View from the Sideline: A very bad day in Athens

PHOTO: PAUL COLLINS

PHOTO: PAUL COLLINS

If you’ve already read enough about how the Gamecocks got absolutely pummeled by SEC rival Georgia Saturday night, you should stop reading now.

For those of you who happened to turn their TVs off somewhere in the middle of the third quarter to go do something more entertaining like water your long-neglected flowers or get an early jump on your taxes—and just so happened to shut out all forms of media until today—well, keep reading at your own risk.

Despite the trouncing, it’s not as if South Carolina showed up unprepared, either; the Gamecocks looked fired up and focused when they entered Sanford Stadium. The energy on the sidelines seemed much better from the team compared to the first two games, but it was clear from the very go that the Gamecocks didn’t have the talent to keep up with the seventh-ranked Bulldogs.

It was my first trip in Athens, and though there wasn't much to take away from the product on the field, I certainly came away with a newfound respect for the Bulldog program.

Below are a few of my biggest observations from the sideline Saturday night.

UGA may have played more hype videos on their scoreboard than there were actual plays on the field. Seriously, the video production staff most work 80 hour weeks to cut the amount of footage I saw on Georgia’s board all game.

While it was pretty cool and clearly got the students and crowd fired up most of the time, there’s only so much a man can watch of Leonard Floyd pointing at a camera or Jordan Jenkins pounding his chest in slow motion in a dark room with hanging lights.

UGA is one chill dog, man. I know rival fans like to poke fun of the little guy for being ugly or fat or what-have-you, but honestly all that dog wants is a nice pack of ice and some time to lie in his custom dog house. He’s cool in my books.

Skai Moore deserves better than this. We all know Pharoh Cooper puts the offense on his back each and every Saturday for the Gamecocks and puts up some mind-numbing offensive stats regardless of what the rest of the team does, but it’s time to also recognize Moore as the beast he is.

Not only does he continually lead the team in tackles, he also seems to be the vocal leader of this defense. When things started to get chippy late in the fourth quarter, it was Moore who was pumping up his teammates and supporting each successful tackle (as rare as they were) as if the game were still in striking distance.

This kid has absolutely no quit in him and it’s a shame to see his efforts go missed because of the final score the defense lets up. Watching him walk of the field completely exhausted and frustrated after being unable to stop the opposing offense yet again is getting really hard to watch.

(Editor's note: This was written before Steve Spurrier announced Lorenzo Nunez as the starter for Saturday's game.)

Lorenzo Nunez needs to go ahead and finish out the season. This is no dig at Orth, who was thrown into the spotlight abruptly and had the impossible task of engineering an upset against a top-10 team for his first road start.

Simply put, Orth was a walk-on for a reason and has only one year of eligibility left following this season. The short action Nunez has seen this year has been full of exciting runs and enticing read-option capabilities.

With a possible redshirt already off the table, I think it’s pretty clear that the talented freshman should be handed the reins so he can gain valuable playing experience and build his game for his next few years in a Carolina uniform.

Besides his tremendous upside for future seasons, he really seems to be the Gamecocks’ best option to win this year as well.