Steve Taneyhill: Offensive Analysis

Fans couldn't help but have a feeling of déjà vu after the Gamecocks defeated the Volunteers in Columbia for the first time since 1992. In both games, after the Gamecocks were led by a freshman quarterback to victory, Tennessee fired their head coach. The young quarterback in 1992 was Steve Taneyhill. Read inside as he talks about the similarities and analyzes the offensive performance against UT.

On Halloween night, 1992, Steve Taneyhill led South Carolina to an improbable 24-23 victory over Tennessee. Sixteen years and a day later, another freshman quarterback again led the Gamecocks to a victory over the Volunteers.

Taneyhill was struck by the similarities as well, and talked about them in his weekly chat with publisher Doug Jolley.

"It was kind of eerie how it happened," Taneyhill said. "Around the same time of Halloween, they had lost a few games in a row, we won, and then Coach Majors got fired. How Coach Fulmer stepped down was kind of how it happened back in '92. With (Stephen) Garcia and me both being young quarterbacks, it was pretty strange."

Taneyhill used the dramatic circumstances surrounding the two games to illustrate how important the play of quarterback is for a team. "Last year Tennessee won ten games, they had Erik Ainge at quarterback. Now he's a backup in the NFL. This year, they're playing two guys, their play hasn't been very good, and all of a sudden, Fulmer's gone. It's kind of the same thing that happened at Clemson – high hopes for the offense, and then the quarterback doesn't play that well. And then Tommy Bowden's gone. The quarterback doesn't play that well at Auburn, and their offensive coordinator is gone. I think there is a direct correlation to who is playing quarterback and which teams are successful."

"In the SEC, when you look at the teams that are struggling and the teams that aren't struggling, the position of quarterback is the reason." He continued. "I thought Garcia played awful good. He maneuvered around in the pocket, making some plays with his feet. Obviously he could probably make some more plays once he learns the offense completely. I think he gives us a chance to win. He made some plays with his athleticism and I think it helped us win the game."

Receivers: "One thing that stuck out is how no wide receiver caught a pass except Kenny McKinley. I think the way Jason Barnes has played; he should get the ball some more. They should try to find ways to get him the ball more because he has played so well lately. I think up to this week he has played pretty well."

Offensive line: "It is always hard to tell how the line played without coach's film, but when the quarterback is moving around, they played pretty well. Good enough to win, and in the SEC, that's awful tough. Tennessee might be a little down on the defensive side of the ball, especially with their front four, but I see some progress on our offensive line. I think with Garcia's mobile feet in the pocket, I think it helps the offensive line."

On this week's opponent: "Arkansas is playing well, considering a coaching change and their personnel losses. They have won a couple of games I didn't think they could win. They are going to be a tough test. In the SEC, they weren't picked to do very well with the coaching change and how it happened, but they are playing ok. In the SEC, every team has good football players. This is kind of a trap game, where it is placed on the schedule, and the tendency to look ahead. Like Coach Spurrier said, if we want to go to a bowl game, and a better bowl game, it depends how many wins they have in these last three games. I imagine the players see that, and hear Coach talk, and know they have to play well to win."

Note: Coach Taneyhill's Chesterfield Rams are 9-1 on the season, and start the state playoffs with a game against Buford this weekend.

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