After three turnover-less quarters, the South Carolina offense became their own worst enemy in the fourth quarter of their 35-27 loss to Auburn on Saturday. Head coach Steve Spurrier opted to pull quarterback Stephen Garcia after the starter gave away two fumbles to the Auburn defense in the fourth quarter. Ol' Ball coach replaced him with freshman backup Connor Shaw. There had been rumors coming into the season that Shaw might challenge Garcia for the starting job, and Spurrier's didn't help defuse the quarterback controversy.
But as the Gamecocks run through their off-week practice schedule, Spurrier is saying that Garcia is his man. At least for now.
"We plan on him starting against Alabama. He actually played three quarters pretty well and then obviously the two fumbles were really bad plays. Now, can he stop fumbling? We're going to give him a chance to stop fumbling. He hasn't thrown a lot of picks this year. Other than the fumbles, he's played pretty decently."Spurrier's defense of his quarterback continued, as he seemed to place much of the blame for their inefficiency on the offensive line.
"I don't have an answer, you need to ask (offensive line) Coach (Shawn) Elliott that. Maybe we just can't block guys well enough to allow our quarterbacks to stand back there a long time. We're stuck with what we got. When losing begins to hurt these guys as much as it hurts some of us, we'll have a good team here at South Carolina. But I'm not convinced losing hurts these guys much, or else they'd play better. They would really play their assignments and play better. They're either not smart enough to play or losing doesn't hurt - one or the other, because they're big, strong guys. Our line looks pretty good running out there. They look pretty good and then the ball is snapped and sometimes we just don't compete hard enough. But they're our guys and we're going to try to get them to play better."Goodness gracious Ol' Ball Coach is yapping. Clearly an attempt to light a fire under the big boys up front, looking for a little improvement before the Gamecocks host top-ranked Alabama on October 9. Realistically, there HAS to be improvement if the Gamecocks want to stand a chance against the Alabama front seven.
The Gamecocks have enough talent to challenge the Tide, especially on their home turf. But the turnovers and mental errors will need to be limited, if not completely eliminated, in order to do so.
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