point out the cool celebration Travian has on the end of the play. It's always important for a defensive lineman to have a cool celebration after a sack, especially when it wins the ballgame right then. The main reason being that ESPN will show this clip 40 times later in the day, so it makes the Gamecocks look that much better that he did a cool macho celebration followed by a great overhead shot of the stadium going crazy!
Deep Ball to Ace Sanders
The main thing that jumps out at me on this play is the amount of time that Connor Shaw had to get this ball thrown. So often this season, whenever the Gamecocks try to throw the deep ball, Shaw is forced to run around after his initial drop.
Often I have heard Gamecock fans complainix`ng about bad officiating this season, so I want to point some terrible officiating in this clip. Take a look at our offensive right guard. He gets away with a bear hug on this play. I want to take some time to explain exactly why I think he got away with it.
The referee that is going to call this stands behind the quarterback. Since the defensive lineman defeated the right guard to his inside, the right guard simply extended his arms forward. He used his brute strength to keep the defender inside the framework of his own body which means the referee never saw the defender getting strangled. All the referee saw from behind was the right guard's jersey. That's what coaches mean when they say, "Linemen can hold as long as it stays within the framework of the body." It's not so much that the referee "doesn't call it" as much as on these cases the referee "doesn't see it." This is one of those times.
This is also when the offensive lineman can get away with grabbing shoulder pads or jerseys. Last week, versus Arkansas, the holding got called on the Gamecocks because the defender jumped to hold his hands up and this allowed the referee "to see" the jersey being grabbed.
Now let's talk about the throw and catch. Steve Spurrier said that Sanders came over to him and told him that he could run by his deep defender. I love the fact that Coach Spurrier would trust his player's opinion enough to go to it later in the game. I also love that Sanders made the great catch after telling his coach he could beat his man. Overall, in my opinion this was the best throw and catch of the season so far. It is by far the most important one!
Melvin Ingram's 12-Yard Sack
The Gamecocks actually locked up in man-to-man here and brought both linebackers. You can know it's man-to-man because a defender follows the motioning defender across the formation. The defensive right linebacker had to abort his blitz as he was also responsible for his running back if that running back went out for a route. This was a nice on-the-fly adjustment made by the linebacker.
Ingram torpedoed under the block and blindsided the quarterback. The coolest thing on this play was Ingram planted the quarterback directly into the 50-yard-line's painted Gamecock logo.
Also, it's worth noting, that no angle during the live game showed this to be a fumble, but my gut was that it really was a fumble. Then I saw the on-the-field replay that the "Steve Spurrier Show" shot and it VERY CLEARLY was a fumble. Which makes the play made by Jadeveon Clowney extra savvy. I love watching him realize he has both knees on the ground so he sort of bats the ball before picking it up. He then stands up and picks the ball up to run with it. This would have been a touchdown had the officials made the correct call. It's just too bad that the replay officials don't have access to the Gamecock sideline cameras.
Insider's Note -- Anyone miss the Guts. Glory. Ram? The first 10 or 20 times I watched the videos, I was seeing some new commercial. Then during the night while I was writing the Ram spot came back, almost like it knew that I missed it. Strange.
Connor Shaw 1-Yard TD Run
The key to a successful quarterback sneak is a good solid push by the offensive line without any penetration. Also, I always like when the quarterback takes a small step back or at least hesitates before rushing to the line. I don't know what it is, but whenever the quarterback rushes into the back of the center's butt pad it just seems to not work as well. Shaw does a great job of taking a step backwards and then picking a crease to attack. The left side of the Gamecocks' offensive line created a great push on this particular play as well.
Jadeveon Clowney Causes Fumble
Credit Ellis Johnson's scheme for this fumble caused by Clowney. He clearly freed up Clowney from any "bootleg quarterback" responsibility due to the Florida quarterback's inability to run with the football. Therefore, Clowney could sprint this play down from behind and make an explosive tackle.
This is another example of how "these aren't my father's Gamecocks." I say that whenever I see an example of true athletic ability that differentiates itself from Gamecock teams in the past. Clowney, of course, is always making plays that do this, but that's not what I am referring to on this particular play. I am talking about the fact that four Gamecock players were in a position to fall on this fumble. That is totally different from Gamecock teams in the past. In the good old days, when the Cocks were losing close games to the Gators, this fumble would have happened and then one Gamecock defender would have dove for it as an offensive lineman fell on it keeping Florida's drive alive. Not these Gamecocks. Notice how "Garnet" the pile on the ball is.
One special note on this play is the fan shot after it's over. I like how perfectly coordinated the high five by the fans is with the camera cut. Also, the crazy fan on the right side clearly is superstitious. I have a feeling he wore that necklace in 2010 when the Gamecocks beat Alabama. That is the only reasonable explanation for wearing something that bangs against your face so violently every time the Gamecocks make a great play.
These fans have that certain look. That look like the camera man spotted them way earlier in the game and had his shot ready for them when the Gamecocks did something great. I can hear the booth director for the television broadcast as the fumble recovery is signaled in favor of the Cocks. "Alright, who's got the best shot?" And this cameraman is saying, "ME! ME! ME!"
Connor Shaw 10-Yard Run for TD
A great block was made on this play by right tackle Mike Matulis. He helped inside before stalemating the rushing defensive end. The left tackle, Rokevious Watkins, also made a great block. Both of these blocks were good pass-protection blocks, but these type of blocks still enable Shaw to tuck it and take off.
The route looks like they were trying to throw a jump ball to Jeffery. It just never panned all the way out before Shaw decided to run with it.
Also, if you watch the Gamecocks' right guard, he ends up with a pancake block (a block in which he ends up on top of the defender). However, the Gamecocks got a little lucky that this didn't get called a holding penalty. I don't think it actually was a holding penalty this time, though. Sometimes the defender, when he knows he's beaten, will pull the offensive linemen on top of him hoping to draw the holding penalty. It works sometimes, but this time it didn't.
20-Yard Brandon Wilds Toss-Sweep
The only thing I don't like about this play is the predictability of it. The Gamecocks really like to run the toss-sweep out of a tight-end, wing-back set. I assume they feel like it creates the most leverage for the down blocks (blocks toward the center) to create enough space to get the pulling linemen out and around. I agree with that sentiment, but I don't agree with running the same plays from the same formations the way the Gamecocks tend to do.
I love Bruce Ellington in every way. However, on this play he simply doesn't give his best effort. If he had hustled more to cut off his defender, it may have opened up another running lane for a sharp cutback. This is unlike the wide receivers of the Gamecocks as usually they are great downfield blockers. This surprises me, but I felt the need to point it out.
And, oh yeah, great run by Wilds!
Gilmore Causes Fumble
This play gives me great hope that the Gamecocks can stop Clemson. Al Groh of Georgia Tech gave Clemson fits with many iterations of cornerback blitzes. It makes me very happy to know that we are willing to bring a cornerback on a blitz. Gilmore is such a great athlete that he is going to pose problems to the lineman trying to block him. He does a great job of causing the fumble and the other Gamecocks do a great job of falling on the ball. (The offense, however, does nothing afterward. Wait, I'll take that back. They didn't do nothing, they went backwards 15 yards.)
Long 47-Yard Run by Demps
As good a player as Antonio Allen is, he makes a poor play on this one play. Frankly, he is an All-American. He proved how important he was to the Gamecocks' defense last week while being sidelined with an injury. I would argue he is the Gamecocks' version of the Steelers' Polamalo. However, he simply uses poor technique on this play.
When a defender blitzes from the outside, he must blow the block up to the inside. The reason is the quickness with which the defender gets into the backfield makes the inside cut happen before the pursuing defenders can get there to help out. Allen needs to attack his blocker keeping his INSIDE shoulder free, or at least blowing up the block to the inside, creating a pile the running back has to run around to the outside.
Gilmore makes a fantastic play to keep hustling and catch the fastest player on the field.
From coach to comedian: Marty Simpson is a former Academic All-Conference player for USC who scored the Gamecocks' first 6 points in the SEC. During 8 years as a high school varsity coach, Simpson led his team to the state finals and saw one player advance to set an NFL rookie record. Simpson now divides his time between his family, running a multimedia company named Blue-Eyed Panda and traveling the country performing stand-up comedy for clubs, churches, and corporations.
Check out Marty's comedian website here.
Check out Marty's comedian website here.
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