Tidbits - September 12 2019

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



CALM AFTER....

  I’m now glad we had to print the paper early last week before the USC-UNC game.
  Oh, I’m still mad the Gamecocks lost to a then lower tier ACC team, but I no longer have the desire to kill.
  On last Saturday, I called Will Muschamp and Jake Bentley losers on my Facebook status, and although I didn’t say it on social media, I had decided to finally give up on Carolina  football forever.
  I had deduced the Gamecocks should change their fight song to “A Heartache Tonight,” and I no longer wanted to play. I’d had as much fun as I could stand from this feathered crowd in my long life.
  But, a week has passed, and we now have found out that supposed lousy Tar Heel team is pretty good. They followed up their close win over Carolina, with a come from behind win over a good Miami team.
  Last Saturday, I didn’t want Bentley to ever set foot on the field again as the Gamecock quarterback, then the word came down that Jake broke his foot in the game, and could possibly miss the rest of the season.
  I felt bad, not because my opinion of Bentley as a quarterback had changed, but because Jake is a fine young man. He’s just not a fine Power 5 quarterback.
  The injury forced Muschamp to do something he obviously was not willing to do, use his two freshmen quarterbacks.
  Ryan Hilinski and Dakereon Joyner were outstanding against Charleston Southern. I know, you have to look at the opponent, but the two freshmen QBs led Carolina to the most offensive yards in school history. Jake would have had a decent game against CSU, but I bet there would be no records. There would not have been 72 points. His games against similar opponents, like Akron, tell the tale of the stats - 28-0 in first half, no points in the second.
  Freshmen quarterbacks are the talk of the new season. The Gamecocks were introduced to a good one by the Tar Heels.
  I don’t understand quarterback ratings, but a stat came out after the Tar Heels 24-20 win over the Gamecocks. UNC’s freshman, Sam Howell, had a quarterback rating of 348.7 in the fourth quarter.. Carolina’s fourth year starting quarterback Jake Bentley had a rating of -8.2.
  That’s been Jake. He hit less than 50 percent of his passes in the embarrassing 28-0 bowl loss to Virginia, and returned to Charlotte two weeks ago with a less than sterling performance against UNC, including overthrowing the game winning touchdown pass, but throwing two perfect passes to the Tar Heels in the fourth quarter.
  I have been a supporter of Muschamp, even after the Virginia debacle. Remember, Spurrier’s earlier teams embarrassed fans in bowls.
  But after the uninspiring performance by the Gamecocks against the Tar Hells, I fell off the bandwagon.
  This was supposed to be Will’s best team, but they couldn’t beat a Tar Heel team that finished 2-9 last year.
  Will’s mentor Mack Brown is in his second stint of coaching UNC.
  He recalled in his first year of coaching the Tar Heels bringing his team to Columbia, and Joe Morrison’s Gamecock squad wore them out.
  After the game, when the coaches met at the 50, Joe told Mack, “You don’t have a very good team.”
  I wonder what Mack said to Will two weeks ago? “I outcoached you, Little Buddy!”
  That’s the problem in Muschamp’s tenure. He’s something like 1-11 against ranked teams. He doesn’t outcoach anybody.
  But, part of that could be due to the play of his four year starter at quarterback. As Jake played, so did the rest of the team.
  Now, fans will get a chance to see if Ryan Hilinski is a winner on the field.
  We already know he and his family are winners off the field. The story about his quarterback brother’s suicide and his family’s effort to make sure this can be prevented in the future has been well publicized.
  In his first start, Ryan completed his first 12 passes. Sure, it was against Charleston Southern, but I liked the fact he has “eyes.”
  On one play Saturday, he looked off three covered receivers and found the open man. He did that the whole time he played.
  The entire offense played with enthusiasm. Yes, it was Charleston Southern, but remember The Citadel?
  Joyner, also, showed what he can do at quarterback, and all four running backs were outstanding.
Yes, it was Charleston Southern, but the Gamecocks did not play down to the level of the opposition as they are prone to do, and I credit Hilinski and Joyner with providing the needed spark.
  We will find out more about the two young men, when Alabama comes to town.
  Like with Mack Brown at Texas, Will won a national championship ring while on the staff of Nick Saban at LSU.
  He knows Nick well and his teams well.
  Clemson showed the world how to beat Alabama in the national championship game last. Unfortunately, you need Clemson players to pull it off.
  I would love to see the Gamecocks make a contest with the Tide, but with Will’s teams you never know if they will be fired up.
  Maybe, if Hilinski can complete a few passes for first downs early, there will be a spark. Carolina is the last SEC East team to beat Alabama. That took place in Columbia in 2010. So, miracles do happen.....
  Many fans, yours truly included, started talking about firing Muschamp after the poor performance against UNC.
  Then, we found out his buyout would be $18 million if he got fired this year. That “ain’t” happening,
  Someone said, “We could start a GoFundMe page.”
  Two other coaches, Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee and Willie Taggert at Florida State may go before Will. Both of their teams are off to disappointing starts.
  As I was writing this, I was watching the Cleveland-Tennessee NFL game. The Browns had been the talk of the pre-season. With all the players added, the team that was 0-16 just a couple of seasons ago had the promise of making the play-offs.
  Final score, Tennessee 43 - Cleveland 13. Baker Mayfield threw three fourth quarter interceptions. Sound familiar.
  Cleveland fans had that Gamecock look on their faces.....

POINTS

  I don’t know when I’ve seen so many high scoring football games, as I’ve seen in the early going this season.
  There have been many games with scores in the 60’s, including Ridge Spring-Monetta’s 68-27 win over Whitmire Friday.
Against 2A B&L and Saluda in the first two games, the Trojans had managed just six points. Getting back to their class 1A, they showed what they’ve got against the Wolverines.
  In their last two games, Saluda scored 41 and 49 points. In  both games, the Tigers could have scored many more points, but Coach Stewart Young and his staff chose to take their foot off the gas and let their young players get some experience.
  I’ve been covering the Tigers for this newspaper since 1977, and there were many years when we’d be happy if the Tigers could score 20 points in a game, much less 40.
  The last five seasons have been remarkable if you like seeing your team score a lot of points! Who doesn’t?
  Carolina’s 72 points Saturday was the second most in school history. I witnessed the game when the most points were scored.
  George Rogers led the Gamecocks to a 73-0 win over Wichita State at Williams Brice. S.C. State’s legendary coach Willie Jefferies was the coach of the Shockers then. Wichita State eventually dropped football.
 Coastal Carolina only scored 12 points Saturday, but the Chanticleers got their first win over a Power 5 school when they beat Kansas 12-7.
  Les Miles came out of forced retirement to take the Kansas job. I bet he wished he’d stayed retired.
  Most prognosticators said Clemson only had two challenging teams on its schedule, Texas A&M and Syracuse.
  The Tigers had no trouble with the Aggies, and Syracuses lost to Maryland by, you guessesd it, 63-20!

SPIDER

  I posted this on Facebook Friday night, and am sharing this for those not on social media:
“I just got home from the game, and unbeknownst to me, a garden spider had built a web across the front of my house and I walked right through it.
  As my whirling dervish arms were swatting at the web, I discovered the giant spider was dangling near my left ear. I slung that sucker into next week, left handed!
  Thank God, I remembered to turn on the porch lights before I left, or things could have gotten real ugly in the dark.......”
  Fights with Mother Nature’s creatures will get your adrenaline flowing.
  That spider had been trying to build that trap for me for days, and in the daylight I was able to avoid the web.
  The dark is a different story.....