Cloninger Soundoff: USC offense stays in fighting shape

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on September 19, 2013 

South Carolina's tailback Mike Davis (28)

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — kkfoster@thestate.com

South Carolina’s offense has played very well in its first three games, and is in a perfect position – opponents have to fear the running games of Connor Shaw and Mike Davis, but also know that Shaw can throw over them if they try to pack the box and stop the rush.

Heading into the team’s bye week before what could be a very interesting game at UCF, Steve Spurrier naturally didn’t want to heap too much praise on his offense. That’s natural – and with the defense and special teams still searching for improvement, it’s the right call.

The Gamecocks’ offense may have to carry the team throughout the season, always on “got to score” alert if the other two units don’t get drastically better. Spurrier doesn’t want any offensive players to get the big head, and that has carried through the ranks.

Spurrier praised Bruce Ellington’s practice on Wednesday, but also mentioned that the Gamecocks don’t have all of their players practicing like Ellington. “Hope we can make it contagious that the rest of the guys bust their tail and try to get better every day out here,” he said. “We can do a lot better. You don’t want to praise them too much. They’ll think they got it made.”

The offense can’t play much better, but Spurrier wants to keep it always trying to. The defense and special teams, I think, will improve, but there’s just no telling when they will play their best. Too much youth, too many switches declare it a game-by-game proposition.

With a great season still able to be had, Spurrier wants to keep the minds in fighting mode going into the bye week. The Georgia loss obviously dented USC’s confidence, but it’s not down for the count.

There are still a few haymakers to land, as long as the man in charge sees that a round can be won.

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