Spurrier struggles to find QB Print
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Wednesday, 22 October 2008 13:51
NCAAF Headline News

 COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -Not even Steve Spurrie nows who South Carolina's No. 1 quarterback is these days.
``We might put (reserve) Zac Brindise out there first,'' the Gamecocks' coach said Wednesday.
That would be a surprise since walk-on Brindise is the brother of one of Spurrier's old Florida quarterbacks, Noah Brindise, and has never taken a snap for the Gamecocks. But with few other options left to spark an offense that's yet to live up to Spurrier's standards under starters Chris Smelley, Stephen Garcia and Tommy Beecher, the coach just might be serious.
``Stephen and Chris do better coming off the bench. Maybe if somebody else is the starter, they'd play better. I don't know,'' Spurrier said with obvious frustration.
Spurrier had hoped the Gamecock QBs would benefit from some intense bye-week practices. However, freshman Garcia didn't get much work with the starters on Wednesday because of what Spurrier called a sore throwing shoulder.
he coach said. ``Something was bothering him, so he didn't do that much,'' Spurrier added.
Maybe it was the six times LSU sacked Garcia on Saturday night in South Carolina's 24-17 loss. Or the forearm shot Garcia took from umpire Wilbur Hackett Jr. It was hard to tell since Spurrier, who approves player interview requests, wouldn't let Garcia meet with the media.
Garcia rallied the Gamecocks (5-3, 2-3 SEC) to a win two games ago at Kentucky, earning Spurrier's praise and his first career start against the defending national champs. Garcia played with poise early on, guiding South Carolina to a 17-10 halftime lead and raising fans hopes the Gamecocks had finally found the guy to run Spurrier's attack.
But South Carolina couldn't break through the rest of the way, managing only 42 yards in the final two quarters. Garcia struggled as well. He threw for 160 yards and a touchdown in the opening half. After the break, he had 55 yards passing and an interception.
Beecher, who started the season-opener, also took some snaps, as did Brindise and Smelley, Spurrier said.
Smelley started the next six games and the Gamecocks went 4-2.
South Carolina needs to sharpen its attack, especially with its defense leading the SEC and ranking sixth in the nation.
me,'' linebacker Marvin Sapp said. ``If they don't, then that's when the other side of the team has to support the other and play their hardest.''
The passing game is far from the only area sinking South Carolina's offense.
The offensive line has been inconsistent all year long and the Gamecocks lead the SEC with 30 sacks allowed.
``We're just struggling a little bit up front right now,'' said John Hunt, offensive line coach for all of Spurrier's four years at South Carolina.
South Carolina's run game ranks at the very bottom of the 12-team SEC at just over 100 yards a game. The Gamecocks managed 39 yards against LSU, with the mobile Garcia getting the most carries with 19.
Senior Mike Davis is the team's top rusher with 377 yards, an average of about 54 yards a game. Spurrier had hoped sophomore Brian Maddox or newcomer Eric Baker might show some moves, power or speed to make a difference. But the ineffectiveness has led Spurrier to consider using highly regarded freshman Kenny Miles, who coaches had hoped to redshirt this year.
Spurrier said injuries have slowed his backs, too. Davis has been hampered after he had fluid drained off his knee, Spurrier said.
``Heck, if we were playing this weekend, we'd have to suit up Kenny Miles,'' Spurrier said. ``Forget about redshirting, let him go be the starter. He's the lone healthy one right now.''
for the home game against Tennessee on Nov. 1.
By then maybe he'll have somebody, even Garcia, ready to play the way Spurrier wants.
``Hopefully, we can teach Stephen every now then to throw it away instead of running out of there,'' Spurrier said. ``That was a problem.''
 

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