Gamecocks looking for a complete performance
To beat Arkansas last Saturday, the USC offense would have had to play a perfect game. To beat 17th ranked Florida in Columbia this Saturday, the offense will have to come close to perfect.
Assuming the Carolina defense will rebound from a pitiful performance against the run because of wounded pride, the Gamecock offense will have a chance to continue its roll of scoring and gaining yardage; 501 against Tennessee followed by 489 against the Razorbacks.
USC Head Coach Steve Spurrier says, "Really I am not really proud with the way our offense has played the last two weeks. We've had crucial errors at crucial times. And we left a bunch of points out there against Arkansas." The mistakes stand out in Spurrier's mind: failing to line up properly on the 5 yard line, missing a couple of open receivers, a receiver blocking improperly downfield after a 20 yard gain. Mistakes like this will not beat a balanced Florida team.
"Florida probably has the best balanced offense in the league." said Spurrier, citing the versatile Percy Harvin who is listed as a wideout but runs from the tailback slot also. "Somehow or another we need to slow them down, and our offense needs to play extremely well if we are going to have a chance."
The Gators have the third ranked offense and seventh ranked defense in the SEC to go against the Gamecocks #8 offense and #8 defense. Florida is 10th against the pass out of the 12 SEC teams, and USC is first, so if the Gators run and USC passes as the statistics indicate, it could be a repeat of the Arkansas game. The Gamecocks need a different result, which means a perfect night offensively and/or some defensive stops. The difference could be special teams, where Spurrier joked this week that special teams "haven't done much except rough the punters" this season.
The key may be gaining confidence in the first quarter. "Hopefully we won't get way behind early - again," said Spurrier. "Offensively we need to do something early, stay on the field, try to make some first downs."
Senior center Web Brown says the offense needs to produce the entire game. "They are looking for a full game performance. If you get the five guys on the O-line playing consistently, together, all at the same times, that‘s when really, really good things start happening."
For Spurrier, the last second win scenario would be sweet this season. "I'd love to win a close game. I'd love to win one where the offense went down the field and scored at the end of the game, guy kicked a field goal to win the game, something like that. But it hasn't quite happened."
"That's a perfect scenario, just to go down and win on the last drive," says Brown.
"It would bring a greater satisfaction to coach, especially our line coach, and to the offensive line, just to go out there - perfect scenario, not have any penalties, to score on every drive, we go down and at least get three every drive," says Brown. "That type of scenario is the one that they (coaching staff) are kinda' looking for. It doesn't always happen that way."
"I think our morale is fine, I really do," says Spurrier. " We've been competitive, although we got, trampled is the word, last week. Like I told our guys, our offense had a really lousy game against Vandy and now our defense had their lousy game (Arkansas). We're hoping we can regroup and play a lot better."
Spurrier is staying positive despite the three straight losses and offensive and defensive problems. "I'm not discouraged. Our big recruiting class was last year, it wasn't three years ago. We've got a lot of players here that we believe are going to be outstanding players. Like I've said many times, our best team is not going to be this year, we didn't think it would be."
"We just have to keep playing our assignments," says senior fullback Lanard Stafford, who has yet to carry the football this season despite being first string all season. "I think we will get better and better, and we just have to keep playing our assignment."
"Everything will work out," says the former walk-on.
"We're a work in progress" says Spurrier. Progress would be a win over Florida to break a three game losing streak.
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