Spurrier optimistic Gamecocks will play well

On Thursday afternoon the Gamecocks trotted onto the Proving Grounds for their final practice before traveling to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs. Coach Steve Spurrier has been adamant all week about changing the play-calling on offense and seems to be confident in the new game plan the Gamecocks have for their SEC season opener on Saturday night.


"We had another normal practice out here tonight," Spurrier proclaimed. "We know the (Bulldogs) are going to be tough, and we know they're a good team as they usually are. They didn't play very well their first game on offense, but we didn't play too well either."

Unlike Georgia, the Gamecocks were able to keep control of the ball and avoid the crucial mistake in their first game, something Spurrier cites as a possible reason for the Bulldogs opening game loss.

"We were able to play without any crucial turnovers, and I guess (Georgia) had one or two fumbles that really hurt them. But anyway, we'll be ready to play our best."

In the past few days Georgia has had some controversy regarding the status of starting quarterback Joe Cox and whether or not he will be the signal caller who trots out onto the field for the Bulldogs in their first offensive series. Georgia Coach Mark Richt put down all the rumors today by announcing that Cox would indeed be the Bulldogs' starting quarterback.

As far as the Gamecocks are concerned, there's no question that Stephen Garcia will be the man at quarterback, and he'll be in charge of employing a new and better offensive game plan, according to Spurrier.

"We've got a good game plan," Spurrier insisted. "The execution of it is up to the players, but we're going to try and do some different things than we did last game, that's for sure. We're going to give our guys a chance to go out there and play, and we'll see what happens. If we're going to have a good offensive night, the quarterback, offensive line and receivers all have to play well. If all that happens, we'll have a heck of an offensive night."

When asked about comments some Georgia players allegedly made claiming that stopping Garcia is the key factor in thwarting the Gamecock offense, Spurrier proclaimed the redshirt sophomore hasn't proven he's the man quite yet.

"If they do talk him up like that, I haven't heard it. But he hasn't had a real breakout game at all. He's a guy trying to earn his way, and we hope that he can get there soon. He's been here three years, and at some point we hope he turns into an outstanding offensive player."

Part of the reason for Garcia's slow start this season, Spurrier believes, was due to some questionable play-calling by the staff.

"Hopefully we can get (Garcia) some good plays this game. Last week we didn't have some good plays at times, so we're going to try and call some better plays this week."

Throughout this week Spurrier has announced that he and the offensive coaching staff hope to open the offense up and not rely so heavily on the running game as they did against N.C. State. The amount of success Garcia has in the early part of the Georgia game will help dictate the play-calling for the rest of the game, according to Spurrier.

"We're not just going to hand off. We have to do more than what we did in the NC State game, and how much more we do, well we'll just have to wait and see. If Stephen (Garcia) hits his first four or five passes, then we can go play a little bit more."


Notes:

- Reserve linebacker Reggie Bowens will miss Saturday's game with a strained MCL.

- Offensive lineman Quinton Richardson has a sore shoulder but is still expected to be in the starting lineup on Saturday.

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