Spurrier: No job is safe on offense

Carolina returned to the winning way against Wofford, but the victory was anything but inspiring. The second consecutive narrow win over the FCS Terriers has caused Steve Spurrier to go in search of a spark for the struggling Gamecocks. At practice on Monday, Spurrier declared that every position on offense is open for competition heading into this weekend's game against UAB.


"We're going to have tryouts this week to see who we think the best players are to go play," said Spurrier. "We're opening up all spots. We're not afraid to put anyone on the bench right now. I don't know anyone who has played so well on offense that he deserves to say, ‘Hey, I'm a starter.' We'll make some announcements Thursday as to who our starters are on offense."

Spurrier went on to express his frustration with the team.

"I'm tired of watching the way we play, and everybody's tired of watching the way we play," he said. "If we have to play a whole bunch of freshmen and walk-ons, I will do it. We'll find out which guys want to bust their tail and play all out for South Carolina. We all want that, and we just don't quite get it right now."

After the Wofford game, Spurrier indicated that the quarterback position could be up for grabs, and on Monday that was clearly the case. Chris Smelley has started the last three games, but that includes two losses and a sputtering offense. Tommy Beecher, who started the first game, has seemingly fallen off the radar and is now solidly third string. That means redshirt freshman Stephen Garcia is competing with Smelley for the starting job against UAB. The two split reps during practice Monday, and Spurrier refused to give either the edge.

"[Garcia] looked okay. He needs to make better decisions on where to throw it all the time, but so does Chris Smelley. He's in the mix. It will be either he or Chris Smelley starting the game."

The open competition even extended so far as position changes. C.C. Whitlock, a freshman receiver, has moved to the secondary, and safety Chris Hail has moved to wide receiver. Whitlock was recruited as a wide receiver/cornerback, but he had shown flashes at receiver, making the move a bit of a surprise.

"We put [Whitlock] over on defense," said Spurrier. "We need another safety or another corner. He went over there and Chris Hail went over to wide receiver. We did a little swap there to see if we can get those guys on the field a little bit more."

Asked what Hail brings to the offensive side of the ball, Spurrier indicated he is looking for big play ability.

"He can run fast and he can catch decently," he said. "We'll see if he can contribute over there."

Hail will have to wait a week to show if he can produce. He is one of four players suspended for the UAB game for academic issues. The others are Heath Batchelor, Jordin Lindsey, and Mike Davis. Linebacker Rodney Paulk will also miss the game with a left knee injury.


King believes offense can and will play better

Sophomore left tackle Jarriel King was named a captain last week, but this week he finds himself fighting for a job, and he would not have it any other way.

"That's how I feel they should be every week, offense and defense, to make the guys work harder," said the first year player. "It makes everybody know there is no specific spot you can lock down. Some guys get too comfortable with their spot and slack off. That's cool with me; I'm going to work for my position."

Being named a captain was something of a surprise move for King, since he has only been with the team since August. It shows the amount of respect the coaches and players have for King, who promised early on he would quickly earn a starting job.

"I was very surprised," King said. "It's nothing that I'm not used to, but here, I didn't expect for it to be this early."

Like all the Gamecocks, King was disappointed with the way the team played against Wofford. He made a point to credit the Terriers for a well played game, but he felt the Gamecocks should have played much better.

"We won, yeah; we're 2-2, we beat Wofford," he said, listing the positives. "Everyone expected us too and we expect to also, but it felt like we didn't do what we wanted to do. We got the win, but it really wasn't enough for us. We know we're a better team than what we showed. We went out there and secured the win, but the way we did it was unacceptable."

Wofford was supposed to be the first game in a two week stretch where the Gamecocks could work out the kinks in a struggling offense. UAB comes to town this week as the back end of those two weeks, and is probably the last chance Carolina has to get the kinks worked out. Asked if that meant the game against UAB is a statement game, King disagreed.

"Wofford was a statement game," he explained. "In every game we've played so far we tried to make a statement. As far as where we are right now, I don't feel like we've made our head-on point: we can be and we will be one of the best teams in the SEC if we just get it together, play our assignments, and do what we're supposed to do."


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