Senior spur Antonio Allen is second in the SEC in tackles with 16.5 through two games and has two interceptions returned for touchdowns, but he still is having some gaffes, two coaches said.
“Antonio is having, shoot, an All-American type year, no question about it,” head coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday. “He had some miscues here and there, but overall, he’s playing extremely well.”
Spurs coach John Butler thinks Allen needs to come out of the game more than he does now to stay rested.
“Antonio plays really well at times and then sometimes needs to maybe get to the sideline to take a breather,” Butler said.
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Damario Jeffery will back up Allen this week as Devonte Holloman moves from spur to safety. Spurrier believes the Holloman’s move to safety should be permanent, he said.
“He doesn’t need to play behind Antonio,” Spurrier said. “Our guys keep saying, ‘Well, Antonio’s going to get tired,’ this, that and the other. I always say, ‘If we get a whole bunch of three-and-outs, he won’t get tired.’ We’re not getting many three-and-outs right now. So we’ve got some coaching to do on defense.”
The Gamecocks’ big three of running back Marcus Lattimore, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and quarterback Stephen Garcia hasn’t found its rhythm in 2011, but CBS analyst Gary Danielson believes it soon will, he said Tuesday.
“That trifecta is a little bit like the Cowboys with (Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin),” Danielson said. “When you have a Lattimore, Jeffery and Garcia, and (Garcia) is on his game, they are just tough for a college defense to stop.”
Danielson, broadcast partner Verne Lundquist and other CBS analysts spoke Tuesday on a conference call. CBS begins its weekly SEC 3:30 broadcasts this week with the Florida-Tennessee game.
Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo joined 107.5 The Game on Tuesday and heaped praise on South Carolina.
“We have to play perfect to even have a chance, but I think our kids are excited to have the opportunity to play such a great program and a great team,” said Niumatalolo, who is 29-14 in his fourth year as the team’s head coach.
Niumatalolo played for and coached under current Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson and runs the same option offense Johnson uses.
“I have coached every position in this offense,” he said. “Don’t ask us to run any two-back power stuff or zone stuff, but we have pretty much seen every type of option known to man.”
A win Saturday would be Navy’s largest upset (when judged by ranking) since, you guessed it, the Midshipmen wrecked South Carolina’s 1984 season with a 38-21 victory. Navy is 9-9-2 all-time against SEC teams.