Published September 9, 2013 - 8:38pmNEW: Follow on facebook -
The HBC needs a hug.
He’s whining again.
I’m not a fan of knee-jerk reactions, especially when Steve Spurrier delivers the doom-and-gloom comments after a road loss to the 11th-ranked team in the country that’s coming off consecutive SEC East titles.
“We’re worried about going to a bowl game right now,” Spurrier said after Saturday’s loss in Athens. “That’s what we need to worry about — winning seven games, or eight games if we can. That’s what we need to do. We need to try to beat Vandy this week. That’s what we need to worry about.
“We’ll let all that talk (of conference championships) go to those other guys right now. We have zero conference wins, and the way we performed yesterday, it doesn’t look real pretty for us unless we change our ways around here.”
Is Spurrier seriously worried about winning seven games after back-to-back 11-win seasons? Does he actually consider the Gamecocks out of the division race after one loss?
Settle down and stand behind your team, Steve — all is not lost if a few things are straightened out defensively.
First, the facts.
South Carolina is a good football team that struggles to beat other good football teams away from Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks’ last three losses have come against Georgia, Florida and LSU, but the leader of the program is griping that his team is “just not very good.”
There’s no need to throw in the towel the second week of September. That kind of attitude leads to a crippling tailspin. (See, Arkansas 2012.)
Spurrier should try taking positives away from the Gamecocks’ first loss to Georgia in four seasons. A few plays here and there decided the game. Would the HBC be so quick to place blame if not for his puzzling 4th-and-goal call from inside the Georgia 1? Would South Carolina’s defensive staff have to answer the onslaught of questions if T.J. Gurley hadn’t blown a coverage resulting in an 85-yard touchdown?
Oftentimes fans, not coaches, overreact to the result of a single game. But when head coaches do, that’s a major problem.
Related: The SEC Report Week 2
Anyone that follows South Carolina football would admit Saturday’s performance was the best the Gamecocks have looked on offense in a road setting in a long time, a couple of years even. Outside of a lost fumble early in the third quarter that was upheld by video review, quarterback Connor Shaw made all the right throws from inside and outside the pocket and even — wait for it — went through his progressions, something long labeled as a weakness.
Coupled with Mike Davis’ big plays on the ground, South Carolina’s senior quarterback kept his team in the game when the other side of the football didn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
Then, there’s this: Is a top-rated SEC defense allowed to have a bad game against arguably the nation’s top quarterback-tailback tandem? Can a secondary goof when playing an elite program with its back against the wall following a season-opening loss?
South Carolina failed in its quest to retain the Eastern Division driver’s seat, but how has that worked out for the Gamecocks lately? Losing at Georgia means Jadeveon Clowney and the Gamecocks can go out and play without the pressure of an unbeaten regular season and the constant scrutiny of being an SEC target in the Top 5.
Meanwhile, Georgia knows a slip-up or two could very well hand South Carolina its ticket to Atlanta — something the Gamecocks gift-wrapped for Mark Richt in 2012 and 2011.
South Carolina’s preseason goals are still within reach, but you wouldn’t know it listening to Spurrier’s defeatist mentality.
Let’s hope his players don’t have the same mindset.
Photo Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports