Insider Tidbits Heading Into The Georgia Game

Insider Tidbits Heading Into The Georgia Game

<b>The Mood:</b> - The coaches and players are very very relaxed. There is a quiet sense of importance, but no sense of panic or worry from this team. The coaches seemed almost happy on Wednesday, doing a lot of genuine smiling and laughing. One thing we did notice, Coach Holtz seems to be absorbing all of the pressure and in turn this seems to be taking all the pressure off of his captains and men. Much more, read on ...

Marcus Lawrence's back injury is a lingering one. He's been fighting it for awhile. The trainers have tried everything including electrode therapy. It still flares up from time to time but Lawrence, even though he is in great pain when it happens, somehow overcomes and plays on.

Ricardo Hurley is very confident that he is ready to go. He is being doubly careful as he continues to ice the ankle down at the end of each day - but he says it feels good. More importantly, Ricardo is chomping at the bit to hit something other that one of his own teammates. Lookout Dawgs - Ricardo is coming.

Randy Jackson assured us that his blood pressure problem is not a serious one and that he is ready to go right now. He is looking forward to the game and ready to contribute.

You have not yet seen the full Chris Cosh defense. You will this Saturday down in Georgia and it is a thing of beauty.

This problem with Dondrial Pinkins and his wide receivers .... the problem of not catching the ball. Your cookie cutter people are going to write about it being all about the wide receivers dropping passes. Some will even look for other non-educated reasons ... things to write about. We expect to see everyone talking about "the laces" thing again anytime now. You know, you've heard us discussing it for several years now - since Dondrial threw all of those interceptions his freshman year in the Spring Game. (Dondrial prefers to not have the laces across the inside of his throwing hand.)

Now ... the real story for our Gamecock Insiders.

The problem is as you will now note, that more often than not Dondrial is failing to hit some of his receivers "in the zone." That's the imaginary box between a receiver's chin and thighs ... about three feet high and five feet wide on most of these receivers. Anything thrown within that zone should be caught.

The problem is that many of Dondrial's balls are being thrown out of the zone.

What does this mean? It's an accuracy problem.

Since 99% of the passes being thrown from our playbook are timing routes and patterns, that means that the ball is already in the air by the time the receiver turns to acquire the ball and then make the necessary adjustments to make the catch. That 'zone' we are talking about is ample target space to deliver the ball - preferably in front of the receiver. Yet most receivers are able to make the catch even if the ball is behind them as long as the ball is within that zone of about 15 square feet.

What Dondrial appears to be doing is delivering the ball either too high out of the zone or too low out of the zone about 60% of the time. Worse yet he is not consistent with either. Meaning, one time he will deliver the ball too high and the next time on the same play he will deliver it too low. By the time a receiver turns to make the play and acquire the ball to make the catch if he guesses wrong then it is too late to adjust. Therefore a player that turns expecting to see a lowly thrown ball from Dondrial and thus compensates for such slightly, will be taken completely out of the target area when Dondrial instead throws high.

What we are trying to say is that if Dondrial was at least consistently throwing either high or low out of the zone box then even then more passes would be caught. As it is these wide receivers are about 70% of the time being frustrated by not knowing where the heck Dondrial is going to deliver the ball.

Here's the good part.

Dondrial was worked with a lot this week on just that problem ... and he seemed to grasp the importance of delivering the ball within the zone to give these receivers a chance to catch the ball. So, what seems like a subtle problem with the wide receivers ... if you will go back and watch the tape is actually a problem with where Dondrial has been placing the football - it's an accuracy problem. If Dondrial does not improve his accuracy then it will become a quarterback problem.

On to other Insider tidbits.

Expect Matthew Thomas to have a big game if he gets half a chance. He has seemed unusually focused and intense all week.

Do not expect the Gamecock offense to double-team Pollack on every play. That is simply not feasible ... it would leave someone else open to wreak havoc behind our offensive line. Instead watch for the misdirection stuff, watch for the quick hitting plays that negate Pollack's ability to get to the ball in time. Watch for the Gamecocks to challenge him head on when they do decide to double-team. The USC offensive line, coupled with tight ends Hart Turner and Brian Brownlee, are more than capable of overcoming the strengths of the Georgia defensive line if things go as planned. No trickery involved. The Gamecock coaches feel that they can line it up and play smash-mouth football with anyone. They respect Pollack, but not one Gamecock player fears him in the least. This may prove to be one of Pollack's least productive games for just that reason.

On a slightly different note. We have been asked a lot lately, "why not more recruiting updates?"

Here's why.

You may see one or two other Gamecock sites rushing to put up recruiting updates every day. For the most part it is a waste of time right now. There are several reasons so please allow us to explain.

Prospects right now are beginning to narrow their choices. They are walking a fine line between certain teams. Some have offers and are narrowing their teams down - while others are waiting for offers and concentrating on improving their games enough to be noticed.

September is a horrible month for recruiting updates. We've seen some of the updates some of the other sites are doing. Most are updates on players that are either already committed, or on players that South Carolina is really not even considering. There have even been updates by one site that actually led to an adverse reaction where that prospect was concerned. You just do not ask a high school player to come in and write a diary for one particular site or group of fans. That is not kosher in the recruiting circles. It is almost as bad as featuring a heavy Clemson lean that eventually signed with Clemson ... featuring the kid as the centerfold in a Gamecock magazine. It is patently laughable to all serious recruitnics.

Our serious recruiting updates have always begun on October 1st. That is when it all turns impactful and readable for our recruiting people and the prospects. Anything before that is really a waste of time as Sidney Rice has illustrated to us so far. Now, that's not to say Sidney Rice did anything wrong - to the contrary. We believe Sidney Rice will still be a Gamecock. But, he committed, then decommitted, then overreacted, then apologized (sort of), then basically stayed decommitted, then is wide open again. You know what? Everything before October 1 has been a waste of time with Sidney and if anything, all of these recruiting people calling Sidney right now have probably only served to aggravate him to this point. We let the coaches do their jobs.

We also let the Clemson sites shoot themselves in the foot. You'll be hearing more about that later.

The bottom line is that with the exception of Tremelle Kline committing the weekend of the UAB game, nothing else of significance should be happening between now and October 1. Therefore, we are bringing you what really matters - the insider stuff about the current team, the players and coaches. If there is breaking news about recruiting we will bring that to you too. We will also continue to bring you the national updates on the players we are recruiting - those are the best ones this time of year anyway because they come from unbiased professional recruiting people like Jamie Newberg and Tom Culpepper. BTW, do you know when Jamie's "Countdown To Signing Day" begins again? The Answer: October 1, 2003.

If you have any questions you would like to see answered by our Insiders, you know that all you need to do is email: Insider@GamecockSports.com and we will get an answer for you.

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