The sun was beating down Saturday afternoon, practice had been over for more than a half hour and there were several college games on TV — yet Steve Spurrier was on the practice field throwing pass after pass to the USC receivers.
Fixing the Gamecock offense following an opening 7-3 victory at N.C. State will be a hands-on project for the 64-year-old coach.
“I’m going to start coaching my butt off until we can throw the ball around. We’ve all been coaching, but we’re going to put in overtime,” Spurrier said. “We were pretty sad the other night. It was nobody’s fault but mine, so I’m going to just coach my tail off and see if we can’t get some offense around here.”
USC had 256 yards of offense against the Wolfpack, and its revamped rushing attack managed 108 yards and an average of 2.6 yards per carry. Two first-and-goal situations from the 10-yard line produced minus-9 yards and no points.
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Spurrier mentioned several negative-yardage plays on first down — a pass interference call on Tori Gurley and a Jarvis Giles run that lost 9 yards — and lamented the lack of audibles.
“We had some bad plays called that we couldn’t get out of. I don’t think we audibled all night except to a run or two,” Spurrier said. “We were playing right into their hands most of the night. That’s bad game planning.”
Asked if he would be more involved in play-calling, Spurrier said: “I called a bunch of ‘em the other night. I’ve always called a bunch of ‘em.”
Spurrier said USC stuck with its plan to emphasize the run, but should have thrown more around the goal line. That is what Spurrier was working overtime on Saturday.
Paulk eyes sixth year. As expected, an MRI on middle linebacker Rodney Paulk’s right knee revealed a torn ACL that will require season-ending surgery. Paulk was leading USC with six tackles when he was injured in the second quarter.
“My body went one way, my knee went the other,” said Paulk, adding the injury was unrelated to the knee problem that forced him to take a redshirt season in 2008.Paulk, a redshirt junior from Columbia, plans to appeal to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility. “I’m going to continue to keep playing ‘til I can’t play no more,” he said.
Taylor keeps job. After defensive end Devin Taylor blocked a punt, forced a fumble and had three tackles for loss in his first college game, it should come as no surprise he earned a second start. Though Clifton Geathers returns this week from suspension, defensive line coach Brad Lawing said Taylor would start at Georgia.
“I believe in production, and he came up big in the production category the other night,” said Lawing, adding that Geathers’ playing time would be determined by how he practices.
Asked about Geathers, Spurrier said: “He looked like he was tired, looked like he hadn’t done anything in two weeks.”
Extra points. T.J. Johnson at right guard did not have a missed assignment in 64 snaps. . . . Spurrier said Giles (five carries for 13 yards) should have received more touches, but coaches were gun-shy after he ran backward on a second-quarter run. . . .
Backup defensive tackle Kenny Davis is eligible after serving a one-game suspension. . . . Defensive tackle Travian Robertson missed practice with an illness.