Spurrier, Gamecocks looking for improvement

Halloween was no party for the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday night, as they fell to Tennessee 31-13. The team was back at work on Monday night, preparing for another critical SEC road matchup with Arkansas.


If the Gamecocks hope to avoid the late season collapse that has defined the program in recent years, they will have to start playing well, starting this weekend. After facing an improved Tennessee offense this past weekend, Ellis Johnson's defense will face another stiff test against an Arkansas offense that has been explosive all season.

Coach Steve Spurrier said the team is looking forward to getting out there and playing again after the disappointing effort shown against the Vols.

"We're looking forward to playing Arkansas this Saturday around 12:20 Eastern," said Spurrier. "We need to play better and get more points, that's what we're going to try to do."

Many teams have had trouble containing the Arkansas offense, led by quarterback Ryan Mallet and head Coach Bobby Petrino this year. While it certainly may not be the right game to try to get your defense back on track, Spurrier and the Gamecocks will try to do just that this weekend. USC also faces an Arkansas defense that has had its share of problems this season, but the Head Ball Coach was quick to credit their unit as being ones that traditionally has given the Gamecocks all they can handle.

"They've given up some yards here and there, but they've got some quick, fast guys. They'll give us fits (with) their pass rush, they always have. They've always been tough to run against. But anyway, they've got a good offense, they're favored over us, which they should be (with) the way we've played lately. We've got a challenge in front of us, we'll see if we're up to it."

But Spurrier said he has been expecting the team to play better, they just haven't done it.

Spurrier noted, "I keep thinking we're going to play better on offense, but we don't seem to. But we're going to keep trying. So we're going to keep encouraging Stephen (Garcia) and (get) guys to block a little better. The tight end had a couple of drops. Other than that, most of our receivers caught everything."

If the Gamecocks hope to avoid a complete slide during these last three weeks of the season, they will have to play complete as a team. Perhaps with a sense of urgency, said Spurrier, the team can move closer to the level of play the coaching staff has been after since August.

"We're still trying to put it all together," proclaimed Spurrier. "We haven't done it yet. Hopefully we'll play like a team desperate for a win."


Notes:

- Offensive lineman Garrett Chisholm had a class that caused him to miss practice time Monday night, but Spurrier praised his play on Saturday, and said that the walk-on lineman has a good chance to start this weekend.

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