5 Matchups to Watch: UNC @ USC
I plan to do one of these every week this season. If you guys hate it though I will stop :p
Jadeveon Clowney LE vs. James Hurst LT:
James Hurst is a former 5 star recruit. He has NFL size at 6’7 305 and many draft experts project him to get drafted within the first two rounds of the NFL draft. Clowney going up against an NFL caliber LT week 1 will give us an early glimpse of how his Heisman campaign will play out. If he can dominate Hurst early and often then he probably will dominate most other LTs he faces. Sacks won’t be plentiful though unless the Gamecocks lead by two TDs or more forcing deep passes and dropbacks since Renner releases the ball so quickly.
USC LBs vs. UNC RBs:
The biggest question mark all offseason centered on how the Gamecocks’ young LB core would fair this season with little starting experience and lots of nagging injuries. The Tarheels have a nice one-two punch with AJ Blue and Romar Morris. AJ is a talented power back that many Heels fans seem high on going into the season. Romar Morris has 4.4 speed and seems like a homerun hitter. If the LB core can keep them from hitting the second level consistently, then that should alleviate most of the LB questions for now. It will also give everyone a nice preview for when they take on Marshall and Gurley in Athens the week after. I predict we will hold their entire team to under 100 yards rushing.
Victor Hampton CB vs. Quinshad Davis WR
Most people seem really high on Victor Hampton despite his checkered history. There’s no denying the talent, and he appears more focused than in years past. This game matches him up against an extremely talented true sophomore receiver in Quinshad Davis. Davis is a former 4 star recruit who started as a true freshman last year. UNC may not get much love in the football world, but lately they’ve been consistently pumping out NFL WRs like Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate, and Greg Little. Davis stands 6’4, so the much smaller Hampton will need to rely on knocking Davis off his routes to mitigate potential jump ball situations. He will also need to play the ball in the air very well. It will be interesting to see how Hampton handles the matchup. If he struggles, expect Legree to step in.
Chaz Sutton RE vs. Jon Heck RT
Sutton showed flashes last year in minimal playing time with 5 sacks and 7 TFL. This year as the de facto starter at RE, many predict he will benefit from the extra attention paid to Clowney. This week 1 matchup pits him against a freshman RT making his first start. If he struggles to consistently get pressure and make plays this will look very bad going forward when he faces against more seasoned SEC RTs. Odds are he does well this game and finishes with at least one sack if not more. The real test won’t come until the UGA game.
D-Line vs. the No-Huddle
Early indications suggest we will see a very up-tempo no-huddle offense the majority of the game. This will show how well conditioned the D-Line is with them needing to keep lining up play after play with little rest. If they get gassed and start to struggle, look for UGA to try and use it the week after to keep the Gamecocks’ biggest defensive strength tired. Without consistent pressure, the burden will fall on the LBs and DBs who, while good, aren’t otherworldly good like the D-Line. I don't foresee their no-huddle generating enough first downs in a row to really hamper the D-Line.
EDIT: I know this is D-line heavy, but they're the biggest key to this game. Next game will be more about Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds, and I also plan to discuss Shaq Roland as well. Our offense won't struggle to put up points. We will only struggle to stop them on offense if anything.
Also someone asked why I didn't cover offense. I am copy pasting my explanation:
They run a 4-2-5 with a small D-line that has one returning starter who managed only 4 sacks last season. Also when you take away their 2 gimme shutouts against Elon and Idaho, they gave up 30 per game. For this reason, I didn't feel covering offense was a key matchup because we won't have any trouble scoring.
Last edited by SuperCockMaster; 08-26-2013 at 02:37 PM.