SEC Bachstory - Week Two Review
And South Carolina has a running game
And South Carolina has a running game
Posted Sep 13, 2010

The SEC Bachstory will be THE SEC column to catch up on the big events from the past weekend. Each Monday morning the best and worst of the SEC will be dissected and discussed.

By Brian Harbach

The SEC Bachstory will be a weekly SEC recap posted every Monday morning breaking down all the big events from the previous weekend. In order to eliminate all confusion, the Bach in Bachstory is pronounced like back (Back to the Future, The Empire Strikes Back, Back in Black), you get the picture. A little later than usual but there is plenty to talk about starting with Marcus Lattimore, Georgia's Offensive Line, Marcus Lattimore, Tennessee's Jekyll and Hyde game, Marcus Lattimore and more.

The Weekend That Was

Pretty much every SEC fan will tell you that to win in the SEC you have to do two things…play solid defense and run the ball. What every Carolina fan will tell you is that their defense has been nasty every year under Spurrier, but they have never been able to run the ball consistently. Part of that was talent at the position, part of it was Spurrier's refusal to go away from his chuck and duck philosophy but all of it is in the past for the Gamecocks with freshmen back Marcus Lattimore taking over. Spurrier took a run first approach to the game against UGA and came up aces as he limited what Stephen Garcia needed to do and put the game on the shoulders of the most talented freshmen in the country.

Lattimore doesn't run like a true freshmen; he runs like a fifth year senior. Great pad level, never stops his legs and always falls forward. The only criticism I have we won't be able to answer fully for a couple weeks and that is you cannot have Lattimore carrying the ball 37 times a game. I understand he is young and very strong, but there are seven more SEC games to go plus a game against Clemson and he will be needed in each one of them. Rest him up this week to get him ready for Auburn in two, but that many carries is going to wear him out by the middle of October.

The Weekend That Wasn't

Mark Richt takes a lot of heat as the head coach for Georgia, but there is one coach on the Bulldog staff that for some reason gets none it. Well, that is going to change right now because Stacy Searels is stealing money from Georgia as their offensive line coach. In his fourth year as the Offensive Line Coach at UGA, the Bulldog line is always highly regarded off the field and underperforming on it. This weekend was the last straw in my book when the Bulldogs lost the game not because of a RS Freshmen QB, not because Washaun Ealey fumbled on the 5 yard line, but because they rushed 26 times for 61 yards.

I don't care that Aaron Murray had 6 carries for negative 15 yards, the running game never got going and frankly never has gotten going with Searels coaching the line. The Georgia line has at least 7 players with quality starting experience in the SEC, they have a very capable back in Ealey and even against a quality defense like South Carolina they should be better. The Georgia defense has some tackling issues, but if you give up 17 points to South Carolina you should be able to win that game. The offense let them down and the play of the line killed them.

The bottom line is that Georgia is in serious trouble, Arkansas visits this weekend with a real chip on their shoulder and they will be favored. I am not sure if they will win, but they will be favored in the game…if UGA were to lose to the Razorbacks and MSU loses on the road to LSU there will be two 1-2 programs playing in Starkville in two weeks. Two of the most desperate teams in the SEC will be playing on Scott Field and Georgia could be looking starting dead in the face of 1-3. It is a very important stretch for Mark Richt and company.

The Weekend That…What the Heck

I got to spend a good portion of my Saturday in the infamous Bar Knoxville before the Tennessee/Oregon game (I recommend the Asian Wings, they are sneaky hot and very tasty). My now yearly trek to Knoxville was a little wetter than it was a year ago, but the game atmosphere was exactly what I remembered in the first half of the Oregon game, but not so much in the second. The Tennessee crowd was ready for the start, the players were too and even after an hour delay that was painstakingly longer than 60 minutes…the Vols came back with the same intensity. On a side note, I am not sure what you guys watching the game on TV got to see, but the students ran on the field when it was pouring down rain andI was cracking up. Thank you UT students for keeping those of us who stayed in our seats entertained.

Tennessee has two problems I can see after their loss to Oregon, the first is depth and the second is they are lacking playmakers. The Vols looked so great in the first quarter…they had three chances in Oregon territory and came away with only 6 points. I like Tauren Poole, but he is not a typical Tennessee back with breakaway speed. He should have had two long TD runs in the first quarter but was caught from behind both times. No one on the offense was able to make a play; they moved the ball in the first half but never did enough to put pressure on the Ducks enough to make them panic. The defense played above their heads but after the long TD run by LaMichael James and the pick six…they were done mentally and physically followed shortly after. Derek Dooley has his work cut out for him, fans need to be patient with him this year…they aren't a good team yet.

The Weekend That Will Be

For the second straight week ESPN Gameday will be in the state of Alabama, last week to little surprise the crew visited Tuscaloosa for Penn State/Alabama and this week they visit Auburn for the Auburn/Clemson game. Frankly, it is pretty shocking that the four letter network will be on the Plains this weekend but after looking over the schedule for this weekend my shock subsided. Not a lot of big time games this week and since ESPN is telecasting this game in 3D, why not miss out on a chance to promote a new technology that will make everyone not wearing the expensive glasses throw up. So, Auburn/Clemson is your game of the week…I guess. But if there is one game that I have to watch this week it is the Arkansas/Georgia matchup in Athens.

First, the Arkansas/UGA last year was fun to watch. No defense, tons of points, special teams plays left and right…awesome. This year Georgia is a little desperate (see above) and Arkansas is still an unknown. Is this the Razorbacks coming out party or is UGA going to get back on the right path. Some other games to highlight include MSU visiting Baton Rouge, Alabama playing at Duke (side note, Duke sold out their season tickets because of this game), Florida at Tennessee and Vandy at Ole Miss.

Big Man on Campus (BMOC)

Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina Running Back
I happen to be a sucker for running backs, some people like defensive players or quarterbacks but for me it has always been the guy toting the rock. Great running backs make poor offensive lines look good and that is exactly what Marcus Lattimore is doing for South Carolina two weeks into this season. Lattimore barreled through the UGA defense this weekend for 37 carries and 182 yards with two touchdowns. He was physical, he didn't shy from contact and he was the best player on the field. He is good enough to make the worst rushing team in the conference look great and that says all you need to know about his talent.

Player Now Doing Charlie Work (PNDCW)
As a note to those who do not know what "Charlie-Work" is, do yourself a favor and start watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (the episode called "Dennis and Dee go on Welfare" explains it perfectly). BTW, new season starts Thursday this week at 10PM on FX.

MSU Quarterbacks and Receivers
MSU should have been able to take advantage of the conservative Auburn game plan and the struggles the Tiger offense has in the second half. The reason they didn't was the Bulldog passing game. QB's Chris Relf and Tyler Russell were terribly inaccurate and the receivers dropped pass after pass. Leon Berry's drop near the end of the game was brutal because it would have been first and ten on the fifteen with MSU only down by 3. If MSU is going to step up and start beating some of the better teams in the league they need help from their receivers and a better effort from their quarterbacks. The defense played well enough to win that game, the offense did not.

4 Downs with the SEC

First Down – Will the real Auburn defense please stand up
Raise your hand if you saw that performance coming from the Auburn defense...guy wearing the Auburn hat in the back of the classroom put your hand down because we don't even believe you called that one. Two games in to the 2010 season and two very different showings from the Tigers, a poor unmotivated display against Arkansas State…not very surprising based on the opponent. Followed up by a very nice performance on the road against a team many expected them to lose to and give up tons of yards and points. The next two weeks should be a good litmus test for what Auburn truly has on defense and how well they can play. Two straight primetime kickoffs against Clemson and South Carolina in Jordan Hare should test both pass and rush defense significantly.

Two players that stood out from the win over MSU were linebacker Josh Bynes and defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Fairly was the SEC defensive player of the week with 1.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception but Bynes stood out with his good tackling and ability to read the play. Auburn was burned on an option pitch to the fullback for a first down earlier in the game (classic Urban Meyer play call, think Aaron Hernandez) and the Bulldogs ran it again late in the fourth quarter that Bynes read and reacted perfectly to. That one play stood out because it was an example of the coaches explaining what to look for and a player applying it to the game when the opportunity came up. It was a sign of improvement, the next couple weeks will show us which defense Auburn plans to go forward this year.

Second Down – We want Jarrett Lee, We want Jarrett Lee!
Breaking news…there have been reported snow flurries in the underworld because LSU fans are calling for Jarrett Lee to replace Jordan Jefferson. That's right, Mr. Pick Six is who Les Miles should be starting at quarterback according to the Fighting Tiger fans after Jordan Jefferson once again took one step forward and three steps back. Now please don't take this as me having a problem with Lee, I have nothing but respect for a player that struggles, draws the anger of fans and stays. Lee could have left, he could have stopped working, he could have moved on but it says a lot that he didn't and now with Jordan Jefferson being in his third year as a starter it might be time for a change.

The twenty four point win over Vandy is fine but the stats are just ugly…8-20 for 96 yards and an interception for Jefferson. He was 3-8 with an interception on third down and the pass that was intercepted was a pretty poor pass. Lee is going to start to see some snaps if Jefferson does not improve, Miles and Crowton keep waiting for the light to switch on but they cannot afford to wait too long. Next week against MSU, who has a pretty good defensive line, should be a decent test for Jefferson. Maybe this is the week he takes two steps forward and no steps back.

Third Down – What is going on in Gainseville?
If I am a Florida fan I am really worried right now, not Georgia worried, but worried that the East is no longer a sure bet for them to win. John Brantley is not the consistent quarterback that they thought they had a month ago and while the defense looks great…that will only take them so far. The man who seems to spark the Gators offense is Jeff Demps, every time he busts out a long run the offense seems to wake up and get it going. Tied 7-7 at half against South Florida, Demps run for a 62 yard score to break open the second half. A week ago up 21-12 against Miami (OH) Demps busts out a 72 yard TD run and the Gators go on to a 34-12 victory. The offense is struggling, Demps might be the key to getting the team moving forward so he needs more than 19 rushes in two games. Give the kid the 15-20 carries he needs; that might be all the Gator Offense needs to get in sync.

Fourth Down – Under the Radar Razorbacks
It doesn't matter how Arkansas' offense or defense looked in the first two weeks of the season, frankly it wouldn't matter if they won both those games by a field goal…the real Razorback season starts this weekend. While everyone, including CBS, seems to be pointing to the Crimson Tide's trip to Fayetteville in two week they are forgetting about a very important trip to Athens that the Hogs have to make first. Georgia needs to win this game to avoid heading into Starkville in serious trouble while Arkansas needs to win this game to legitimize themselves as an SEC contender.

Georgia's defense has none too impressive against the pass or tackling last weekend, but Arkansas has done nothing of substance to make anyone feel confident that they can go into Athens and win. The worst UGA team in a decade came away with a win at Arkansas last season, can the Razorbacks step up and play the type of winning football people predicted they would? This game is the best one in the SEC this coming weekend, two teams with something to prove and its only week three.

What were your thoughts on the past weekend in the SEC? E-mail me Brian Harbach

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