COLUMBIA — You would think that a team averaging more than 50 points a game wouldn’t have many offensive issues.
You would be wrong.
South Carolina, which has scored 101 points in its first two games, heads into tonight’s game against Navy at Williams-Brice Stadium with plenty of question marks on the offensive side of the ball.
Despite having the fourth-highest scoring average in the land — 50.5 points a game — the Gamecocks are 75th in total offense (373 yards per game); 21st in rushing offense (236.5 ypg) and 107th in passing (136.5 ypg). The Gamecocks’ scoring average has
Gamecocks working on perfecting offense been a little skewed because they’ve scored five non-offensive touchdowns — three defensive and two special teams scores.
All-America running back Marcus Lattimore has been, well, Marcus Lattimore. He’s on pace to equal or surpass his
totals (1,197 yards, 17 TDs) from a year ago. The extra weight he put on over the summer has only made him that much more difficult to bring down.
“We don’t forget about Marcus running the ball,” said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier. “That’s what gives us a chance to win.”
Even All-SEC wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has had a solid campaign so far, easily leading the Gamecocks with 10 receptions for 177 yards and a TD.
But from there, the Gamecocks’ production falls off a cliff, especially in their passing game.
Lattimore is the team’s second-leading receiver with five catches, while Ace Sanders, Justin Cunningham and Nick Jones have a combined six catches between them. With essentially the same personnel, there has been a drop off of more than 100 yards from a year ago in the passing game.
In the first two games, starting quarterback Stephen Garcia has completed just 18 passes for a 45 completion percentage.
“The solution is we’re just not throwing some completions,” Spurrier said.
The lack of production in the passing game and finding a complement to Jeffery are still major concerns for the Head Ball Coach. Finding a reliable second receiver would probably help matters, Spurrier admits.
Former Berkeley High School star Bruce Ellington was supposed to be one of those secondary targets for Garcia, but he has yet to catch a pass. D.L. Moore has a shoulder injury and will miss today’s game, while senior Jason Barnes has become a non-factor after starting the opener against East Carolina.
“We hope to utilize a lot of guys going forward,” Spurrier said. “We’re trying to utilize all of our guys more. To do that, the offense needs to stay on the field longer and our defense needs to get the other team off the field quicker. Those things have not happened real well.”