Scouting S.C. State: How The Tigers Win
1. Focus on focus: If you thought last week put 'nameless, faceless opponent' to the test, then check out how the Tigers handle their come-down this Saturday. Getting refocused and on-task will be challenge No. 1 when a whole different set of Bulldogs arrive from Orangeburg for an in-state chance at the big stage. A year ago, Dabo Swinney's Tigers minimized their emotional ups and downs and took care of business week-by-week-by-week. We'll get another glimpse of this team's identity by how it handles South Carolina State.
2. Get better: Coming out of an opener against a team like Georgia, there's always going to be room for improvement. Another litmus test of the Tigers' focus will come week-by-week in how well they improve on whatever let them down the previous game. Swinney has been preaching since April that every game, and every practice, is an opportunity to grow. If the Tigers improve their deficiencies - in this case eliminating costly drops in the passing game and glitches in game-tempo - it should be a long day for the Bulldogs.
3. Invest: The Tigers need a fast, sharp start. If they jump on top and establish control, then they'll have a chance for a long-term 'win' by investing playing time in their younger players. For Week 2, there could be no more productive outcome. Average teams muddle through games like this, but good teams take advantage of their opportunity to build depth and experience. A convincing performance by the starters, followed by quality reps for the backups, will help send the Tigers on their way to mid-season form.