Tidbits -November 14 2019

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY

I DON’T CARE, PART 4

  Firstly, let me say I did not watch one play of the Appalachian State - Carolina game.
  I watched the Clemson-N.C. State game. I like watching a team who can pass, run, throw, and can score more points on one quarter that the Gamecocks can score in four.
  Before I proceed, let me ask how many Gamecocks fans were surprised by the loss to Appalachian State? That’s what I thought.
  After four years of the Will Muschamp era, fans expect the worse.
  The University of Georgia should be so ashamed to have lost to this bunch, and the University of South Carolina football team should be ashamed of the fact that after beating the number three team in the country they have gone downhill, going 1-3.
  While I was writing this, I heard Jimmy Johnson say, after the one win Falcons beat the one loss Saints, “every good team has a clunker.”
  That’s what happened to Georgia.
  Carolina is not a good team, but has had clunkers against Virginia in the bowl game, North Carolina, Missouri, the second half of Florida, second half of Tennessee and Appalachian State. That is too many clunkers for a coach in his fourth year, who said this was going to be his best team.
  Unless the world ends, or Texas A&M and Clemson both have one of those clunkers, the Gamecocks are going to be 4-8.
  Florida went 4-8 in Muschamp’s fourth season, and he got fired immediately after his team lost to Carolina.
  I will point out, Muschamp’s replacement came in and won the SEC East two years in a row with Will’s players.
  It took someone else to bring out the talent in Muschamp’s recruits. He couldn’t do it.
  Maybe, he has talent at Carolina, too. I don’t know where it is, but maybe.
  The injury excuse card has been played for four years. There should be enough depth that a school from the Southeastern Conference should not lose to a team with a 28,000 seat stadium that you paid $900,000 to beat your butt in your house.
  Saluda High School has faster  receivers than the Gamecocks, as do many high schools.
  An offensive  line that has built over four years shouldn’t get manhandled by a much smaller defensive line from a team that used to be in the Southern Conference,
  The Mountaineers were 7-1 and ranked for most of the year, but they got beat at their place by Georgia Southern last week. Georgia Southern scored over 30 points. Carolina scored 15.
  Earlier in the year, App State also beat North Carolina. I’ll give the Tar Heels a pass, however, because they were under a new coach and were coming off a 2-9 season. Didn’t that 2-9 returning team beat the Gamecocks in the opener?
  What does Ray Tanner do? He took forever to hire Muschamp, even though he had extra time to work on finding a replacement because Spurrier quit in mid-year. This hire is on him.
  Florida State fired Willie Taggert last week in the middle of his second season. Arkansas followed suit by firing Chad Morris after he lost to Western Kentucky Saturday.
  Those are two excellent assistant coaches who couldn’t make it as head coaches. Call them, Will. Both were offensive assistants. You need desperately need offensive coaching help.
  Morris is the one who designed Clemson’s high powered offense.
  In his eight seasons as a head football coach, Muschamp has been known as a coach whose offenses struggle. He had three offensive coordinators at Florida, and two at Carolina and all of them have been offensive for having no offense.
  I realize players not executing can make coaches look bad, but no offenses for eight years????? Sounds like a head coach problem.
  Unless someone like Darla Moore chips in $22 million, I can’t see Muschamp getting fired. He has a good recruiting class lined up, but he needs to hire coaches to develop talent.
  He has done some things well. All 25 of this year’s seniors have either already graduated, or will graduate in December or May. That’s a good thing.
  He is a very likeable person, I just wish he could motivate his players to come out fired up.
  I blamed the slow starts on Jake Bentley the past three years, but Jake is injured, and only played the North Carolina game.
  Like Jimmy Johnson said, every good team has a clunker, but clunkers in 60 percent of your games is inexcusable for a team in the coach’s fourth year.
  The Mountaineers only other win against Carolina was in 1975. I witnessed that one in person.
  Oh, Carolina beat Clemson that year.
  I know you are quivering Tigers!

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

  Here we go to Buford again.
  Saluda is repeating last year’s playoff opponents, so far.
  We had to play Blacksburg at Gaffney last year in the opening round. Thankfully, the Wildcats had to come Friday night.
  But, because Buford is a higher seeded conference champion, the Tigers will have to make that long ride again Friday night for the second round, like last year.
  Prior to last year, I had heard of Buford, but I had no idea where it was.
  Even though I dated a girl from Lancaster many years ago, I never made to Buford High, which has a Lancaster address.
  When Danny Bledsoe, Wayne Grice and I made to Buford last year, we found a beautiful stadium with artificial turf.
  Like last year, the Tigers will practice at Newberry College one day during the week to get used to the surface.
  Also like last year, Blacksburg beat Buford by 20 points in the season’s opener. Saluda beat Blacksburg 42-6 last week, and the score could have been much worse had the Tigers continued to throw the ball in the second half, but they chose not to run the score up further.
  We can’t let what happened 11 weeks ago make us think this is going to be an easy game. Buford started out slow, but was undefeated in conference play.
  If the Tigers win, it will be back to Southside Christian of the Sabres beat B&L Friday.
  When I mentioned player development, or lack thereof by Muschamp and staff, I think of the progress some Saluda players made in one season.
  Last year, Jervon Whitt caught two passes for seven yards. This year, he has caught 34 for 730 yards and 14 touchdowns. Dallan Wright caught 27 passes last year for six touchdowns. This year he has caught 59 for 925 yards and 17 touchdowns. Zaye Bryant caught 15 passes last year. This year he has caught 38.
  Montrevious Baker rushed for 92 yards last year. This year he has 575.
  The Tigers lose a lot of talent this season, but the above figures show how much progress players came make in a year’s time.

RERUNS

  Motte Jean Yarbrough brought me a bunch of old papers his late father, Motte, collected.
  Every time Motte Jean leaves, he says “That ought to be it,” then a few weeks later he brings in another batch.
Most of the paper are old Saluda Standard, Saluda County Sentinels and Saluda Standard-Sentinels. I sure have enjoyed looking through them.
Of course, when I’m looking through the papers, I have to read my old columns.
  One I came across over the weekend was from the July 21, 1988, paper.
  I few months earlier, I had written a column about an amazing light bulb that had been burning in the house across the street from the then Sentinel office since 1919.
  The house’s owner Murray Gunter invited me to cross the street and see the tiny bulb in “action.”
  Well, as you know writing about a record is the same as mentioning it on TV, “He’s made 99 free throws in a row.” Clunk
 Just a few months after I wrote about the bulb, a tree limb fell across a powerline and it blew out the bulb.
  The final paragraph said, “Naturally, Murray Gunter was saddened by the demise of the little bulb, but said he is going to write the company to see if he can get his money. After all, the bulb didn’t even last 70 years!”