Gamecock Talk: Questions Answered

The publisher of was kind enough to answer several questions from our readers about the upcoming game between No. 1 Florida and South Carolina. The Gators travel to Williams Bryce Stadium for another game against the Ole Ball Coach. Here is what Jonathan Jolley of Gamecock Anthem had to say.

Fightin' Gators Subscriber: We all know Spurrier hates to lose. How much longer do you really think Spurrier will coach?

Gamecock Anthem Publisher: Spurrier's current contract runs through the 2012 season, and while the job to build USC into a legitimate SEC contender has taken longer than he would've hoped, the Head Ball Coach has reiterated on multiple occasions, both privately and publicly, that he wants to coach for a few more years to see the players from the highly touted 2009 signing class develop and play out their eligibility. That class includes freshman standouts like Alshon Jeffery, Stephon Gilmore, Devonte Holloman, Jarvis Giles, and others.

Fightin' Gators Subscriber: What is it going to take to flip the switch for a QB like Garcia. He seems to have all the tools, but just can't get the offense moving.

Gamecock Anthem Publisher: Garcia has actually made tremendous strides as a quarterback in Spurrier's offense since last season. He currently ranks second in the SEC in both passing yards per game and total offense, ahead of Tim Tebow. Garcia has more 300-yard passing games (3) than any other QB in the SEC this season, and he has a respectable 13-6 touchdown to interception ratio. He has improved by leaps and bounds in his understanding of the offense and has cut down on the mistakes that plagued him last season, but he still has plenty of room to improve to meet Spurrier's high expectations. Many around the USC football program believe that Garcia, now only a redshirt sophomore, will leave Columbia as the school's all time leading passer by the time he exhausts his eligibility. The real problems for the Gamecock offense have stemmed from a lack of toughness up front, untimely turnovers and penalties, and the lack of a consistent running game to complement the passing attack.

Fightin' Gators Subscriber: Why has it been so hard for him to recruit a good qb since he has left Florida.

Gamecock Anthem Publisher: As mentioned above, Stephen Garcia is well on his way to becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the SEC. Besides Garcia though, Spurrier and the Gamecocks have missed on some quarterback evaluations during his tenure in Columbia. Quite simply, Spurrier doesn't have the talent pool to draw from in the Palmetto State that he used to have at his disposal in Florida. With that said, the Gamecocks are excited about 2010 quarterback commitment Connor Shaw, who many believe is the top signal-caller in the state of Georgia this year.

Fightin' Gators Subscriber: The South Carolina pass D is ranked 7th in the country. What do you think the key to the success has been?

Gamecock Anthem Publisher: The Gamecocks have consistently produced top tier DB talent over the past decade, and South Carolina's program is even beginning to get some recognition nationally as one of the top defensive back pipelines into the NFL. This year's unit has continued that tradition despite the overall youth of the group, and much of the credit goes to new Cornerbacks Coach Lorenzo Ward for grooming true freshman phenom Stephon Gilmore and sophomores Akeem Auguste and C.C. Whitlock into quality SEC caliber corners after the Gamecocks lost their top three corners from a year ago.

Fightin' Gators Subscriber: I'd be interested in a status report on Chris Culliver and how he is coming along as a player.

Gamecock Anthem Publisher: Culliver has been plagued by a nagging shoulder injury this season, but when healthy he is one of the top playmakers on the Gamecock defense. Also, the junior speedster has already broken the South Carolina school record for kickoff return yards in a career.

Fightin' Gators Subscriber: Let's play the what if game. If Spurrier would to retire at the end of this season, who would be the top 3 choices to replace him as the Head Ball Coach?

Gamecock Anthem Publisher: That's a difficult question to answer. There hasn't been any credible evidence on the South Carolina end to support the idea that Spurrier will leave after this season, so naturally there's been no talk of possible replacements.

Fightin' Gators Subscriber: What about our offense will be the hardiest for you to stop? What do you guys think your advantage is over us?

Gamecock Anthem Publisher: I believe Florida's running game will cause the Gamecocks some problems. The South Carolina defense has been stout against the pass for most of the season, but they have been exploited on the ground at times this fall, especially the past couple of weeks with injuries piling up on that side of the ball. Youthful mistakes like poor pursuit angles and not wrapping up have plagued the Gamecocks in losses to Tennessee and Arkansas the past two games, and Florida is certainly capable of making the USC defense pay if that doesn't improve in a hurry. Truthfully, it's difficult to find an area where South Carolina has a decisive advantage on the field in this game, but this young Gamecock team does tend to play better at home, where they are undefeated so far this season. It will take an inspired effort by the Gamecocks, feeding off the home crowd, to have a chance to upset the Gators on Saturday.

Fightin' Gators Subscriber: Please speak to the fast development of Alshon Jeffrey. He seemed to have the "light come on" in the UK game. Is that accurate? Do you expect it to continue?

Gamecock Anthem Publisher: Alshon Jeffery is a special young player at wide receiver, and the scary part is that he's still learning the offense. He's also still very raw physically after not going through a true football strength and conditioning program in high school because he was always busy playing basketball during the offseason. Once he fully grasps the offense and experiences the benefit of time in USC's strength and conditioning program, he'll almost certainly belong in the same conversation as A.J. Green and Julio Jones as one of the premier wide receivers in the SEC.

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