It worked, sometimes. Even with a backup center and the top running back out, it worked.
It was obviously lost in the tire tracks Georgia’s offense left on South Carolina’s defense, but the Gamecocks’ quarterback-switching offense did what it could.
Perry Orth and Lorenzo Nunez rotated throughout the game (sometimes within series) and more or less moved the ball. The problem with each was that it gave the Bulldogs a road map of what to expect when each was in the game – Orth, especially with Brandon Wilds nursing a bruised rib, was probably going to pass. Nunez was probably going to run.
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Orth was 6-of-17 for 66 yards and an interception. Nunez was 4-of-5 for 18 and rushed 10 times for 76 yards and a score. No way that’s something to thump a chest about, but what did one expect?
“We’re still a young offense,” Orth said.
Orth started well, but a timeout in the first quarter allowed Georgia to get regrouped and a promising drive conked out. After mixing in the run with some nice throws – Jacob August, Deebo Samuel and D.J. Neal each caught balls during the series – the Gamecocks reached the 21-yard-line. The timeout was called, USC huddled, the Bulldogs huddled and Georgia wound up winning that battle.
Two incompletes to the corner and a blitz (after a low snap) forced a field goal. Nunez came in later and moved the ball right down the field before ceding to Orth for a touchdown.
The stats were OK, even decent when considering Orth and Nunez were in the same boat as starter Connor Mitch was against North Carolina. They, like he, hadn’t played much, Nunez especially. The only way to see what they could do was to throw them in the game and watch.
Like with Mitch, nothing was going to be settled after one game. So the Gamecocks will look at the film, see what each did well and what each can improve on, and come up with a gameplan for UCF next week. “Offensively, I’m open to suggestions,” Steve Spurrier quipped.
Mixing the looks seems to be paramount. Nunez didn’t attempt to pass until the third quarter, and perhaps that’s by design. He’s not known as a strong passer anyway, but he hasn’t showed what he can or can’t do since high school. For what it’s worth, Spurrier said he threw the ball “beautifully” in practice last week – and he did complete his first try.
Orth isn’t the best runner, but they don’t need him to be – as long as his tailbacks are healthy. Wilds’ return (and Knott’s) will figure heavily into what USC trusts Orth to do, and where Pharoh Cooper can be placed.
Back to work. Only thing the Gamecocks can do.
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