Gamecocks to open up offense against Georgia

Coach Steve Spurrier met with the media for his weekly press conference on Tuesday to discuss the win against N.C. State and to preview this weekend's game against Georgia. Spurrier stated that the offensive game plan against N.C. State was too conservative, and the plan is to "open up" the offense in Saturday's SEC opener.


"We came in and got a big win against N.C. State on Saturday. Rodney Paulk suffered a season-ending injury, but other than that we're very healthy," Spurrier said before turning his attention to the offensive woes that the Gamecocks experienced in the season opener. "We're looking forward to seeing if we can play a little better offensively against the Bulldogs and try to score a few more points. Our guys are looking forward to going to Sanford Stadium for our first SEC (game) and playing the Georgia Bulldogs.

In the N.C. State game, South Carolina attempted to run the ball on nearly 2/3 of its offensive plays, and that's something that Spurrier believes will have to change for the game against Georgia.

"It was a very conservative attack," Spurrier said of the offense in Thursday's game. "It was a little too conservative at times, and hopefully we can get the ball moved around a little bit better this game. We had some plays that didn't get executed, and some of our plays just didn't have a chance so we've got to do a better job of getting some good plays out there."

Wide receiver Tori Gurley remarked that Spurrier is indeed planning to open up the offense and has conveyed his desire to pass the ball more to the offensive players this week in practice.

"Coach has been talking about putting the ball in the air more this week, and hopefully it will work out that we put a bunch of points on the board. Whether we can do that or not, our main goal is to just go in there and win the game."

The Gamecocks squandered some key opportunities to put more points on the board in the season opener, and one of those missed opportunities came on an offensive pass interference call that negated a touchdown pass thrown to Gurley.

Gurley claims his physical battles with cornerback Stephon Gilmore on similar passes throughout the preseason just got the best of him on the play.

"I had a flashback to me going against Stephon in the preseason, and I just expected more contact so I put my hands out. Coach (Spurrier) just wants me to use my body to get that separation from the defender. I'm just going to continue to work on that. It was a mistake and I wish it would've counted, but hopefully I'll get it right next time."

Executing in scoring situations and putting together time consuming drives are factors that Gurley believes the offense needs to do in order to be successful and keep the Gamecock defense fresh.

"As an offense we need to go out and execute on each play. Our defense did a really good job last Thursday. We need to go out there and score some points so that we can help keep those defensive guys off field."

Gurley stated the offensive players remain confident in their ability to go out and get the job done, and he is hopeful that it will help set the tone for success the rest of the season.

"Right now we're very determined, and we know we need to put more points on the board. That'll help us get some momentum heading into the rest of the season."

With regard to the Gamecocks' plan to open up the offense and pass the ball more, quarterback Stephen Garcia may have two new targets to throw to in the Georgia game. Gurley remains listed as a starter heading into the Georgia game, but receivers Dion LeCorn and Alshon Jeffery have been added to this week's depth chart.

LeCorn makes his first appearance on the two-deep depth chart this season after suffering a broken leg in the final play of the Garnet and Black Spring game.

"Dion believes that he's healthy enough to play, and he ran around pretty well in practice last night," proclaimed Spurrier when asked about the junior's move up the depth chart. LeCorn is listed as the primary back up receiver to senior Moe Brown.

Highly touted freshman Alshon Jeffery made his first collegiate appearance and also hauled in his first catch in the win over the Wolfpack. His progress in continuing to learn the offense combined with his dynamic pass-catching ability have bumped him up to the second string receiver behind Gurley.

"Alshon (Jeffery) is coming around and eventually he needs to play more. Alshon has progressed the way we would've liked, and hopefully we can get him out there a little bit more. He is definitely one of our top five or six guys right now. If Alshon has a chance to play, hopefully some good things will happen, and he can move himself up into being one of our top three guys," commented Spurrier of the St. Matthews, South Carolina product.

Don't expect the Gamecock offense to come out and throw the ball as much as some of Spurrier's teams at Florida did, as USC's fifth-year head coach believes that 25 to 30 passes a game should be the limit based on the make-up of this year's squad.

"We're just not a 50 throw a game type team right now. But, we should be able to throw the ball 25-30 times and expect to see some results."

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