Expat Jack is Back: UGA Carolina
All Hail (the unedited, uncensored) Expat Jack:
Carcocks’ “asses on the bench”, no match for deep Dawgs
I am not sure why this SCarcock team is so scary to me, but as the Dawgs approach the soft mid-section of their schedule, one can only tremble at the thought of these gritty SCarcocks “pinning and pulling” between the hedges, “hitting the hole faster” and faster, and then finally the whole of the SCarcocks coming completely unzipped on Saturday in Athens.
Per Kirby Smart, these SCarcocks have a lot more big guys than they’ve had in the past, they’re healthy coming off a bye week, and they’re considered by industry leaders to have the 21st best team talent composite. For frame of reference, that means that South Carolina is the most talented team remaining on Clemson’s schedule. But, far and away, the scariest thing about these SCarcocks is that they are fundamentally motivated by “asses on the bench”.
Apparently, Muschamp says it all the time: “ass on the bench” is his best motivator for his team. It’s Muschamp’s version of saying competition makes you better. Muschamp introduced the slogan in the context of the improved play by senior running back Rico Dowdle, and pointed to the fact that the SCarcocks have developed some depth there. The slogan speaks volumes about the difference in the level of roster talent between Georgia and South Carolina. For the SCarcocks, the ones are the starters, and the twos are “asses on the bench”.
In contrast, a lot of the players that are enjoying a starting role this year for the Dawgs were on the bench last year, because there was NFL caliber talent in front of them. The difference in talent, up and down the depth chart for Georgia, is minimal. If a starter goes down—more often than not—it’s simply a matter of “the next man up”, and it can actually create an opportunity for another talented player to get some reps on the field without any noticeable difference in caliber of play.
When local beat writers ask Kirby Smart what has been the big difference for a player who has had a long road to the starting position, he often starts hesitantly with, “Well, I don’t want to say that he has worked hard this year, because he worked hard last year, and the year before”. At Georgia, it’s assumed that every player that is in competition for a position is talented. So, with few exceptions, it’s more about the most complete player—that has honed his craft on the fundamentals of his position—than about talent.
In contrast, South Carolina, like Tennessee, is still very much a work in progress in terms of building their program, and yearn to have, not only the deep talented roster that Georgia has, but also to develop the type of signature personnel that represents an extension of their coaching staff onto the field. This week Muschamp has drawn our attention to the two key positions that Kirby Smart has put his unique signature on.
The first one is obvious: the quarterback. For the first time, the like minded Muschamp has articulated a reasonable explanation for why Kirby Smart inexplicably chose Jake Fromm over the super-talented and explosive touchdown machine, called Justin Fields. With Jake Fromm, the coaching staff extends itself onto the field with as much control as possible. Jake is a system guy, that can run a system and schemes with machine like precision. Both Tennessee and South Carolina have freshman quarterbacks that they would love to shape into Jake Fromm modules.
The second position that Muschamp pointed to is more revealing: safety. Muschamp claims that the two players that jumped out at him on the defensive side of the ball were J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte. One of the key terms that Muschamp talked about in terms of skill was “communication”. South Carolina’s defensive lineman Aaron Sterling explained this week that the safety position is able to see a global vision of the field, and initiates the communication to the rest of the defense on which play to run.
The one player that Smart has consistently given a hard time, and openly challenged publicly is Richard LeCounte. He too represents the development of a player where Kirby Smart’s coaching staff extends onto the field. If it’s true what the like minded Will Muschamp has observed, then this 2019 Bulldog team is truly the first iteration of a fully mature version of a Kirby Smart product.