2014 was supposed to be a season of great success for the South Carolina Gamecocks.

A top-10 ranked team in the preseason, the Gamecocks were considered a playoff contender and favorites to win the SEC East— that’s what was ahead of head coach Steve Spurrier and his team.

Fast forward to present day. South Carolina is 3-3 and 2-3 in conference play. So what’s going on down in Columbia?

Of course, it’s never just one issue. First of all, you must look at what South Carolina had to replace this season, especially along the defensive line in Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcey Quarles and Chaz Sutton. There’s a new quarterback under center and there just isn’t that fire or leadership fans have grown accusotmed to seeing out of a Spurrier-led Gamecock team.

And while the on-field personnel may have some issues, the problems extend to the coaching staff as well, mainly the offensive play calling.

For as long as Spurrier has been a head coach in college football, his name has been largely associated with the passing game. It’s his bread and butter. The Fun N’ Gun at Florida was Spurrier’s baby and even at South Carolina, the Gamecocks have primarily been a passing team. Spurrier made his mark on the SEC with his spread out passing attack in the 90s and his philosophy has carried on into this decade as well.

Except this season is different for the HBC. Offensive line issues have plagued the passing game. Quarterback Dylan Thompson isn’t quite the gun slinger everyone expected him to be. And there’s no Alshon Jeffery lined up on the outside to compensate for the deficiencies elsewhere. Even with all of this, South Carolina still ranks third in the SEC in passing attempts (216) and just ninth in rushing attempts (226).

So with the second half of the season in front of them and plenty of opportunities to salvage what has been a disappointing year thus far, Steve Spurrier needs to swallow his pride and make a change in the offensive philosophy.

RELATED: It’s time for Steve Spurrier to take accountability for horrendous season

Run the football.

More importantly, stick with running the football.

This was never more evident than in South Carolina’s last game against Kentucky. On South Carolina’s first two drives, the Gamecocks leaned heavily on Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds, running them 19 times. . The result? 30 total plays, 13:14 of possession and a two-touchdown lead.

The following four drives were the exact opposite, resulting in fumble, punt, field goal and interception. During those drives, South Carolina threw it 14 times out of 21 plays.

In the second half, South Carolina exploded for 21 unanswered points and scored three touchdowns on all three drives in the third quarter. The reason for the Gamecocks’ success was once again in the running game. 14 rushes out of the 25 total plays in those three drives, including two rushing touchdowns.

Surprisingly, when the moments were the biggest in the fourth quarter as Kentucky inched closer and closer, the Gamecocks passed the football, including on a drive with just under three minutes left in the game, all three timeouts remaining and the score was tied. Plenty of time to give the ball to Davis, who was having a career night, but Spurrier comes out passing. And it plays right to the strength of Kentucky’s defense and a pick-six later, the game is over.

Unfortunately, it’s this kind of reliance on the passing game, among other things, that’s put the Gamecocks where they are now — 3-3 and virtually out of the SEC East race.

Mike Davis and the other backs must be the primary option on offense moving forward.

One reason why is because of how much the defense has struggled. Currently, the Gamecocks are the SEC’s worst in yards allowed. It’s an inexperienced unit not only searching for its identity after losing key players, but also going through some serious growing pains. A priority for South Carolina needs to be minimizing its defensive snaps. And teams do that by running the football and eating up clock.

Secondly, when Spurrier has abandoned the run, Thompson hasn’t proven he can lead a pass-heavy offense. Three-and-outs have been a theme when the Gamecocks rely heavily on throwing the football and third-down conversions have been average at best at just a 44.3 percent conversion rate. A more concerted effort on the run game would not only take the pressure off Thompson to make plays, but would consequently put the football in your best offensive player’s hands — Mike Davis

Ultimately, this team is not as much of a quarterback team as it has been. Running the football more would do a better job of hiding the offensive deficiencies and highlighting the strengths, which is the running backs and the run blocking schemes of the offensive line.

The sooner Spurrier makes this change, the sooner the Gamecocks can turn things around this season and there’s no better time to do so than at this midway point through the season.