Spurrier likes the wins, not film sessions

While the wins have been nice this season for South Carolina

coach Steve Spurrier, the film sessions after the game have been

painful.

It’s been tough viewing for the coach who revolutionized

football in the Southeastern Conference with his passing attack at

Florida in the 1990s.

In five games this season, Spurrier’s No. 14 Gamecocks have

failed to complete at least 15 passes. They just keep running, even

after losing all-SEC performer Marcus Lattimore to a knee injury

last month.

”Up the middle, up the middle for one yard, two yards and stuff

like that,” Spurrier said. ”I don’t like watching it, either, to

tell you the truth.”

But Spurrier often finds his most success at South Carolina when

he throws the least. After completing just seven passes in last

week’s 17-12 win over Florida, Spurrier recalled his first victory

over the Gators in 2005, when then quarterback Blake Mitchell went

7-of-17 in a 30-22 win.

”Some games it works out like that. Tim Tebow only completed

two last week, and they won, so we’re way ahead of those guys,”

Spurrier said, talking about the fellow Heisman Trophy winning QB

from Florida who now plays for the Denver Broncos.

In 18 of Spurrier’s 82 games at South Carolina, his team has

completed less than 15 passes. Spurrier has won 16 of those games.

Five of them have come this season, and South Carolina has won

four.

Much of Spurrier’s success with the Gamecocks has been adapting

his offense to whatever he has handy.

This season may be the best example of his adjustments. South

Carolina came into the year with a seasoned senior quarterback in

Stephen Garcia who was expected to at least be steady behind

center. But Garcia threw nine interceptions in five games before

being benched and eventually kicked off the team for violating

rules. Then came the Lattimore injury, which has prompted Spurrier

to lean on sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw as a runner even more.

Shaw had more rushing attempts than passing attempts last week.

”Connor, yeah, he’s learning. Drop-back passing is something he

hadn’t really done a whole bunch of until he got here. He really

throws a pretty pass,” Spurrier said.

Shaw sometimes decides to run when he could wait another second

or two for a receiver to come open. But Spurrier is impressed with

his quarterback’s fearlessness. Shaw has had to sit out snaps in

the past two days after taking vicious hits while running.

”We’ve got to get the ball out. We’ve had trouble the last few

games just getting it out there, so that’s what we’re working on –

pass protection and telling Connor, when you’ve got some open land

out there, throw it, get it out,” Spurrier said.

Perhaps no one has been hurt by the quarterback troubles than

all-SEC receiver Alshon Jeffery. The junior came into the season

with 11 games with more than 100 yards receiving, but his best game

this season is 92 yards in the season opener against East Carolina.

In the past four games, Jeffery has averaged just 19 yards

receiving.

Spurrier hasn’t talked to Jeffery about his future. He was

considered a first round lock before the season started if he came

out for the 2012 NFL Draft, but his stock may have dropped as his

catches dried up.

”We always feel that if a player’s going to be a first-round

pick, he should go, he should leave. And if he’s not going to be a

first-rounder, statistics say he should stay,” Spurrier said.

Whether or not Jeffery returns, South Carolina’s offense should

get a boost next season as Shaw gets more practices under his belt,

a core of young receivers get more experience and Lattimore returns

along with freshman tailback Shon Carson, who also injured his

knee, and freshman running back Brandon Wilds, who has shoulder the

load in the backfield since Lattimore was hurt.

”Next year, it’s going to be real scary,” Lattimore said.

”Brandon Wilds is playing real well. Going to have Shon back, and

I’ll be back. Backfield is just going to be scary.”