SCOTT: Gamecocks face tall task in Tigertown

Tennessee could use a break this week but might not get it against an Arkansas State offense that can run, pass, and score.

Arkansas has to rebound quickly from its last-second loss to Alabama by gearing up for a Kentucky passing attack that came out on the right side of its own last-second finish against No. 9 Louisville. Alabama has to turn right around and get ready for a Georgia team that should be rested and ready after beating up on Division I-AA Western Carolina.

And then there's South Carolina.

Coach Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks beat Georgia 16-12 two weeks ago by relying on the formula that worked in the SEC before Spurrier arrived: Run the ball, stop the run, play good defense, take care of the ball, and win with special teams. The only thing missing was the passing game Spurrier used to transform the SEC in the 1990s.

The Gamecocks might as well get used to it because it doesn't look like they're going to make any dramatic changes overnight – certainly not by the time they play at LSU on Saturday.

"I thought we had a chance to score a whole bunch of points, but we didn't," Spurrier said after last week's 38-3 victory over Division I-AA South Carolina State.

The Gamecocks actually have a chance to win the SEC East this year if they can force close games and find a way to win down the stretch as they did against Georgia. Still, it's hard to see that plan work against LSU this week. Then again, with Spurrier calling the shots, you never know.

"I guess we'll just put our running shoes on," Spurrier said. "If we go to LSU or at Arkansas, we'll probably have to win one of those low-scoring, 16-14 games."

Ole Miss at least gave itself a chance last year in close losses to LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia and Auburn by running the ball and playing defense. Those factors gave the Rebels something to hang their hat on last year and something to build on this year.

Instead, the Rebels find themselves searching for something to depend on. One week the Rebels can run the ball. The next week they can't. They came into the season thinking they would be better on defense and they aren't. All of that was evident last week in a 31-17 loss at Vanderbilt.

"It was really frustrating to see them drive the ball like that on us," Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron said.

The Rebels actually got two touchdown receptions from Michael Wallace, but they got little else from the rest of the team in a loss that will likely make them even more vulnerable this week when they play ... Florida.

"We've got to change," Orgeron said. "We've got to get better. I'm very disappointed. ... It's all about the truth. I've got to take the responsibility of it all and I do. We gotta get better. We've got a lot of ball left and we're gonna get better."


Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sports writer, author and featured columnist in Tiger Rag. Reach him at

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