Spurrier: Gamecocks offense must do better

The Gamecocks returned to the Proving Grounds on Monday evening for their second practice since coming away with a win against N.C. State in the season opener. Coach Steve Spurrier commented that the offense must continue to progress as the team looks towards opening league play against border-state rival Georgia on Saturday evening.

"Most of the guys looked OK out here today, but we need to practice better tomorrow," said Spurrier as he began his post-practice talk with the media on Monday.

Scoring one touchdown in the season opener leaves the Gamecock offense with much room to improve before their next game in just five days, and Spurrier claims he and the coaching staff will do as much as they can, from a coaching standpoint, to try and change that.

"The offense can't be in good spirits when we only score seven points. We're a little irritated that we didn't execute better. We had a few chances, but we just didn't capitalize on them. The offense has to put more points on the board for the Gamecocks to have continued success," Spurrier said. "We've got to score some points if we want to be a good team."

Junior running back Brian Maddox led the Gamecock rushers with a mere 66 yards, including a touchdown, against the Wolfpack defense even though he carried the ball 23 times. Spurrier believes that the other Gamecock running backs should've received more carries in the game and that they should see more action against Georgia.

"We've got to let Kenny Miles and Jarvis (Giles) carry the ball some. They got left out the other night, and they need to get in there and get some carries too."

Even though Georgia will be coming off a loss to open the season, Spurrier commented that the Gamecocks will have a big challenge in Athens on Saturday.

"Georgia is typically a very good team. Their offense didn't play too well (on Saturday), and they had some costly turnovers. The turnovers probably cost them a victory against (Oklahoma State)."

The Gamecock defense will have to contain one of the best wide receivers in the nation, Georgia's All-SEC performer A.J. Green, if they hope to come out with a win. Spurrier believes the sophomore wideout didn't get too many opportunities to help out the Georgia offense in last Saturday's game, but that he did what he could with the few opportunities he was given.

"I don't think Georgia attempted too many passes on the day. (Georgia quarterback Joe Cox) lobbed it up there and (Green) ran through it once, it was really a heck of a play by both the quarterback and the receiver. They threw a few other short ones to (Green) and he made a few plays. We know he's a talented player," Spurrier remarked of the Summerville, South Carolina native.

One of the players who will go up against Green and the Georgia offense will be linebacker Shaq Wilson. The sophomore played well in the N.C. State game after starter Rodney Paulk was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Wilson finished with eight tackles in the game, and although he is undersized for an SEC linebacker, Spurrier says that the Gamecocks have confidence in Wilson's ability to perform.

"Shaq's fine. He's not real big but he sure can tackle and hit. We've got to keep those big linemen off of him, but he'll be fine. He's a good player."

Mangus: Garcia taking better care of ball

Other than one interception, USC starting quarterback Stephen Garcia showed some signs of progress in the opener from his dismal bowl game performance in which he threw four interceptions. Garcia threw for 148 yards against the Wolfpack, completing 13 of his 22 pass attempts. Quarterback Coach G.A. Mangus says that Garcia had an average performance on the evening, but that he was pleased with the signs of maturity he saw in the sophomore gunslinger taking care of the ball.

"In terms of taking care of the ball and not getting us beat, which was my number one priority for him in the game, I think he did a pretty good job," said Mangus. "He needs to play better and get a few more opportunities, but taking care of the ball is still our number one goal. It was an average game for him, and fortunately average was all we needed out of him to win that game."

Garcia also improved in allowing some of the plays to develop before taking off to run, Mangus noted.

"I think at some points during the game he was forced to take off and run, but as far as letting the players get open and giving the play a chance to form, he's made some big strides."

Entering his first full season as the number one Gamecock quarterback, Garcia will continue to earn more and more experience, and Mangus believes that will be a big part in helping him to succeed.

"Stephen is young and still raw. He's still got a lot to learn, but with some more coaching and experience, I think he's going to continue to progress into a more complete and better quarterback for us. He's got a lot of skills and a lot of tools, and as his position coach, I'm excited about what lies ahead as he continues that progression and improvement."

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