Steve Taneyhill: Offensive Analysis

Steve Taneyhill has the "it factor" when it comes to leadership. From the moment he took over the USC offense, he put his stamp on the team in a way that grateful Gamecocks fans will never forget. He has continued his success as a state championship winning high school coach. Here he shares his unique insight into the Carolina offense in a chat with Doug Jolley about the win over Kentucky.

Game overviewAnytime you get a road win in the SEC, it's a positive. I like the way Garcia came in and gave us a spark. He looked like he was having fun. When he was back on the sidelines, he looked like he was having fun, and hopefully we'll be able to make progress from the plays he did make and keep getting better.

I thought the offense as a whole was sporadic. Kenny McKinley and Jason Barnes played good again. Smelley missed some open guys, and when Garcia came in, he provided a spark. Garcia helped them down the stretch being able to move around a little bit, but obviously, from a fan standpoint, he doesn't yet have a grasp of the total offense. That's what Coach Spurrier has been saying. We don't have a running game. Mike Davis is a bruiser; he's going to get some tough yards. We are going to live and die by the pass. I thought the offensive line played good at times.

On parallels between Garcia and Taneyhill: I haven't seen enough of him. I think the reason they started that (comparison) was I was a highly ranked quarterback coming out of high school, and he's been the highest ranked guy to come in under Spurrier. When you bring these big-name, highly ranked kids in like Daquan Bowers going to Clemson, he's expected to play right now and he is. He's playing well. He was by some services the #1 player in the country.

You've got Garcia ranked as one of the top quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school; sometimes there are unfair expectations. The way the quarterbacks have struggled so far this year, people want that guy out there. Coach Spurrier is not going to play someone because the fans want them to play; he's going to play the guy that practices the best.

Obviously, Smelley had a good game against Ole Miss, and I think you'll see them keep rotating. The comparison doesn't have so much to do with the hair as much as expectations from us both being highly ranked coming out of high school.

A quarterback's perspective, inside the head of a Spurrier-coached QB: I didn't play for Coach Spurrier; I can only say what I think. Hearing Jesse Palmer (former quarterback under Spurrier at Florida) when he does the games (as a commentator for ESPN) he talks about Coach Spurrier - and he was a Coach Spurrier guy - he talks about "throwing to spots." Sometimes young quarterbacks who haven't played that much have a tough time making that transition, throwing to a spot and not to a wide receiver. The wide receivers are expected to get in that spot and be there and trust them. There's one thing young quarterbacks always have a tough time with. When you're in high school the guys are wide open. Then you get into college, and the next transition into the pro game, they're really not open until you throw the ball. You've got to learn to "throw them open." That's one thing I know Coach Spurrier does preach.

I'm hearing Jesse Palmer talk about it more when he does a Carolina game. Young quarterbacks have a tough time not seeing that wideout out there, just hoping and expecting him to be there and throwing to the spot. As you grow in the offense, you learn to do that more. You've got to get out there in the games. The way Jason Barnes is playing, they're starting to trust him more, and you obviously have a very good Kenny McKinley.

On what's necessary to be able to compete with LSU this Saturday: The one thing they're going to have to do against LSU is protect the quarterbacks. If you give them time, they'll make some good plays. The one thing they can't do and beat LSU is make terrible decisions and turn the ball over. If you're throwing the ball 40 times, you're going to throw some interceptions, but you need to make good decisions and get the ball out of your hands quickly, and not take the sacks. The offensive line has to be ready. LSU is awfully good. Their defense line is good. Florida was helped that one of LSU's best defensive linemen was out.

This is a good week to catch LSU. They just got beat pretty good by Florida, we're playing better. It's going to come down to giving the quarterback some time. LSU plays a lot of man coverage, and the wide receiver has got to win. That's something all coaches preach: when you get defensive back playing you man-to-man, you've got to win. That sometimes takes some time, sometimes four or five seconds. The offensive line has to play well to give them a chance.

On solving the struggles with the running game: You give them all a few carries and see who has the hot hand. You sometimes see that in the NFL where they have two good backs. The guy who has the hot hand gets more carries. Some days some guys have it, and some days some guys don't. It goes by how the game is going, but I think they give all the running backs an opportunity and see who is playing well. That is all you can do.

If you have a quarterback that can run, that helps. You probably want to get around 150 yards rushing; if your quarterback can give you 50 yards, then your running back can combine to get you the other 100, then there you are. Garcia can move around, and that's a good thing when the offensive line isn't the best offensive line in the country. The line has played better of late. Garcia being more mobile in the pocket can help the offensive line some.

Tune in next week for Coach Taneyhill's perspective on the LSU game.


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