After a 1,500 yard season last year, Alshon Jeffery looked to put up even bigger numbers during his junior campaign in 2011. However, the loss of his starting quarterback and all-American running back have put a damper not only on his receiving numbers, but also the offense as a whole.
Wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. commented on Alshon's struggles so far as well as what he expects from his top wide receiver the rest of the season.
"Sure, absolutely, we all would (like to see more production)," said Spurrier. "We've got to run to win so that's what we're going to do. Certainly Alshon's run some routes that he's open on and we're trying to get the ball out to him."
Despite three straight games where he has failed to break the thirty yard mark in receiving yards, Spurrier Jr. said that defenses have been mixing it up on the receiver, especially with the absence of a huge running threat.
"They've mixed it up enough to give him a hard time," said Spurrier. "But he's had other chances that we had a chance really to get the ball to him and we didn't We've just got to hang in there and keep playing, try to get better every week and hope to get the ball in the air. But again, unselfish guy, he'll do whatever it takes to win. If I get my opportunities, I'll take them, and if not I'll do whatever I've got to do. But yeah he thinks he's going to have an opportunity and hopefully we'll give it to him."
Spurrier Jr. also dismissed the notions that pass protection or quarterback inability are the biggest things to blame for Jeffery's lack of production, instead stressing that the opportunities have been and will be there.
"A lot of times it has been the defenses," said Spurrier. "They've actually put a safety a lot of times over the top of him. And there were a couple times we just didn't throw it to him. The protection was really good, we just threw it to somebody else. A lot of different reasons why but we really are pushing to get Alshon his opportunities. We really are."
Florida has given up their share of yards and points through the air this season, but Spurrier Jr. was quick to point out their strengths as a defense. He added that the Gamecocks and Alshon Jeffery will have their chances to make the plays necessary for a win, but going out and making them will still be a big challenge.
"I tell you what, Florida, statistically is pretty good," said Spurrier. "I think they're about fourth in every category in the SEC and I think they're total defense is fourth in the nation so I haven't seen a lot of people really expose them. But we're going to have a chance to throw the ball and matchup well with them this weekend. They play a good bit of cover-1 man-to-man coverage, we haven't seen a lot of that, so we're expecting our opportunities to go play."
An opening for Alshon?
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