Boyd's Two TD's Lead Black To 14-7 Victory
After Hootie & the Blowfish warmed up the crowd with an hour-long concert, the Gamecocks took the field. The game was frequently sloppy, as most spring games are, and the defenses clearly had the upper hand against the offenses. For those keeping score at home, the Black team beat the Garnett team 14-7, off two Cory Boyd touchdowns. After the game, Steve Spurrier broke down what he saw on the field, and what he expects as the team heads into summer workouts.
Not surprisingly, the Ball Coach was concerned primarily with the offense. However, he noted that he really likes what he sees from Tyrone Nix's defense. "I think our defense has a good idea of what we want to do next year," he said. "I like what we're doing over there. Obviously our defensive players are handling the offensive guys right now. We've got better players up front. We're a little stronger and faster. I think our corners are playing better. Our offensive line, I think, got steamrolled by the defensive line."
Spurrier cautioned against getting too worked up over the defensive prowess in the spring game, saying "I think we're a lot better on defense, but until we beat somebody in a real game, I don't need to be talking. It seems like every time we have a pretty good defensive game around here, we go bad after that. We need to do it against Georgia and against Louisiana-Lafayette."
On the offensive side of the ball, everything kept coming back to the offensive line. "We're in dire straits on the offensive line right now," Spurrier said. "We're not very good." When asked how the coaches would try to fix the problems, Spurrier replied, "We're just trying to find out who can play, and give everybody a chance." He then pointed a finger at three linemen in particular that he feels like have not lived up to expectations. "Some of these guys need to grow up. Garrett Anderson, Hutch Eckerson, and Heath Batchelor, they're going into their second year. Hopefully they'll grow up this summer and get a little fire and a little toughness about them. I think they have the ability to do it, but they haven't demonstrated it yet." Spurrier was happier with the way the offensive line opened holes for running backs Bobby Wallace and Cory Boyd, but he joked, "We just run draw plays mostly, which is of course our favorite play because you don't have to block anybody."
On the day, Wallace carried 10 times for 67 yards. He made some impressive cuts that left defenders grasping at air. Boyd rushed 8 times for 61 yards and a pair of first quarter scores. Spurrier praised both, saying, "Bobby Wallace had some nice carries" and "Cory Boyd made a few good runs here and there."
Caption: The Garnet team takes the field at the beginning of Saturday's Garnet and Black Game.
He had less positive things to say about the wide receivers. "Our receivers don't get open," Spurrier said plainly. "There weren't a lot of wide-open guys out there. Until we get some guys in here that can run past [defenders], it's going to continue to be a struggle. If you can't run past a guy he is going to sit there about 8-10 yards [back] and just bump you around. That's what they are doing to most of our guys right now." As he has said all spring, Spurrier added, "That's not our final team out there. I say that after every spring. When the rest of the guys get here, then we will see where we are. We've got some speed guys coming in at receiver that I think can really help us. I'm hoping Chris Culliver can learn how to play receiver, because we need a 4.2-4.3 guy out there. We need somebody who can fly."
Spurrier saved his greatest concern for his favorite position: quarterback. Neither Blake Mitchell nor Chris Smelley played especially well. Smelley went 10-22 for 83 yards and an interception. Mitchell looked off all day, going 13-39 for 150 yards and a touchdown, but also threw a pair of picks. Spurrier's first comment in his press conference was "Chris Smelley threw better than our other quarterback threw."
He finally decided to mention the "other quarterback" by name, saying, "Blake struggled, no question about it. He played about like this last year in the spring game. I hate going into the offseason with your quarterback hitting 13-39 when the other team only played two coverages. I wish Blake would have played a lot better today, but it is what it is."
"What was disappointing was when we did have a few guys open he didn't hit them. I understand that the protection was not very good. When he did have some time, and he did have a few guys here and there, he didn't make some real good throws, and he usually does. I was really surprised that he missed the guys he had a chance to hit, when he had time." Spurrier did say that he sees Mitchell as the unquestioned starter, and the only competition at that position is to be Mitchell's backup.
- Linebacker Dustin Lindsey left the game with a sprained knee. He had an MRI done to determine if there was a tear in his MCL, but the results are not yet known.
- Marvin Sapp broke a bone in his ankle. Sapp will likely be fitted with a cast. There were no other injuries to report.
- The new Under Armour uniforms were unveiled at halftime. Cory Boyd, Kenny McKinley, and Casper and Jasper Brinkley modeled the new duds as they strutted for the cameras. Spurrier gave some insight into the negotiation process after the game. "Under Armour really wanted us. Fortunately, Nike came after us and ran the deal up to where it is really the best outfitting deal we've ever come close to here."
- A large contingent from Fort Jackson took in the game. The soldiers were thanked with several ovations.
- Ryan Succop attempted a 57-yard field goal that was wide right. Kicking off from the 30 instead of the 35, both his kickoffs reached the end zone, but were returned.
- With the quarterbacks struggling, Spurrier brought up suspended quarterback Stephen Garcia. "It's too bad Garcia messed up when he got here," Spurrier said, "because he could have played at least half or three-quarters of that game, and see what he could have done. As long as he stays straight, and we don't have to go bail him out of the slammer, he'll be all right. He'll either straighten up or he'll be gone, simple as that. The next thing he does, he knows he's gone."
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