In this special feature, former Gamecock football player Marty Simpson takes a look at some of the big plays from the USC-UAB game.
Swearinger fumble recovery for a TD
This is one of the best plays of the season so far. It has wonderful nuances from a football perspective, but even better things to break down from a crazy-fan-in-the-stands point of view too!
First of all, let's take a look at Swearinger's original alignment. He is in the game at one of the outside linebacker positions. The reason I know this is because there are still four secondary players lined up in the backfield playing a normal coverage behind this blitz. What this means is Lorenzo Ward just wanted to have his great athlete get to blitz every now and then, which makes sense, especially in hindsight! It also means Ward is confident enough in the other secondary players to put them back there while blitzing Swearinger which bodes well for the future.
The most encouraging thing about this video to me is something which could easily go unnoticed. It's the play of Shaq Wilson at middle linebacker. This play is a screen pass which is going to be set up to the right side of the offense. If you notice, Wilson has already sniffed out the screen and is fighting under the linemen's block to be in a position to tackle the running back had UAB gotten this play off.
One thing I didn't like about this play was how Swearinger didn't take the ball to the referee, but rather dropped it behind him as he crossed the plain. It's too reminiscent of Desean Jackson's play for the Eagles a few years ago!
Byrd does the same thing on his long touchdown. I hope this gets corrected by the coaches this week and we start to see all players take that ball to the referee like Lattimore does.
And now to my favorite part of this video: the Gamecock fans!
The video of the fans is so quick some of these subtleties may go unnoticed without pausing the video in just the right places, but luckily, I have done it for you.
This first still shot from the crowd shots is illustrating some of the vital to-do list items for all women at a Gamecock home game, as well as pointing out an important piece of information for men as well.
I imagine the to-do list for most women Gamecock fans includes two of the following things:
1. Buy a cute, comfortable, black dress for the home games.
2. Shave armpits thoroughly in case Carolina scores in dramatic fashion and the television camera pans by me while I go crazy.
As you can see, these two ladies can check off both things.
It's not really on any man's to-do list for the game, because men don't really have to-do lists for the game, but this guy accomplished something every man is looking to do at the game, and that is bring a date to the game who is willing to make out if the Gamecocks do something extraordinary. It's also noteworthy that his date did indeed cross off the other to-do list items noted above.
Something else men should pay attention to is the game, and not the couples making out during the touchdowns! I will give the guy on the right in the picture below credit for taking only a tiny little glance, but his glance was caught on film and now will live in infamy on the internet forever.
(The above picture shows us another girl who crossed the cute, black dress and arm-pit shaving off her to-do list also.)
As the camera pans across the couple making out, it becomes obvious to the dude that his antics were possibly caught on camera. He seems extremely pleased with himself, as well he should be, but his date has a momentary fleeting thought that I assume reads like this, "Hmmm, I wonder if I should be embarrassed that I was just making out hard with this dude on regional cable television...?"
Then she clearly delivers her answer in the next image below.
She doesn't seem worried about it all. GO COCKS!
Then the camera immediately cuts to a terrifying little kid. I think this is a future middle linebacker for the Gamecocks.
And right after the scary kid posturing for the camera we are given more evidence that all the girls in the stands got the memo about shaving their pits and getting a cute, black, dress.
After a few frames of this girl showing off her perfect pits and new dress, we are then shown a couple of epic fails. The two girls in the row behind this girl obviously got the memo about the cute, black, dress but must have not felt confident with their pits. And the most epic of fails is the dude wearing the aqua shirt. Seriously? Who goes to the Gamecock game wearing an aqua shirt? The gray undershirt would be more appropriate. He should have just worn the t-shirt!
To cap off this camera pan of the Gamecock audience we are welcomed by the presence of the "Crazy Gamecock Lady" running by the camera with the most perfect timing imaginable. She also got the memo about the cute, black, dress and shaved pits, so good for her.
All in all, this is probably one of my all-time favorite plays to break down. It has elements of the football that remind me of how the Gamecocks used to be. In the old days, USC was the team malfunctioning the way UAB did on this play. But these Gamecocks are not the Gamecocks of old. These Gamecocks are fun to watch. Which was made obvious by all the ladies in the cute, black dresses with the perfect pits. (As well as one scary kid and one dude in an aqua shirt.)
Note: If anyone feels mistreated by this particular breakdown, (for example, you are one of the people referenced in the photos,) then please contact my website directly at www.MartySimpson.com and I will award you free tickets to the next show I perform at in the Columbia area, as well as make fun of you again at that show.
Byrd 94-yard TD pass from Thompson
This was a beautiful play. A perfectly thrown ball to a lightning-fast Byrd. He caught it with such ease he looked like a seasoned professional. Even while he was running with it he stole a glance at the sideline that communicated, "You guys should throw to me more often," and I assume they will!
I love the shot of the team pastor on the sideline going crazy. I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure the big guy with the black shirt with both hands up is Adrian Depres. To all the folks out there who think the coach in the Upstate has cornered the market on Christianity, you can usually find this guy praying with the players at the 50-yard line after the games.
I love how Ace Sanders is in the end zone ready to do the jump-hip-bump move that everyone does these days. Sanders was thinking this entire play, "I'm gonna get down there and do the hip-bump because Byrd is the only kid I can knock down when I do it!"
The lady in the stands that the camera cuts to didn't get the memo about getting a cute, black, dress, but she did have a nice custom made t-shirt on so we'll let her slide. Also, it's clear she is wearing a wedding band and looks like she may have brought her kids to the game to go crazy with her, so she gets an A+ in my book.
I don't want to be the voice of negativity, but I did want to point one glaringly obvious fact about this play. No. 46 on the defensive line beats our right tackle to the inside and is in Dylan Thompson's face when he throws this ball. I can't help but assume that LSU or Alabama's linemen would have disrupted this play. I am not trying to insult UAB's player, I am just pointing out that Alabama's defensive line might be a little faster, stronger and taller. I also assume that Alabama's and LSU's cornerback won't just fall down when he decides he's burnt on a play either.
Again, I'm not trying to be negative about this fantastic play, I am just being realistic that we might not want to start anticipating this as the norm in SEC play, but rather, enjoy it while we can.
Mike Davis 3-yard TD run
This play is a great run by Mike Davis. It shows how strong and powerful he can be as he drives through defenders to score. However, this play doesn't cast a very good light on Davis' field vision, as I truly believe this play was designed to bounce outside.
I am basing this on the center and left guard actually pulling to the outside left and sealing off the corner for him. However, he chooses to bull his way through the area vacated by the pulling linemen.
He does score, so I won't question his instincts. They proved to be correct in this instance. But again, I can't help but think the Alabama or LSU defensive front will be much more likely to have stopped him on a play like this.
I would have rather seen him bounce this ball to the outside where it is clearly designed to go, but overall I was VERY impressed with Mike Davis' ability to hit the whole with quickness and power.
And I was very impressed with his earlier 50-yard scamper which XOS Digital evidently didn't think was worth giving us to break down.
Note: Marty will break down more big plays later this week.
From coach to comedian: Marty Simpson is a former Academic All-Conference player who scored the Gamecocks' first six points in the SEC. During eight 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 Blue-Eyed Panda, Co-Hosting The Corey Miller Show on 560 The Team, and traveling the country as a stand-up comedian.
Check out Marty's comedian website here.
Check out Marty's comedian website here.