Losing games and losing confidence go hand-in-hand.
Steve Spurrier is trying to prevent both.
“Losing’s no fun. Losing’s no fun at all,” Spurrier said Sunday on his teleconference. “We haven’t been 2-4 since I’ve been here until now. It’s a different feeling, but all we can do is prepare for Vandy, one game at a time, and see if we can’t play a lot better.”
The Gamecocks played well at times and displayed fine effort, but were beaten 45-24 at No. 7 LSU after a trying week. The location change, while the Tigers went above and beyond in terms of hospitality, didn’t help.
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Although that’s not why USC lost. A punchless offense and a defense that broke just enough caused that.
“We have no excuses for how we played,” Spurrier said.
The Gamecocks (2-4, 0-4 SEC) turn their attention to Vanderbilt. The Commodores are coming off a bye week and have one of the top defenses in the SEC, allowing a mere 320.8 yards and 18.4 points per game.
The Gamecocks are averaging 341.7 and 20.7. Having started three quarterbacks in six games and knowing that Connor Mitch (separated shoulder, although he will return to practice this week) and Lorenzo Nunez (sprained shoulder) are still ailing, USC may be forced to repeat the LSU game by only dressing two QBs.
“We’re a fragile bunch now. We suited up two quarterbacks yesterday – I don’t know if I’ve ever done that in my life,” Spurrier said. “Seems like there was always a third guy out there throwing passes in warmups. We’ve played a lot of guys that haven’t played much before. But I think our guys are OK.”
Perry Orth stands to start his second straight game. He hit some big plays against LSU – a fourth-down toss to Jerell Adams that the tight end turned into a touchdown, along with a catch-and-run score from Pharoh Cooper – but was overall inconsistent.
Orth has suffered from a lack of a running game (Brandon Wilds, who was cleared to play against LSU but chose not to, will be full-go this week) and no receivers other than Cooper. The hope is that Shamier Jeffery can have a second straight strong game and the Gamecocks can benefit from a home crowd.
“We got to mix it up, we got to run and pass,” Spurrier said. “They’ve always, pretty much, had a pretty good defense at Vandy. They’re only giving up about 18 points a game. So that’s very good. We got to mix it up, we got to mix it up, hopefully get some good runs going.”