There weren’t many positives Steve Spurrier could pull from his team’s season-opening loss to Texas A&M.
During Sunday’s teleconference wrapping up the game, the Gamecocks’ all-time winningest coach sounded much like he did at the podium last Thursday night, disgusted at his team’s performance after surrendering a school-record 680 total yards of offense.
“We’ve got total improvement needed,” Spurrier said. “We were very average the other night. In fact, we weren’t even average, we were pretty sorry the entire time, so we are going to try our best to hopefully give our fans a decent football team out there this Saturday night.”
South Carolina, ranked No. 9 in the preseason as the Eastern Division favorite, looked anything but Top 25 worthy inside Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks couldn’t get off the field on third down and struggled to generate a pass rush against a better-prepared foe.
Texas A&M ran a staggering 99 plays and went turnover-free during a 24-point victory that snapped South Carolina’s 18-game home winning streak.
“I think we all were surprised pretty much that it didn’t go according to plan, but it’s history now,” Spurrier said. “We have learned a lot about ourselves.”
The Gamecocks’ early wake up call led Spurrier to alter the way his team practices in preparation for Saturday’s home game against East Carolina. He harped on his team needing a better focus and said the Gamecocks will force the issue offensively with a faster tempo.
He backed off Saturday’s jab at Lorenzo Ward’s new 3-4 defense and gave credit to the Aggies. Though the Gamecocks were often out of position and struggling with communication at the back end, much of that had to do with South Carolina’s inexperience and less about scheme.
“We tried a little bit of everything,” Spurrier said. “Obviously, A&M had a lot of good plays. They threw it and caught it, and they pass blocked. They do have an excellent offensive line. They may be really good, but time will tell if they are as good as they looked the other night.”