South Carolina’s players laid it bare Tuesday morning.
Their coaches liked the way the front seven played against Georgia. The defensive backs not so much.
“The coaches felt that the front seven played well,” safety D.J. Smith said. “He felt that the back end didn’t do too well. So from a coaching perspective, I’d say it wasn’t too good.”
That was echoed by defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
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“Our secondary, they need to step up a little more,” Kinlaw said. “I mean, the front seven we played pretty good.”
USC held the Georgia running game to 1.4 yards below it’s season average per carry. But Quarterback Jake Fromm posted a QB rating of better than 177.6 and completed 16-of-22 passing.
USC coach Will Muschamp also wasn’t pulling any punches on that front.
“I didn’t think we played very well,” Muschamp said. “I think we had some opportunities to get some balls down, challenge guys going up and down the field. Had two 50-50 balls for touchdowns where we’ve got to get the ball on the ground. We did not tackle extremely well. We didn’t support the run very well.”
Overall, Georgia’s passing game kept the offense ahead of the chains or converted a third down 65 percent of the time (the national average is 40).
USC did play part of the game without Smith, and lost safety Steven Montac for a few plays, forcing Javon Charleston, a former walk-on, into action.
Smith said the biggest issue was about not getting potential momentum-shifting moments when they were there to be had.
“Just making the big plays that we needed to make,” Smith said. “I remember coach saying that one deep ball they hit on Jamarcus (King), he could have turned around and made a pick.”