Sportswriters always like to say, “Well, if you take away those three plays” and football coaches in general hate that set up and are quick to point out that you can’t do that, and that everything that happens in a game ends up on your resume in the good column or the bad one.
However, Steve Spurrier seemed more willing than most coaches to subscribe to the “take away” logic when assessing his offense Saturday. The Gamecocks beat Mississippi State 34-16, which in and of itself is not the most impressive feat in the world. Lots of folks have done it, in fact, this year and through time.
Count Spurrier among the unimpressed, with his offense at least. South Carolina gained 307 yards on 54 plays, which is not great on its face and is even worse when you consider 116 of those yards came on three plays. “If you take away those three plays,” the Gamecocks averaged 3.75 yards per play.
“It seems like we have a lot of long runs, but we need more consistent 4- and 6-yard runs and so forth that we didn’t quite get today,” Spurrier said.
The lack of consistent short yardage runs is not a new topic for Spurrier. He also pointed out that it played a factor in his decision to punt to Tennessee late in the Volunteers win, and in at least two other games, the Gamecocks have left the ball in the shadow of the goal line because they were unable to successfully traverse 2 yards.
Was it an offensive line issue on Saturday?
“You guys watched it,” Spurrier said. “I don’t know if they were that bad or we just didn’t have a lot of good plays on, but obviously we had a lot of 1- and 2-yard runs, no-gain runs. We will have to watch the tape and watch what happened.”
Spurrier seems to have watched it enough this season already.