Frisby's Corner: Week Three

Tim "Pops" Frisby, one of the all time fan favorites at South Carolina, played wide receiver for the Gamecocks during the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and he will now be sharing his insider perspective in a weekly column called "Frisby's Corner." Read inside for the third edition of this exciting and insightful piece, as Frisby shares his thoughts on the Carolina/Wofford game from this past weekend.

Tim Frisby can be heard on ESPN Radio's "The Sports Drive With RT" on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 3-6 p.m. on 93.1 FM in Columbia.

This was Wofford for heaven sakes! The clock struck twelve on Wofford Saturday night, and they turned back into a pumpkin. There would be no storybook ending for the Terriers. The very play that gave the Gamecock defense fits throughout the evening would be their undoing. Dakota Walker put an end to the fairytale with one "I've had enough of this" bull rush and batting down of the football. The Terriers had gone one too many times to the well and finally came up empty. The option play that had worked for them all evening failed them when they most needed it. The result, a 27-20 loss to the Gamecocks of South Carolina. Dakota's play seemed to sum up the Carolina evening. The Gamecocks turned up the heat when needed, but never achieved a consistent boil against the scrappy bunch from Spartanburg.


Coach Spurrier said he would have to watch the tape to decide whether or not his replacements on the offensive line (Eckerson, Edwards, and Anderson) blocked any better then his previous lineman (Brown, Thind, and Coleman). I don't have to watch the tape to conclude that there is still much work needed. I think the "Under Construction" sign will still be hanging on the O-Line door in the Crews Building this week. To me, the most impressive of the replacements was Garrett Anderson. He played a solid though not error free game. Hutch Eckerson was beat early on for a sack and struggled to keep his man out of the backfield on numerous occasions. Converted defensive lineman Seth Edwards showed flashes and opened some nice holes for Cory Boyd. One notable block by Edwards sprung Boyd for his 10-yard first half touchdown. Coach Hunt will continue to shuffle around the offensive line until he is comfortable with a combination.


Cory Boyd may have cemented himself in the number one tailback position with his performance on Saturday evening. Why? Because he was the only Gamecock rusher that showed up once again. Boyd had 11 carries for 74 yards, a school record tying 3 rushing TD's, a 40-yard long run, and a 6.7 yards per carry average. Syvelle Newton aside (13-67, 28 long, 5.2 avg), the next Gamecock rusher (Mike Davis) had 5 carries for 13 yards. Boyd made the most of finding holes where there generally were none.

With nagging injuries continuing to plague fullback Lanard Stafford, it's become difficult for Carolina to generate a forceful lead block in the running game. Although Jared Cook provides an improved pass catching threat from the tight end position, he is a year or so away from providing consistent blocking from that position. All that being said, our running backs accounted for an anemic 87 yards (removing Moe Brown, and Syvelle Newton from the equation.) Put any spin on it you like, but this is unacceptable against a Division I-AA opponent. I don't care how super a job Wofford coach (Mike) Ayers did with his kids. This was Wofford for heaven sakes!


Sidney Rice came out of his sophomore slump with a much-needed big game. He returned to form with a spectacular one handed 1st Quarter grab. Sidney finished the night with 7 catches for 151 yards. However, other than two long strikes from Newton, Rice was once again confined to a horizontal game with many of his receptions coming on hitch routes. I understand that defenses are keying on Rice, but we must find a way to get Sidney in space and allow him to go up top and make some grabs. Saturday night was a good start. However, one promising play resulted in an uncharacteristic Rice drop on a post route. It will take a little time for Sidney to adjust to Syvelle's passes on mid-range routes, because Syvelle puts some zing on the ball and it gets to receivers much faster then Blake's' throws. Kenny McKinley came up with two grabs, one for 24 yards. Moe Brown showed flashes of things to come as he made his first career reception for 15 yards and came a block away from springing the end around for big yardage. Once again no signs of life from O.J. Murdock.


"Don't rule out the return of Syvelle Newton to the QB position. Honestly, with the lack of O-line protection I truly believe that the Gamecocks need to utilize their most mobile quarterback. If our QB is literally going to have to make decisions on the run, then who better to be at the helm then one Syvelle Newton?" (From Frisbys' Corner, Week #2)

After a two-year wait, Syvelle Newton was finally back where he wanted to be on Saturday night. Although he was shaking off two years of rust, he was able to spark a previously stagnant Gamecock offense. Syvelle's final stat line read 12 for 18, 1 Interception, 196 yards passing and 13 carries for 67 yards rushing. The difference of course was Syvelle's ability to escape the pass rush and make something happen with his feet. Although this was a great start for him, there is much to be worked on here. Syvelle has never played in a system that requires him to be a drop back passer and remain in the pocket. He is still not comfortable with the idea of taking his steps and letting the ball go to a receiver that is supposed to be in an area. Syvelle was hesitant on a few routes that caused him to either overthrow the ball or turn up field before the play developed. To his credit, he was able to get Sidney Rice back involved in the offense. A priority of Coach Spurrier this week will be getting Syvelle to take his steps and trust the system.

Obviously Coach Spurrier does not believe that Chris Smelley is ready to lead the Carolina offense just yet. I believe that Smelley may be the future, but Coach Spurrier has decided he wants to play for the here and now. Smelley, in all likelihood, will become the odd man out in the quarterback rotation. Coach Spurrier does not want to sacrifice this season, and he is most comfortable playing signal callers with some seasoning.

Don't get your underwear in a bunch. I have a sneaking suspicion we may not have seen the last of Blake Mitchell this season. I am basing this prediction on the progression or possible lack thereof of Syvelle Newton in Coach Spurrier's system. If Syvelle buys into the system and makes the required throws while adding his elusiveness, Blake may be picking splinters the remainder of the year. However, if Newton struggles with the passing game, I see a two-quarterback system emerging on the horizon.

At this point, Cade Thompson seems to be the #3 quarterback behind Newton and Mitchell. Thompson possesses a vast knowledge of the offense and is ready for duty if the other two should falter.


"Tackling!!" Jasper Brinkley could not have said it any better. If the Gamecock defense lacked anything Saturday night, that was it. Time after time the Wofford offense ran the quarterback sweep with a toss pitch once we committed to the QB, and to their credit, time and again that play proved to be successful. We finally got the defense right on the final play of the game to avoid an embarrassment of epic proportions.

The secondary was never challenged Saturday evening and spent most of the night in run support.

I have to give credit to a few defensive players that stepped up on Saturday:

First and foremost I would like to note the outstanding play of Dakota Walker. Mr. Walker was all over the field and gave Wofford fits in the backfield.

Welcome back Stanley Doughty! The "Big Cheese" was back to his old self stuffing the run and getting penetration.

Jasper Brinkley played a solid game and was honest in his assessment of the Carolina defensive effort. "We did not take this team lightly, but we were bigger, stronger, faster, and more aggressive. However, we did not get the job done tackling this evening. The total defense is to blame for our poor tackling and we have to address it this week in practice."

I also have to mention Cody Wells. Cody was hitting with authority and disrupting plays with his aggressive style.

I am concerned that we were not able to get up field with pressure against the option attack. Marvin Sapp and Curtis Rice showed flashes, but overall they did not display enough intensity and had too many missed assignments. Pressure from our defensive ends would have blown up much of the option attack and forced them up inside to the teeth of the defense, but that clearly did not happen for the majority of the night.


Coach Spurrier is at his wits end with the offensive line. He did not get the performance that he was expecting out of his team on Saturday night, and if anything, the team's performance opened up new questions of concern. Coach Spurrier will fill this week doing something that he is a genius at - "teaching." He will continue to mentor and mold Syvelle into a quarterback that can successfully lead the team through the remainder of the season. Stopping the run will be at the top of his list as well.

Coach put on his best post game face on Saturday night, but I know him better than that. Coach always makes eye contact with me at the post game conference, and his look told me, "I'll get this thing figured out Friz, it's only a matter of time."


I predicted earlier in the season that Howard Schellenberger would give a major team some trouble this year. Let's hope it is not our Gamecocks this week. Don't be surprised to see Coach Spurrier use two quarterbacks against Florida Atlantic. Coach is too smart to place all of his eggs in one basket. We will need two QB's fully prepared for the Auburn game, and this is our last tune-up. Look for Coach Nix to get back to the 4-3 defense with some minor player changes. Offensively look for Syvelle to air the ball out more (pending protection), and if our protection breaks down, look for more of the same from what we saw Saturday night. We cannot afford to look past this game, but we will come out of this game 3-1 (1-1 in the SEC) with a short week to prepare for Auburn. Hopefully we can answer some questions on both sides of the ball and prepare for Auburn on a positive note. BEAT FLORIDA ATLANTIC, GO COCKS!!!!

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