South Carolina's coaches will likely have to be creative in coming up with some wrinkles to help offset the loss of Lattimore but you shouldn't see any type of complete overhaul in the offensive system. It's possible you could see more Wildcat with Bruce Ellington in the lineup if the situation dictates. Overall, I think you'll see the same base offense with South Carolina looking to throw or run more based on the defensive looks it gets from Tennessee. Lattimore's replacement, Brandon Wilds, started the season fifth on the depth chart but as impressed as a freshman. Few in the country are as good as Lattimore but Wilds is a similar style back in that he's a bigger kid who runs hard. Wilds has been impressive in limited action but it remains to be seen how he will look when allowed to be the feature back.
2. Alshon Jeffery's production has dropped on considerably this season. Is there a reason this has occurred and do you see him getting things back on track this season?
The drop in Jeffery's production has been due to a number of factors but the biggest has to be the quarterback play the first five games of the season. Stephen Garcia struggled with accuracy more than at any other point in his career and just couldn't get Jeffery the ball at times. Jeffery's production has gone up to an extent since Connor Shaw took over the quarterback spot but he has yet to have a huge game. Shaw and Jeffery have narrowly missed on a couple of big plays as well. Shaw spreads the ball around more overall than Garcia did but he's also been more accurate in getting the ball to Jeffery. Jeffery should have a big finish to the season.
3. South Carolina's pass defense has been spectacular in 2011, give us some players or reasons why you have seen this transformation?
South Carolina's pass defense has certainly improved this year. Part of that is due to the staff's decision to simplify the defensive game plan which has resulted in less thinking and more aggressive play. Missed assignments were a huge issue last year and they've been able to cut down on those this season. They're also playing more man-to-man coverage in certain situations. The addition of redshirt freshman cornerback Victor Hampton to the playing rotation after being suspended the first three games has also helped. As far as being the top pass defense in the country statistically, that's somewhat misleading as the pass defense really hasn't been tested in recent weeks. Still, it wouldn't be fair to say they haven't improved as almost every team they faced seemed to have success throwing the ball last year.
4. When he was asked why he didn't recruit Justin Worley, Steve Spurrier said that he wasn't really sure. He added that he saw him in high school and asked his staff why they weren't recruiting him. Many people have found this interesting. How much of a role does the Ole Ball Coach still play in recruiting?
Spurrier has always been a coach that lets his assistants coach (and recruit). He's not a micro-manager type as long as each position is having success. Overall, Spurrier's never going to be a coach who personally recruits like a Nick Saban or Urban Meyer but he does let his recruiting coordinator do his job and does everything that his assistants ask of him as he assists in players' recruitment. While G.A. Mangus did choose Tanner McEvoy as being "his guy" at the quarterback position for that class, and Mangus has a reputation as being a great talent evaluator, I also have a feeling Spurrier knew a little more about Worley than he was letting on.
5. With Tennessee's pass defense struggling so mightily in 2011, do you expect to see Spurrier try and expose that part of the Volunteer defense and have the player acknowledged that weakness to the media?
Spurrier admitted a few weeks ago what we've all known for some time: that before every game he looks at the opponents defense and thinks his tem can throw on them. While that hasn't been a topic of discussion to the media this week from players or coaches, I'm sure it's something Spurrier is well aware of. Spurrier is far more balanced in his play calling than most give him credit for, but Connor Shaw is a player that many around the league are going to be surprised by his success and Spurrier will surely try to establish the pass early in this one.
6. What are several keys to the game for South Carolina to get a win in Neyland Stadium Saturday night?
Turnovers, for one, will be key. The last time South Carolina was in Knoxville the Gamecocks turned it over three times in their first four drives as Tennessee went up 21-0. The Gamecocks also haven't scored first in a single game this year. They'll need to get off to a fast start Saturday night. Overall, offensive line play will be key too. It's not fair to either player to compare Brandon Wilds to Marcus Lattimore but Wilds can make something happen if he has some room. The offensive line has had some struggled in the last few weeks after looking good in the first few weeks of the season.