September 6, 2010

Spurrier still wants improvement

This isn't the Steve Spurrier your father told you about - no barbs, no wisecracks, no bold predictions or off-the-cuff remarks.

At least that was the version that spoke to the media during a Sunday teleconference, sounding every bit a tenured professor in Coach Speak 101.

"It's early, we don't know what's going to happen but it's a game both teams desperately want to win," Spurrier said. "Obviously, it puts one of the two schools pretty much in a better position than the other, but all conference games are important. But yes, it's extremely important and should be one heck of a game."

Kickoff is set for noon at Williams-Brice Stadium (ESPN2).

Like Georgia, the Gamecocks (1-0) are coming off an impressive season-opening win, theirs coming over Southern Miss last Thursday night in Columbia 41-13.

"It was a good opener; there were some errors here and there, but that's to be expected the first game, but the effort was good and it was a nice opening victory," Spurrier said. "But we know we've got a tremendous challenge. This is a very good Georgia team and they had an excellent game Saturday."

Quarterback Stephen Garcia, Spurrier said, seems to be maturing.

According to Spurrier, the often excitable Garcia did a much better job of staying in the pocket, getting rid of the ball quicker and not try to run the moment a play started to break down.

He was not sacked a single time and finished with 193 yards passing (16-of-23).
"He did get rid of the ball much better than he ever has," Spurrier said. "Only one time did he peek at the rush because he wasn't sure if we were protected. Overall, he stayed in there and threw the ball. He had a few free guys coming at him and in the past he would take off running and try to juke them. He would usually take a sack. But he was able to get the ball out of his hands, which was a big reason we were able to get a few rushing yards. He seemed to be thinking through the play much better than the previous year."

Spurrier still wants his team to do a better job running the ball.

South Carolina rushed for 224 yards, but the coach was quick to point out that 53 of that came on a trick run by wide receiver Ace Sanders on a reverse. Sanders is a former Bulldog recruit. Meanwhile, Garcia (38 yards) and freshman Connor Shaw(31 yards) combined for 69 rushing yards.

True freshman Marcus Lattimore began his Gamecock career by carrying 14 times for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

"I don't think we ran it all that well," Spurrier said. "Our quarterbacks had 82 yards rushing and Ace Sanders had about 50-something on the one reverse. Our sweep was better than our up the middle play. We have a lot of work to do. We're not any great running team by any stretch yet, but hopefully we can work on it and improve. Georgia has as good of a pass rush as any in the country based on the way they looked this past Saturday. We must be able to run the ball and block some guys if we're going to be in the ballgame."

NOTES: South Carolina is expected to be without offensive lineman Shaq Wilson, although Spurrier said Antonio Allen has a chance to play. Offensive lineman Terrence Campbell (ankle sprain) is expected to play. … Spurrier said the Gamecocks are still waiting for cornerback Chris Culliver and offensive lineman Jarriel King to be cleared by the NCAA. … Sophomore safety D.J. Swearinger has a slight concussion but should be ok for the Bulldogs. … Defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye (broken bone in hand) is expected to play against Georgia.

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