David Cloninger

Gamecocks’ receivers need time, experience to get better

It’s not just the quarterback who needs to get more game reps before he can be final-stamped.

“They played a four, Cover-2 – it’s not made for throwing the ball all over the place,” Steve Spurrier Jr. said of North Carolina on Wednesday. “It’s made for running the ball, which we did pretty well. They had a good plan to stop the pass, and they certainly did a good job of it.”

Spurrier Jr. said he would not be knee-jerking his top six wide receivers out of the lineup after a not-great showing against North Carolina. Two presumed starters – Terry Googer and Deebo Samuel – recovering from injuries had something to do with that, but Spurrier Jr. said at this point, injury would be one of the few reasons to try someone else.

Nobody other than Pharoh Cooper did much against the Tar Heels, and a lot of it was that Connor Mitch had no one to throw to. But credit the defense, Spurrier Jr. said, not his guys’ lack of effort.

Like Mitch, they need games where they can get better. It’s understandable nobody staked an immediate claim as the Gamecocks’ next great pass-catcher after barely playing in their career, or being a first-time player.

“But I don’t think it was a lack of getting open, per se,” Spurrier Jr. said. “But we’ve got to get better and experience everything you talk about with new guys.”