BLOG TOPICS::
After I posted my latest story on GamecockCentral.com (read it here) some early responses on the message boards were emailed to me. I have reposted them here. Please spread these to every Gamecock fan that you know is going to the game Saturday.

sclaw03 says:

Great article. This Saturday every Gamecock fan in attendance needs to do everything phusically possible to affirmatively show support for Garcia. That means cheering for him, chanting his name, making signs, etc. As fans a lot of times we have the "what have you done for me lately" attitude when deciding how intensely we should support a player or coach, and expect them to always pick us up. Well, now it's time for us to pick up one of our own, especially when it's a player who has recently lost a loved one, and has unfortunately spent the better part of the last 5 yrs being used mostly as a punching bag by the local media. Maybe a little fan support will help him get his mojo back.

savannah gamecock says:

What would happen Saturday if all gamecock fans when the team takes the field begin chanting "Stephen-Stephen"? Yes, Stephen can play better, we know that and he wants to play better - we should know that too. This kid needs a pick-me-up and I think a cheer for Stephen on Saturday would be a good first step, not because he necessarily deserves it - but because he needs it. Where would you and I be if all we got was what we "deserve"? I thank God I don't always get what I deserve. I'm thankful for God's "mercy".

Please spread these all around. How awesome would it be if seventy-five thousand folks were chanting Stephen! Stephen! Stephen! at the start of the game? Seriously. Instead of allowing the media to influence his confidence, let's FORCE the crowd to influence it in the RIGHT DIRECTION!

Go GAMECOCKS!



Marty :: 
All I have heard this week from the radio call-in shows is how everyone is so down and out about the Gamecocks. Everyone seems to think that Stephen Garcia's confidence is somewhere in the Sarlacc pit rotting away with Boba Fett.

What the media fails to understand is that guys like Garcia don't get rattled like normal people. The media expects these athletes to react like normal human beings when the truth is they aren't normal human beings, they're superheroes. The swagger that allows a kid like Garcia to lower his head at a future first-round draft pick linebacker is that same swagger that causes him to not be phased by throwing a few interceptions at Williams-Brice.

He has proven his decision-making ability is somewhat unorthodox. But we should stop judging his poor decision-making skills. It's not fair for us to bark about his bad decision to throw a certain pass, but then turn around and cheer on his "decision" to throw his body at a 320-pound defensive tackle like he was jumping into a swimming pool. Neither of these decisions were made by a rational thinker, people.



Go to GamecockCentral.com to read the rest of this article.



Marty :: 
This is my weekly Big-Play Breakdown for GamecockCentral.com for the Vandy game. (Click here to read it on their website.)


Nothing more to this post!

Marty :: 
Ever hear of "backyard football?" Well, probably not played like this!

This is an instance when having a comedian as a dad comes in a little handy. Walt told me he wanted me to have an official football game party for his birthday. He said he wanted to kick extra points and have lines painted on the field. Well I took it one full step further by getting the microphone and amplifier I use for local gigs and downloading all the sweet college football music from Youtube.com and blasting it out in the yard while I called the game like Al Michaels.

Oh yeah, then at the suggestion of my wife's close friend, we dumped a cooler of water and ice on him as we said, "Happy Birthday!"



Here four videos below, including one where Walt gets dumped.



Walt gets dumped at the end of this video.



Just more fun stuff on this video.



Savannah scores her touchdown versus the boys in this video.









Marty :: 

National Media Ignores the Gamecocks

Why does the national media go out of their way to ignore the South Carolina Gamecocks?

orel
The baseball team already had won one national championship and couldn't get Orel Hershiser to research the names of the Gamecock players well enough to pronounce them correctly during their second national championship. It pained me to listen to him discuss how high the UCLA pitchers were going to be drafted as we spanked the Bruins in 2010, and in 2011 all he wanted to talk about was how special it was for Florida to make the title game. Really, Orel?

Football season is even worse. 2011 hasn't been that stellar a beginning for the Gamecocks to most national media outlets. Basically all the preseason hype is working against the Gamecocks as the expectations were set so high that only blow out victories would satisfy them. The national media is buzzing with “the Gamecocks are overrated, and Florida is now the team to beat in the East.”

Click the graphic below (or here) to read the rest of this article on GamecockCentral.com.


Marty :: 
This is my weekly Big-Play Breakdown for GamecockCentral.com for the Navy game. (Click here to read it on their website.)

I discuss how our passive approach to the defensive scheme hurt our ability to stop the triple-option.

I have already seen some comments asking some questions so I will address them here.

Question #1: We can't gamble on defense every play and get way behind to the Navy offense, they will just grind it out on us then. Why do you think we should gamble every play?

Answer: I never said we should gamble every play. I merely pointed out that we should gamble "some." Until the fourth quarter Coach Johnson NEVER gambled. Also, I think our schemes tended to be passive never allowing our players to force action but rather read and react. I was not saying we should try and blow up a blitz on every play.

Also, gambling that pays off would have been worth it. We would have been just as likely to create a turn over as we would have been to give up a touchdown. That was my point.

Question #2: I heard Brad Lawing say that Travian, our nose tackle, has got to win the battle in the three man front. Therefore Clowney never was assigned the fullback on the dive in a three man front. Marty, you said in your analysis that Clowney should have the dive and Brad Lawing is saying that he didn't. So you were wrong about this. What gives?

Answer: Let me clarify. In fundamentally sound defensive schemes designed to stop the option, the unblocked man on the line has got to account for the first man through, which would be the dive. Any other plan is taking into account the talent levels of the players at each position and therefore game planning, not the same as "fundamentally sound defense."

Since Ellis Johnson said to the media that the option removes athleticism from the table, I assumed he would have developed a scheme that would be the most sound on paper. Instead, he developed a scheme that included assuming our nose tackle could defeat a play-side double team (or beat the center individually.) Not taking into consideration that every offensive triple-option coach "HOPES" that the defense will assume this. Every option coach finds their center first, then builds their offense around them. This is option 101.

Next time the South Carolina High School Coaches Association has a coaching clinic, sneak into it and raise your hand and ask a question. Ask Dr. Jerry Brown or John McKissick how they think their option attacks would do against a team that had a decent nose tackle and that defense assigned the nose tackle to the dive and the unblocked man to the quarterback.

Report back here with what they say.

One last thought on this as well. If Clowney was responsible for the quarterback in three man fronts, then why were there several times in the game when he is tackling the dive man when the dive man doesn't have the football? Also, why didn't Clowney blow up the quarterback every play?


Marty :: 
Watching the Mississippi State versus L.S.U. game made me think of something. I only played at Starkville one time in my career. That one game was ugly though. We lost 26 to 0. From the getting off the plane in the middle of nowhere, to the strange smelling hotel, to the two hour drive to the stadium, it was, by far, the weirdest, toughest place to play in my opinion. (Fayetteville is second, but a distant second.)

Starkville is like a weird city set in an M. Night Shyamalan movie. I was constantly thinking I might see zombies with cowbells come around the corner saying they wanted to eat my brains. (Yes I know that M. Night doesn't write about Zombies, go back to your video games!)


Even the normal looking students have a glaze in their eye as they whack that bell that is bothersome. It's like they are going to whisper to you as you walk by, "I see dead players..." (Better M. Night reference, right?)

I think Gamecock fans should unite in their journey to Starkville by all buying vuvuzelas to blow at the game to drown out the cowbells. Announce our presence with authority!

The only thing that would be more annoying than going into their stadium and beating them would be to do it with vuvuzelas!



And if the vuvuzelas are too expensive (you can buy them here) then we can use the video below to make a homemade vuvuzela sound making device!



Wouldn't it be awesome?

But we have to agree to ONLY DO IT for this one game! No vuvuzelas allowed into Williams Brice!


Marty :: 
This is my weekly column for GamecockCentral.com. (Click here to read it on their website.)

I outline 5 reasons that why fans shouldn't care that the Gamecocks haven't looked as good as we thought they would. Maybe you will agree, maybe you will disagree, but either way, I am interested in your feedback.

Take a look at their website and let me know what you think of the article.


There is nothing more in this article to read! Go Cocks!

Marty :: 
Make sure to go over to GamecockCentral.com and check out the new "Video Breakdown" section on their website. I provided the football analysis and commentary on a handful of they key plays from the Georgia game. I have a formed a strategic alliance with GamecockCentral.com and this will be a weekly article posted on their website after each game this year.

Below is an example post which includes exclusive video highlights as well as screenshot chalkboard type breakdowns.

Read what folks are saying about it here.


Marty :: 
I have to credit my father, Bill Simpson, with this observation.

Something no one mentioned at the start of the Mississippi State, Auburn game yesterday was their football slogan working on behalf of the entire country.



The Auburn locker room at Jordan-Hare Stadium leads on to the Pat Dye Field through two huge swinging doors which are painted blue with orange lettering to read from the outside:
FEARLESS
AND TRUE



Which apparently is a slogan for the football team. On television yesterday, they opened only the left door for the team's entrance, so that what was shown as the team filed through accidentally confirmed the rest of the country's opinion about Auburn and its story about Cam Newton:
LESS
TRUE


Sorry, Cam, "Less True" is more accurate.

Sometimes real life writes better stories than journalists or comedians.


Marty :: 
While the Gamecocks didn't win by the 17 points that I had predicted, they did indicate that they are a different breed of rooster than in the past. I have rarely seen a team come out and play more inspired and emotionally driven than Georgia did. (Props to Coach Richt for this effort.) I also didn't expect the Gamecocks to come out so flat. It reminded me of the bowl game versus Iowa. I guess playing on the road in the SEC is harder than it looks on paper.

But as I watched the entire first half, I kept thinking of how we are "The Other Team." This year's Gamecocks are the team that is usually playing against the Gamecocks. While Georgia was playing perfectly, the Gamecocks were playing poorly, but the score was only 6 to 0 when it should have been 21 to 0. The anxiety was thick on the faces of the Georgia students whenever they would show them on television. They could sense how difficult it was going to be to beat the Gamecocks.

It was so reminiscent of Gamecock games from the past. Games played in Baton Rouge, Gainsville or Tuscaloosa in which an outmatched Gamecock team played with heart and emotion and hung tough for a few quarters only to be defeated in the end. It seemed like deja vu in which the Gamecocks had gone in and played flawlessly for two quarters and given everyone hope... false hope. Except this time, the Gamecocks were on the other side of the equation.

At the half it felt like the Georgia team was beating the Gamecocks in all phases of the game and doing it with style, yet the Cocks led 14 to 13. That strange feeling associated with being outplayed while your team was still winning on the scoreboard was a new sensation for Gamecock fans. It is a feeling that is only present when your team has an abundance of talent at multiple positions able to cover for your team's many mistakes of the day.

Not only do we have an All-American tailback and wide receiver, we also have a defensive tackle who weighs 276 pounds and can sprint 68 yards for a touchdown on a fake punt, scoop and score on a fumble, and recover an onside kick on the hands team! (I also heard Coach Spurrier say that Ingram can throw a ball 60 yards, was the emergency punter, and he punts left-footed. Seriously! Ingram for Heisman!)

While today's game was ugly on many fronts, it was glorious on the only front that mattered! We won! On the road! In the SEC! But like all great weather-worn Gamecock fans, we will spend the next five days arguing about how Shaw should get another shot at quarterback, or how the defensive secondary really is a problem, or how the play calling seems predictable, because, as seasoned Gamecock fans, we truly just don't know how to do anything else.

So, did we win by 17 points? No, we didn't. But you know what? After Ingram batted and scooped that fumble into the endzone for his second touchdown of the day, we were leading by 10 with three and a half minutes to play. If the defense had come up with one more stop and we had added a cheap late score, it would have been a 17 point win! I know. I know. It is a stretch, but not as far a stretch as winning a game "between the hedges" by three points when your defensive tackle has two touchdowns!

Are there huge questions left that need answering before we can compete for an SEC and National title? Of course. Are we undefeated still? Yes! Remember last year in the early part of the season the Auburn Tigers played a game against Clemson that they should have lost. Then they went on to become the best team in the country in the end. Are we playing like the best team in the country right now? No, but the good news is we don't have to be. We only had to play better than Georgia this Saturday, and we did that.

And while doing so, I am sure the Georgia fans kept thinking to themselves, "Man, I wish our jerseys were on 'The Other Team!'"

And when was the last time that a South Carolina game pre-empted the start of the Michigan, Notre Dame game? Do you realize that the South Carolina game ran long and they moved the start of the Notre Dame, Michigan game to ESPNU and finished the South Carolina game on ESPN? Come on! South Carolina is finally "THE OTHER TEAM."


Marty :: 
These Gamecocks are
"The Other Team"
My father and I have discussed this concept a number of times over the past two baseball seasons. How the Gamecock baseball team always came through in the clutch and always seemed like they were playing like the "other team" that we are always playing against. I think this year's football team is finally "The Other Team."

With the hype going into the Georgia game, think about what the news lines are. Georgia is relying on true freshmen. Georgia is hoping the weaker secondary can be exploited. Georgia's coach is on the hot seat and in a must win situation. These are all things that are usually being said about the Gamecocks whenever they go into a place like Tuscaloosa or Baton Rouge.

Picture a conversation Georgia fans are having right now about our Gamecocks.

(For the sake of this hypothetical conversation the Georgia fans will be named Lewis and Bubba.)

Lewis: Well, maybe if we stop Lattimore we can beat these guys... wait, we have to stop that All-American wide receiver too.

Bubba: If we stop those two, then we have to really cover punts and kick-offs well too. Did you see last week?

Lewis: And don't forget the Wildcock formation with this new kid that looks really good too.

Bubba: Well at least we will be able to throw on their secondary.

Lewis: Unless we get sacked! Their defensive front is awesome.

Bubba: But that kid is just a true freshmen, we'll be able to block him. Besides he wears number 7. What defensive linemen wears single digits?

Lewis: Ones that run a 4.4 forty maybe?

Bubba: But at least we are playing at home.

Lewis: Yeah, it is a home game. Maybe we'll be alright. Besides, it's a must win for the Coach and the players will really step it up for him! Especially all the true freshmen we are relying on!

Doesn't this sound like a conversation we have all had a dozen times going into a tough SEC game?

Come together Gamecock nation and realize we are all in uncharted territory. The University of South Carolina Gamecocks are actually The Other Team in the equation. We are finally sitting on the side of the team that we are usually playing against!

The true metal will be revealed tonight in the culmination of the Coach Spurrier era. I predict that the Gamecocks will go to Athens, and amidst all the hype of the surrounding madness, simply prove to the country that they are the better team.

The difference in this Gamecock team and the teams in the past will be that this team will do its job. When they are the better team, they will simply BE the better team!


Marty :: 
The Virtuoso Coach
The mainstream media just doesn't give Coach Spurrier enough credit in the department of "controlling the message." His comments last night after practice were nothing short of brilliant! I only heard them on the radio, so I will paraphrase them below.

When asked about how good Georgia was, Coach said,
Well, all those sports writers wouldn't have picked them to win the east if they didn't think Georgia had some good players over there. They're a good team.
Clearly, Coach Spurrier wants the buzz in the air to be about how good Georgia is. He is injecting this thought into dozens of reporters at practice so they will scurry home and write these quotes up and play this audio on the radio. That way Coach Spurrier can go back to his team and say, "Can you believe all they want to write about is how good Georgia is!!?" Again, I say this is all orchestrated genius!

Coach Spurrier was also able to put on the record that the Georgia freshmen class of recruits has branded themselves the "Dream Team." That way when Coach goes back to the locker room he can point out to HIS freshmen that Georgia thinks they are the "Dream Team."

All of this is on purpose, people! Coach Spurrier is a mastermind of this art form. He doesn't care that some average joe thinks he is a little cocky or arrogant. He doesn't care that some reporters are turned off by his antics. He only cares about the good of his team. And his team benefits when he is controlling the message.

Coach would never say that any of what he is doing is orchestrated or on purpose because that would not help his team. If he were asked I am sure he would say, "Naw... I just coach football, you guys write the stories." And when he answered this way, he would perfectly control the message!

I would also like to put on the record that I don't believe Coach is being dishonest or deceitful with his techniques either. Quite the contrary actually. I think his acumen in this department is unmatched and made even sharper by the fact that he only says things that are actually truthful. Sports writers everywhere did pick Georgia to win the east. Coach just knows that reminding everyone of that fact now will help his overall plan.

The average person reading his comments or watching him speak might think that he is blowing hot air, and I am saying that is all part of his master plan. The beauty of it is he doesn't mind if some folks think that, because it doesn't hurt his team for them to think that. You can question whether he is doing it on purpose or simply gets the benefit of the consequences of his accidental actions, but would it matter? Would it matter if Beethoven was just jamming in a Vienna garage but at the end of that session realized he had written his Fifth Symphony?

I will continue to point out times when I see the virtuoso Coach at work to help you all see what I see. And what I see is a coach that can bring about something at the University of South Carolina that no other coach has been able to accomplish! Let's just hope he will put up with all of us long enough to actually achieve it!


Marty :: 
Georgia Will Go 10 and 2, but Is No Match for the Gamecocks This Year

No matter you think of Coach Richt
and Georgia Uga is a great mascot!
R.I.P. Uga VII. Much Respect.
As impossible as it seems to do, recovering from those awful uniforms worn versus Boise State will only be part of Georgia's problems this week. In addition to facing Lattimore and company, the dawgs are once again going into this game with their second tier interim mascot, "Russ" instead of "Uga" who passed away last February. It seems unreasonable to ask so much of a program in one short week, but that is what Georgia fans are doing. Not only do the dawgs have to figure out a way to stop Lattimore, block the Gamecocks' stellar defensive front, contain Ellington and Sanders on kick returns, but they also have to do it all with RUSS instead of UGA! I don't know if Coach Richt can survive the fury!

Now For Some Serious Analysis (Sort of...)

Georgia is going to go 10 and 2 (Ok, maybe not 10 and 2 but they will still win a lot!) and lose to two of the best teams in the country. Don't forget, CBS sports played the EA Sports' NCAA Football mock season and it had Boise St. losing to the Gamecocks in the title game. Georgia's schedule is very favorable this season so look for them to rebound quickly and for Coach Richt to win huge in a bowl game versus a Big 22 team. (How many teams are in the Big 10 now?)

Georgia's need to play their true freshman tailback (Crowell) to have their best player on the field will lead to several sacks and pressures. Asking a true freshman back to pick up our defensive linemen won't fair too well for the dawgs. This in turn will lead to turnovers. Look for a big day out of our defensive front. We all know that our d-line is the strongest thing on our team depth wise, and this game will really showcase that.

Historically, the Georgia, South Carolina ball game is a tight race governed by the team that makes one less mistake than the other. It will be different this time, simply because of the caliber of athletes on either side of the ball. I believe the trenches are a complete mismatch in favor of the Gamecocks this week and that will affect all aspects of the game. The Georgia offense will capitalize a few times on screens and draws taking advantage of our pursuit and aggressiveness, but over time this attack will take a toll on their own linemen. (Offensive linemen don't enjoy running down field multiple times on screen plays, just ask any former linemen.)

I picture a third and fourth quarter similar to the swamp last season in which the Gamecocks take control and look like a top five team doing it. South Carolina will be the team that "looks" like the physical, dominant SEC force in this one. The main reason we will "look" like the more physical and dominant team is because we will actually BE the team with the better players!

The best part of this victory for the Gamecocks though will be that Georgia will be wearing their traditional "silver britches." Even though Boise State did come to Atlanta and defeat an SEC opponent, I am sure the players never really felt like they were playing the real Georgia in those hideous outfits.

The post game hype will be about how Georgia is overrated. This will keep the Gamecocks off the radar for a little while longer, which is a good thing. We will probably have a few mistakes that cause the game to not quite be as big a blow-out as it should be, which will actually help us stay humble and keep us away from any front-runner media morons. If we route a Georgia team at home it would cause other teams preparing for us to spend more time and effort on us than we want. Inside the locker-room though each player will know the truth. This is a year in which we will be able to physically dominate programs like Georgia if we play up to our potential!

And as respectable as this win will be for the Gamecocks, we all know it would be MORE respectable if a true "Uga" roamed the sidelines. Maybe "Russ" just isn't up for the long haul of a grueling SEC schedule.


Marty :: 
Last season, true freshmen phenom, Marcus Lattimore gashed the Georgia defense like they weren't wearing pads. This fact upset the defensive coaches at Georgia so much so that they were referencing how poorly they played later in the season based on that game. "Well, we played bad today, but not as bad as we did versus South Carolina."
Bruce Ellington while
at Berkeley

I believe that the Georgia defensive coaches will do whatever it takes to stop Marcus Lattimore this season. This will open up huge opportunities for Bruce Ellington. Of course Alshon as well, but everyone knows he will be summoning double coverages all day. Alshon and Ace will get their chances and they will play well, but this weekend will be remembered as the Bruce Ellington day! (I have no inside information on this, I just have a very strong gut feeling!)

My hypothesis is that we will finally get to see what all of Moncks Corner, South Carolina has known for two years. Bruce Ellington is a game changer! I would go so far as to say had he played last season we win two other ball games at a minimum. Not trying to take away from any of the back-up tailbacks last season, they all played extremely well when called upon, I am just merely pointing out that this young man, Bruce Ellington, is a special athlete. Now we have multiple special athletes in multiple positions on offense. The Gamecocks are finally the other team. You know what I mean by this, right? It always seems like the other team has all the good players! Well, we are finally the other team!

I believe Bruce may only have six to ten touches, but they will be KEY touches. He will get the ball in the open field, in space, and we will get to see exactly what he can do. Because our defense is going to play well enough to keep the kickoff return game off the field, we will see Ellington in the Wildcock, in screens, on short passes off the inside zone read (look for a future article breaking this play down, as it is complicated but a fun concept), bubble screens, jailbreaks, and possibly see him throw a pass or two!

My multimedia company, Blue-Eyed Panda, was fortunate enough to be contracted to put together Berkeley's 2009 season highlight video, so I have cut together a few choice plays from Ellington in this Youtube video below. Keep in mind, every play you see is Ellington versus some of the best competition in the state of South Carolina. Summerville, Stratford, Byrnes, and Northwestern, are all in this video. He makes them look like they might be playing versus single-A teams sometimes! (No offense Coach Taneyhill, I am just stating the facts.)

If you agree with me about Bruce Ellington, spread this video around and post your comments of support below! If you disagree with me, make sure to post those comments below PRIOR to the game, so we can come back here on Sunday morning and give you a hard time about how wrong you were!




Marty :: 

Is Garcia the "REAL FACE" of the NCAA?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011 3 comments
Peter Schrager wrote an article on the Fox Sports website titled, "Garcia is True Face of College Football." (linked here: http://on-msn.com/r4PAsB) Yes, he was talking about OUR Stephen Garcia. Upon reading the headline I was struck by the fact that maybe someone sees what I see in Stephen Garcia. A gutsy, tough as nails kid that is "righting the ship" of his colorful career. But as I read the article I was moved by the backhanded nature of the compliments he was giving to the Gamecocks and to Garcia.
Andrew Luck of Stanford

Schrager points out the the natural choice for this year's "NCAA Golden Child" is Stanford's, Andrew Luck. Given his flare for the big game and the nature of his "former valedictorian self," Luck seems like the natural poster child for the NCAA according to Schrager.

The oddities start flowing near the middle of the story when it becomes apparent that Schrager is actually calling out the NCAA for causing itself to look like an organization that would be better represented by a quarterback with five team suspensions on his record than a squeaky clean Stanford honors student. He is not actually complimenting Garcia as much as dogging the NCAA.

As much as I love Garcia, I sort of see his point. However, I would like to take it a step further.

Schrager writes,
South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia, the college football media’s resident punching bag and punchline for all that’s “wrong” in the game, could be the man who represents the sport the best in 2011. Battered, beaten and chided for poor behavior...

While I agree that the current state of the NCAA does appear battered, beaten, and chided for poor behavior, I think it is a little harsh to state that Garcia is ALL that is wrong with the game. Isn't he in graduate school? Didn't he already get one degree? So he is a little bit of a loose cannon, sure, but is he really all that is wrong with College Football?

I picture him limping back to the huddle several times versus a then fourth ranked Ole Miss team two years ago, with blood on his uniform, and I think to myself, "This is a gutsy kid!" Has he made some really stupid decisions, YES he has! But haven't we all at some point in our lives? (Insert sarcastic reference here to Cam Newtown's father... oh wait, don't do that it might offend the NCAA since last year he was their poster child.)

The NCAA is currently in the midst of a complete public relations tsunami and it's reshaping from the ground up. Who better to change the face of the NCAA than Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks? Because you know if South Carolina actually did win the SEC and even the national championship that it could rip a hole in the space-time continuum setting off a chain reaction the likes of which have never been witnessed.

Think back 20 years to "The U" winning games by routing their opponents while rapper Luke Skywalker (From 2 Live Crew) bankrolled their expenses and the NCAA turning a blind eye because "The U" is the face of college football. Think back to the epic battles of Vince Young and Reggie Bush and picture Bush's family watching the game from their private space-shuttle in orbit (exaggeration added, but only slightly!) Picture Ohio State's players getting free tattoos and now the entire program is in disarray! OH NO! Not free tattooes! All the while, the bagman is still not affecting Auburn's National Championship at all. The sad truth is the NCAA needed Cam Newton to play and to be innocent! Oregon, on the other hand... (On a side note I will admit Cam Newton has a nice smile, but he refers to himself in the third person too often for my taste.)

Enter Stephen Garcia and the South Carolina Gamecocks, led by everyone's favorite coach to hate, Steve Spurrier. Garcia's tumultuous career somewhat mirrors that of the NCAA to it's fans. Every "violation" committed by each is not quite severe enough for us to give up on either one, and deep inside we hold on to a hope that it will all work out! Secretly inside all true college football fans we fantasize about how it should be enough to only get a free education and that players are not taking extra benefits at some schools out there. (Seriously, some people still believe this. I know, right? I can hear the Duke basketball fans getting uneasy that I would claim that no one is innocent.)

As it pertains to Garcia's case, I do not condone any underage drinking, but I have to admit that if the fraternity houses I had friends at were held to the same scrutiny would any of them survive?

The NCAA slaps Auburn on the wrist and reinstates Cam Newton and makes themselves look like a punchline. After they totally put the hammer down on Southern Cal when faced with the inevitable NECESSITY of it, which gave us all hope that someone at the NCAA actually cares about major violations. This inconsistency in behavior from the NCAA seems to match right up with Garcia's, no?

Garcia, meanwhile, is somewhat set-up and called out in public but continues to get the full support from his teammates which I see as the key element here. It's more than just the ability to deliver in the game. The guy must have something that the other players see. Something they know can help them win a championship. Something intangible. Meanwhile, the members of the NCAA are all getting restless leg syndrome, wondering when its leadership will actually start to lead. Garcia is not suffering from that same growing mutiny from his constituents.

Peter Schrager points out what I think is the most important aspect to this entire ordeal.
If he does what he does best — regardless of aesthetic appeal — Garcia and the Gamecocks could very well be the story of the 2011 season. [ ... ] Garcia — like the sport itself [and the NCAA for that matter] — could make for one heck of a redemption story this season.
The Face of the NCAA, Stephen Garcia!

Everyone loves the story of the underdog or the comeback or the redemption. I think of the scene in Tombstone when Doc Holiday clarifies that Wyatt Earp is not out for revenge, but "the reckoning..." Maybe a tattooed up, long haired, loose-cannon, with a few suspensions under his belt is actually THE BEST THE NCAA CAN DO in the way of professional spokesperson at this time! So the NCAA needs the Gamecocks to win it all behind their wonderfully flawed leader, Garcia. That way their new "poster child" will at least have a championship under his belt, and the folks at the NCAA can start "righting their own ship" the way Garcia did this summer with his teammates!

http://twitter.com/#!/PSchrags wrote the original article. Follow him here.


Marty :: 
This morning I was fortunate enough to spend some time on the phone with the guys at 107.5 The Game. I love Tommy, Bob, and Captain Dave (and even tater-head Benji.) Captain Dave hit me on Facebook saying the guys sort of blew off my hypothesis that Coach Spurrier starting Connor Shaw proves he's a genius! when he mentioned it yesterday, so he wanted me to call in.


Well that turned out to be pretty fun. I spent a half hour on the show answering questions about it all, and by the end, Bob Shields stated that after hearing me explain it he was somewhat convinced! Bob even branded this "The Marty Theory" to the incoming callers.

My favorite call was from a lady named Judy. She was fired up and mad at Coach Spurrier and said she "totally disagreed with Marty." And that Coach Spurrier was just out to make Garcia look bad.She went on and on about how Garcia is the man and there's nothing Coach Spurrier can do about it. I calmly responded with a thank you and explained that this just illustrates my point. The Coach Spurrier has women, children, and EVEN RON MORRIS, in a lynch mob mentality defending Stephen Garcia... THE MAN IS A GENIUS!

Just four months ago the forums were littered with folks calling for Garcia's head! So rock on Coach Spurrier with your bad self doing what you do!

Look out for my game preview coming Thursday. I am hoping to discuss how Georgia's heavy concentration on Lattimore will open the flood-gates for the break out player of the week, BRUCE ELLINGTON!

PS - I would be remiss if I didn't mention T-Bone's story from this morning. It was actually my favorite. In 1992, versus Clemson, Toby Cates had just caught a touchdown pass to take the lead and T-Bone went crazy in the endzone cheering wildly. The lesson he says he learned that day was to never take his eyes off a Marty Simpson extra point, because he says the P.A.T. smacked him square in the face and spilled his alcohol everywhere! (I assume that T-Bone was sitting somewhere between the uprights, because I made them all that day, but I bet he was slightly right of center from my vantage point on that kick, as that is where most of kicks landed!)


Marty :: 

Worst Uniform? Maryland or Georgia?

Monday, September 05, 2011 0 comments
As we prepare to play Georgia, the serious question needs to be addressed. Which uniform was the worst? Maryland's or Georgia's Nike Pro Combat Uniform? You may be surprised at my answer.

As crazy as this is going to sound, by the end of the game, the Maryland uniform had sort of grown on me. I know I am going to be in the minority on this one, but there is just something bold and cool about a villainous "Two-Face" uniform. I sort of liked how the arm bands matched each particular side.

At first glance, I was repulsed. (And for good reason, as my former student, Tim Kallgren pointed out, we have all seen these uniforms before on the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland!)

But then as I watched the entire game, I was sort of won over. Maybe I just wanted Maryland to win, maybe the rain made the game more fun to watch, maybe Randy Edsall running up and down the field with his freakishly long arms waving around made me like the uniforms, I am not too sure.

Or maybe the very idea of the Georgia Bulldogs looking like they were some make-believe team for the next installment of "Airbud: Golden Receiver, Part XII" on the Disney Channel just bothered me.

At least the Maryland team looked like a World League team. The Dawgs just looked like a football doll that was made by a company that didn't want to pay any licensing to anyone! Just awful!





Marty :: 
My company, Blue-Eyed Panda, handled the end of the year highlight video for Berkeley when they won the championship behind the amazing efforts of Bruce Ellington. Coach Jerry Brown said to me then that he thought Ellington was the best player he had ever seen on the field since Freddie Soloman and thought Ellington was better than Soloman.


Bruce in high school for Berkeley
on the night they won the
state championship!
I have maintained from the beginning that whenever Ellington stepped on the field it would be obvious to everyone how true Coach Brown's statements are! And I think everyone saw a taste of that last night, but there is so much more to come. (For validation of this point just call 107.5 The Game and ask Tommy Moody or Bob Shields to back these statements up. I started calling in last year talking about Ellington and predicted this summer all summer long that Ellington was a game changer. I would like to point out that I sensed SERIOUS doubt on Tommy Moody when I made the Freddie Soloman comment though!)

Yes, Ace Sanders looked amazing on that punt return! Yes Bird is a lightning fast freshmen! And I am not knocking on the Lattimore/Jeffery All-American-DUO! But I am just throwing some prediction-love onto Ellington! He is a game changer and will prove that soon and very soon!

I am working on getting that highlight video cut up into a short highlight segment of just Ellington to post on my blog for all to see! Check back later this week for that.


Marty :: 
Evidently someone got a hold of my blog post over at GamecockCentral.com and posted it there. Some of the forum users over there are discussing it and I wanted to do my responding here, if that's alright with everyone. Oh it's not? Well then stop reading. (Otherwise read on!)
Quotes taken directly from GamecockCentral.com forum threads.
The Real Atlanta Cock has over 700 posts in the GamecockCentral.com.
While discussing my blog post (at this link), he wrote:
Not knocking Simpson, but it's just one man's opinion, I'm not sure I buy all of it. He makes SOS sound like a villain in a James Bond novel the way he orchestrated this whole thing.

I addressed this quote in my earlier blog post about how I didn't think Coach Spurrier was being evil per se. I just needed a quick metaphor to communicate the fact that I truly believe that most of what Steve Spurrier does that gets called cocky or arrogant by the media is being done on purpose as a charade to help put his players in a position to win.

But also, too often the villains in the Bond films come across as bumbling idiots monologue-ing themselves into the jaws of defeat! HBC is much more shrewd than those guys. Although it would be super cool if he ever whipped his visor off and threw it at an official that made a bad call and it flew like Odd-Job's razor hat and then came back to him as he caught it and put it back on his head. I think that would be awesome!
Odd Job from Goldfinger and Coach Spurrier with their magic hats!

And for the record, I have never read a Bond novel, so I am only qualified to respond to the villains in the movie versions.


Marty :: 
Evidently someone got a hold of my blog post over at GamecockCentral.com and posted it there. Some of the forum users over there are discussing it and I wanted to do my responding here, if that's alright with everyone. Oh it's not? Well then stop reading. (Otherwise read on!)
Quotes taken directly from GamecockCentral.com forum threads.
MotorCityChicken has over 11,400 posts in the GamecockCentral.com forum so his opinion is well documented to say the least. His comments are very well thought out and very reasonable. While discussing my blog post (at this link), he wrote:
Although the result I think is what he [Marty Simpson] wrote... I seriously doubt Spurrier put Shaw out there knowing he wouldn't play well. That's just silly. I think Spurrier put him out there to see if he could carry over the practice play to the real thing. We are going to need Shaw to play in pressure situations, and what better then to start a game with half (or more?) of the fans almost against you, with one quarter to prove your worth? That's ballsy, and Spurrier was going to find out if Shaw had it or not. And right now he doesn't, but the great news is that Spurrier knew he had Garcia on the bench, so no harm no foul. If Shaw doesn't cut it right away, you go to Garcia. If Shaw does, then you have a great problem. Nothing to be worried about - Garcia will be the man and Shaw will continue to prepare for next season.
I completely agree with MotorCityChicken's assessment. I do not believe that Coach Spurrier put Connor Shaw in the game with intentions of seeing him play poorly. Nor do I think he sabotaged Connor Shaw's efforts. In fact as I re-watched the game this morning Shaw did have a deep ball thrown to Alshon Jeffery. However, I do think it was a simple Win-Win decision for Coach Spurrier to make. Meaning, if Shaw drives down the field and scores and takes charge then the more the merrier. Either way, starting Connor Shaw puts the underdog mentality squarely on Garcia. Coach knows we need Garcia down the stretch and we need the full backing of the fans.

But I do agree with MotorCityChicken that Coach did not WANT Shaw to play poorly. I think HBC is too competitive for any orchestrations that would jeopardize victory!




Marty :: 
In my previous blog post about Coach Spurrier being a "Mad Genius" for his decisions, I never meant to imply he was evil. I was discussing how SMART his decisions were and how most of the media missed out on the fact that (in my opinion) a lot of his "antics" are things he does on purpose to make his players be in the best position possible to win games. Some folks at some forums have decided to post that what I was writing was making him look like an evil villain in a James Bond film or something, and really all I meant was that his actions were ON PURPOSE.
So don't confuse my alliances here. I am not trying to make Coach Spurrier look devious or evil. I was just trying to make a quick metaphor to communicate how smart what he was doing was! GO COCKS!

Tune in soon for some responses to some individual posts that I have read on the GamecockCentral.com website concerning my "Mad Genius" post.


Marty :: 
I have always felt like Steve Spurrier's true genius manifested itself in ways that regular media members often ignored. I remember the "Free Shoes University" and the "Echo of the whistle" comments he made about Florida State leading up to the National Championship game and how all the media wanted to make him out to be this whiny, arrogant, coach that liked running up the score. The real genius that was overlooked by the media was how his Heisman winning quarterback didn't have to sit through interview after interview about how the Heisman often struggles to win championship games. Coach Spurrier diverted all that media frenzy with his comments. The media frenzy was only concerned with Coach Spurrier's comments and Coach got to do all those interviews that distract the Heisman winners from the actual game!
Cool Picture of Garcia Running for a
touchdown would be here if I could
afford the licensing fees to photos
taken by the Gamecock photographers
I will outline some other examples at the end of this blog post as to why Steve Spurrier's perceived arrogance is actually all part of his master plan to manipulate the media into doing his bidding for him, but the brunt of this article is devoted to the number 1 reason. That starting Connor Shaw, much to the dismay of the main stream media, is actually a stroke of genius by Coach Spurrier!

For months now, Gamecock fans everywhere have been drastically divided on whether or not to get behind Stephen Garcia because of all of his antics. Some message boards have even questioned whether or not Garcia should have been let back on the team at all! Coach Spurrier realizes that he cannot win an SEC Title or a National Championship without an entire city, school, and team united behind it's quarterback. (This may be overly dramatic, but certainly Coach Spurrier believes the media darling role has never come naturally to Garcia so he needs a little help in this department.)

So Coach Spurrier decides to honor the militant, over zealous work ethic of Connor Shaw and reward him the start. This was the most UNIFYING thing Coach Spurrier has ever done in his tenure as the Gamecocks coach. I will repeat, THIS WAS THE MOST UNIFYING thing that Coach Spurrier has ever done since becoming the coach at South Carolina. How is this unifying when everyone hated it, you say? Well you answered your own question! Coach Spurrier decides to use his cockiness and arrogance to manipulate the media devils into spinning this story in favor of his quarterback.



Photo from Rivals.com
HOW can Coach Spurrier do this to a fifth year senior and by far the "toughest" quarterback we have ever had ( I still remember him limping the entire game back to the huddle as he commanded us past the then #4 ranked Rebels from Ole Miss. ) The forums were blowing up with talk of how stupid Coach Spurrier was to do this.

So in an act of seeming grand posturing and control-freakishness, Coach Spurrier puts all the negative on HIS "decision," (instead of his players' actions) and FORCES the media devils to start writing positive things about Garcia. I am telling you, this man is a genius. I bet even Ron Morris himself was ready to throw Garcia a bone of encouragement over this decision. I am certian Ron Morris will slice Coach Spurrier in half over it based on how stupid this decision looks in hindsight. I can predict Coach Spurrier's comments will be, "Yup, we just had to play the best quarterback from camp in that first quarter, and that was Connor, but old Stephen came in and played pretty good, so he'll probably start against Georgia." You can almost feel the wink from Coach Spurrier as he says it!

If Garcia goes in and plays in the first quarter of the first game in the sweaty humidity and fumbles like Shaw did, folks would immediately instinctively start wondering, "Did he work hard enough in the off season, did he really put the time in, can Connor Shaw be a better player this year for this team?" Doing it this way throws ALL of the positive forces BEHIND GARCIA who Coach Spurrier KNOWS is the key to the magical run ahead of the Gamecocks. As great as Lattimore and Jeffery are (and now we can say Clowney too, right?) they can only probably get us 8-10 wins on their own with any old quarterback. That gutsy intangible quarterback play provided by Stephen Garcia is what is going to make this year HISTORICAL. I am not saying that Lattimore and Jeffery aren't the bigger reasons for greatness, I am just saying, without the "Garcia factor" we won't win it all!

NOTE: As I am typing this blog post, ESPN is recapping the ECU vs Gamecocks game and the announcer said, "After coming in for relief, The GARCIA show continues..." Come on! You think Coach Spurrier didn't KNOW this was going to happen! Why are we calling plays with Shaw throwing to Barnes (who is a fine player, not taking away from him) but Garcia's first pass play is a fake reverse bomb to Alshon? Incomplete, I am just saying.) If Connor Shaw's first scripted plays would have been dumps to Marcus and deep balls to Alshon, don't you think he would have done better? THIS WAS ORCHESTRATED PEOPLE!

A quick google tonight for the word, "gamecock" rendered this interesting result.
Google News Result for the word "gamecocks" after the ECU win.
Don't you think Coach Spurrier knew that Garcia's name would be in every headline. I wouldn't be surprised if Garcia throws for 300 yards against Georgia after this heroic "off the bench" game, if some publications don't start mixing him in the Heisman race with Alshon and Lattimore!

Now the media will be instinctively rooting for Garcia to pull this thing off. At least for a few weeks. I am sure their questions will be, "Did it feel good to go out there and provide that seasoned leadership that we have seen from you in the past? Did it seem odd that you didn't get to start as a fifth year senior?" And Garcia will get to answer in Coach Spurrier trained fashion, "Well sort of, but really, I just go out there and play the best I can and see what happens. We'll just take the win how we can get it and try and correct our mistakes."

I am telling you - Steve Spurrier orchestrates these things, and the media won't give him credit for it. It takes a comedian to write a blog post about it to reveal the truth about Steve Spurrier. And if he is asked, I am sure his response will be, "Naw, we don't think about those things, we just think about ways we can beat Georgia, you know?" He knows if he ever lets on, the gig will be up. So he will continue to brainwash the media into writing about his supposed arrogance and cockiness and manipulate them into writing stories he wants written about his team, like "How great was Stephen Garcia tonight?"

Other Examples of Same Type Thing in the Past

Yes, Coach Spurrier comes across as arrogant or cocky at times, but I have always felt like it was part of his cosmic plan. A few years ago after the Kentucky game that USC won in a nail-biter that included a Hail Mary completion in the waning seconds that ultimately fell short but scared everyone, Coach Spurrier was asked, "Why were we in such a loose prevent and still gave up that long pass at the end?" His answer was simply, "You know what? I was thinking the same thing, let's get the defensive secondary coach in here and let him answer that." This played out cocky and arrogant at first glance, but what it really did was give that coach a chance to impress the media with his explanation and actually be held accountable for his coaching. Which is yet another fancy "cocky" way the Head Ball Coach manipulates the media for his own team's ultimate success.



...

When Tommy Bowden was crying about his salary not being as high as Coach Spurrier's his response was simply, "Why doesn't Coach Bowden just go and ask the President for more money, I am sure they will pay it to him." This looks cocky at first glance, but what Coach Spurrier was actually doing was forcing the hand of the media to actually take that comment back to the Clemson campus and put it in Bowden's face. Which he then could use on recruiting trips. "Hey All-American Player XYZ, don't you think it's odd how Clemson's coach probably asked for more money like I did, but Clemson decided not to give it to him?" Again, the method behind this madness is lost in the media's fascination with trying to point out that Steve Spurrier is simply arrogant.
...

When Len Robbins picked South Carolina as a pre-season number one ranked team for the New York Post, Coach Spurrier's comment to this was, "Yeah, we are the sexy pick this year aren't we?" This seems arrogant on the surface, but what the media fails to inject into their stories about Coach Spurrier is what affect this confidence has on the PLAYERS. You don't think the players are not whispering in the locker-room about how Coach Spurrier flat out predicted great things for this team?
...

How about when practices were "going to be closed to the public?" This was also orchestrated by the underground forces of Coach Spurrier's genius plan. This way he gets to tell the media, "Well, NFL teams open up those practices so why can't we?" And then he comes across as the coach that "looked out for the fans!" And also he kept other practices of opponents open as well in case we have spies there. (I made this last part up, but that sounds good if you understand the dynamics I am discussing.)
...

He has allowed Garcia to speak to the media this year. This is all part of the master plan people! Now we have gotten to know Stephen a little more. We are on-board with his changed attitude. We are rooting for him! And then he gets benched! NOOOOOO! Put Garcia in, coach!!! You can almost feel the swell of 73,000 screaming Gamecock fans demanding that Garcia play, when only four short months ago probably half of those fans were calling for his head!
...

So to all the Gamecock Nation out there that thinks starting Connor Shaw at quarterback makes Coach Spurrier strange, unpredictable, and over the hill, I say, you couldn't be more wrong about your assessment! Do your homework. Look back on what Coach Spurrier has accomplished and simply TRUST HIM!

GO COCKS!

P.S. -Also noteworthy: Look for upcoming blog posts about how Bruce Ellington is the x-factor in this year's championship run. I have been saying for a full year since I was privileged enough to do Berkeley's high school highlight film for Dr. Jerry Brown's team that Bruce Ellington is the best player in South Carolina since Freddie Solomon!


Marty :: 
People have asked me why I make fun of my former team, the South Carolina Gamecocks in my act. The simple answer is, because I have a sense of humor.

I love my Gamecocks! I will bleed Garnet and Black until I die. Just because I point out a few misfortunate foibles of our storied past doesn't mean I am not a loyal fan and supporter! But lighten up people, they are JOKES! And I would challenge anyone to refute any truths pointed out in the jokes I tell on stage about the Gamecocks! Laugh at yourself before the world laughs at you, and then instead they will laugh WITH YOU!

I thought I would take the time to explain my jokes about the Gamecocks, so I could start referring people to this blog post, instead of defending it over and over again via email! Now that the blog has a few hits going to it, I thought it might be time to post this explanation of some of my jokes.

I really only tell jokes or stories on stage that are based on true, real life, experiences I have had. Therefore, my Gamecock humor is rooted in that same truth.

It is clear that some of the basis for the humor in my Gamecock material is fast disappearing (with all the recent success and all) but the historical pretext is and always will be there. I fully expect us to win big this year, making some of my jokes become more and more obsolete, but not FALSE!

The jokes I tell about the Gamecocks are either FACTUALLY accurate, or happened to me while I played there. It is as simple as that.

Just be excited that the days of the Chicken Curse are long stomped out by Ray Tanner and Michael Roth and company and Coach Spurrier will continue to bury the curse over the next few seasons!

For those of you that cannot find the humor in my Gamecock jokes because you are offended as a Gamecock fan, I suppose there is nothing I can say to you, other than to predict you are one of those type fans that wants Clemson's bus to crash on the way to the game. I want bad things to happen to Clemson during the game sure! But I don't want bad things to happen to Clemson off the field! I would go so far as to say I was willing to pull for Clemson in a bowl game if they weren't playing an S.E.C. team. I have many friends that are great people that went to Clemson and still work there.

It's time to lighten up people! Coach Tanner and Coach Spurrier have changed the culture at South Carolina forever! Not being able to make fun of the past simply is short-sighted.

And remember this: After we win 12 or 13 or 14 games this year, our overall historical football record will still only be about .5 of a percent above 500! That means that we have the best fans in America! Because our fans pack the house every year for a hundred years knowing that ... well, we might win! It's a coin toss really!

GO COCKS!


Marty :: 

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