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Old 04-12-2015, 06:36 AM   #1
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Default Spring Game Opinion

Had some family come down to check out the foundation of the 2015 version
of the Gamecocks. After a day of football, digging up on some Little Pigs
BBQ, Gamecock Gear shopping, Braves and NASCAR I've had the chance to
reflect on game yesterday. Just thought I'd throw out my opinion here and
see how close it comes to reality this fall.

1st off, we're still not sure of how good or bad the most important part of
the team is right now and whether or not we've improved in those areas. The
O/Line, and D/Line are still a guess because of the amount of injured players
on the O/Line and the restraints that were put on the D/Line to not put heat
on the offensive backfield. You'd get the impression that Darius English and
Qua Lewis were going to be "Exceptional" Defensive Ends by the way they were
getting into the backfield and then holding up at the point of burying the QB,
but was that because they had quick first steps, good technique OR were our
Tackles on offense THAT BAD ?

With the exception of not being able to get a read on the trenches, I did
however come away with the some REALLY good feelings about the improvement
by our linebackers who seemed to play more "disciplined" and controlled
football than the Japanese Fire Drill style they played last season. I was
very impressed with the play of Brison Allen Williams who (to me) looked
lost or confused most of the season last year. Also was impressed by
the play of Jalen Henry ( a guys who's name hasn't come up much this
spring ) I thought he played a very solid game at LB yesterday. Now,
does that mean Henry will start and be an all world LB for the Gamecocks
this fall ? ...... NO. What it does mean is that even if he doesn't play at all
this season, it shows me that whoever is responsible for getting the LBs to
play better this season and to correct whatever the hell was going on with
them last year is doing a good job based on the overall play from the LBs.
Not sure if that is Botkins' doing or the overall scheme that Hoke has brought
to the defense or if it is the result of Ward being moved up to help work on
the Defensive front of the Gamecocks this year. If it's one person's
influence or a combination of all it, it seem to have helped get some much
needed fundamentals and disciplined play from our linebackers this spring.

I was very VERY pleased with the play of the secondary yesterday ! I thought
Al Harris might have been the most improved player on the defense this
spring from the results of his play during the G&B game. Harris was a very
bad fundamental player last season and resorted to holding or obvious
pass interference calls when he got beat last year (and he was beaten a lot)
Yesterday he was very solid and controlled his responsibility so well that
there was only a couple of throws that went to his area all day, and one of
those was batted down on a good play by him, and the other was well covered
and ended up over thrown. I also thought Chaz Elder (until he left the game
after getting banged up) was playing well. All the guys in the defensive
backfield were tackling better than what they showed last year, and there
were very few times when they were getting beaten deep. THAT is a direct
result of the addition of John Hoke. This is an area I think we are all going
to be pleased with this fall.

Offensively, I saw in Connor Mitch what I was hoping to see from Connor
Mitch yesterday. He was not "Exceptional" he wasn't the best spring game
QB I've seen in the past several seasons, and he wasn't bombing the secondary.
HOWEVER, he was not playing poorly in any area of his game yesterday
at all. He moved the offense well between the 20s, he was hitting all his
throws in the short to intermediate range passes and he was able to bail
out of a couple of ugly plays and run or throw the ball out of bounds. He
was a good offensive general and didn't put the team in a bad spot by trying
to make exceptional throws, and he didn't force the ball into areas where
the receivers weren't open. I thought Connor was solid in his performance
and did absolutely nothing to hurt his number one status that he entered
the spring practices with. If he can build a little more off of that this summer
I think the Gamecocks are going to have a good QB running the offense this
fall. My hope is that the O/Line will solidify and play well this fall also. If
so, I can see an upgrade in the performance of the Offense coming. Wilds
and Williams I'm sure will give us a good ground attack and if Mitch continues
to spread the ball around, not force the issue with the passing attack and
take what the defense give us, we'll be fine. It will all (again) come down
to the play of the Line up front to make sure all of that happens without
getting whipped constantly by the opposition's Defensive front. It is all on
Shawn Elliott's shoulders to make sure it all comes together.

I'm sure everyone has heard about the performance of Deebo Samuel during
the Spring Game. Those reports were not exaggerated. Samuel is a guy who
SHOULD lend our passing attack a solid boost, and should be able to take
some pressure off of Pharoh Cooper's shoulders to be THE Playmaker this
season in the passing attack. It was evident going into the season with
our coaches and fans that Coop would HAVE TO BE the big weapon on the
offense, it would also be evident with the opposition's defensive coaches
that he would have to be THE MAN. With a good consistent #2 guy out there
it will make our air attack more effective and should make Pharoh that
game breaker he was last year with his ability add up the Yards after the
Catch that he was so impressive with during the season. I know the Spring
game is not where the season's best performances are brought to light but
it was nice seeing a guy who had a lot of good press coming into the spring
last year emerge as a possible Positive Upgrade in the offense, and a guy
who has a chance to live up to the hype of his recruitment.
I was also very impressed with the performance of Carlton Heard and Matrick
Belton. Two walk on WRs that had strong practices this spring, AND showed
a lot of good solid work yesterday in game situation play. I can't say for
sure if he will get some any (much deserved IMO) PT this fall, but Heard
to me is a guy who could give us some quality depth in the passing game,
AND make some good plays in the clutch early on in the season because
of his "under the radar" status with the program. He's a guy that has earned
the right to at least see if he could help our passing attack this fall with
two season's now of solid work on the practice field.

Lastly, I'd like to add my opinion on the kicking game yesterday. .... I WAS
VERY IMPRESSED !!

Not just with the fact that Fry drilled a 48 yard field goal that split the
uprights, but the fact that he cleared it with a good 5-8 yards to spare. His
"limit" seems in practice to be around the 45-48 yard range and he gets
inconsistent after that, seeming to over kick. However, that bomb yesterday
was done with his normal fluid approach and it cleared with distance to
spare. ... The big improvement however was in Landon Ard's Kickoffs. He
drilled every single kick well past mid endzone, or out of the back of the
endzone on 100% of his kicks yesterday. Very apparent that he has put in
some additional off season time improving his game. None of those kicks
were high, deep "mortar" shots, but none of them were returnable kicks
either. I hope that continues to be the case all season long, because with
no changes made in our special teams coaching, I don't like the fact that
we might have to rely on our kick coverage team to keep the offense
starting deep in their end of the field all season. We have not been able
to make that happen consistently the past two years, so the way to solve
that is just to keep the offense from getting a chance to improve on the
25 yard spot with a long return. We seem to have made an improvement
in that area of the ST play so far.

OPINION HERE:
My overall grade for the Spring Game this year ......... B-
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Old 04-12-2015, 07:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Chaz elder was fine. He just got racked
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

I agree with all of your opinions Spurt, and by the way thanks for all the practice updates! I would like to add my 2 cents worth.
The QB situation. It's obvious that Connor Mitch has improved and is well ahead of the other qbs. Not so sure Orth is #2 though. He seemed to hesitate to throw the ball when he needed to. Either he lacked the ability to see the field or maybe doesn't have trust in the receivers. Scarnecchia (sp) seemed to come in with more confidence when he was throwing the ball. I trust the coaches but based on the game yesterday, I would put Orth third.
This is the thing that bothered me the most. It still seems to me that there are too many players out of shape. I noticed that when they were doing the warm up drills and stretching drills, some of the players were not doing them correctly. The warm up drills looked so unorganized, and the coaches either didn't care, or weren't paying attention. Things like this may not have any affect on a game, but it might. Too many times in recent years we have seen a rash of pulled hamstrings or groins that seem to get contagious throughout the year.

Good points - Connor Mitch, Defense fundamentals, kicking game, David Williams.

Bad points - Strength & Conditioning, questions around both lines of scrimmage, depth at QB & RB.
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

How did Scar look on the black team. The reports said he started out shaky but played really well in the second half. Did he play well enough to make a claim for the #2 spot? (Assuming Mitch locked up #1)

The highlights didn't show any really deep throws by any QB. Is that by design or due to lack of arm strength from our QBs?
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom7956 View Post
I agree with all of your opinions Spurt, and by the way thanks for all the practice updates! I would like to add my 2 cents worth.
The QB situation. It's obvious that Connor Mitch has improved and is well ahead of the other qbs. Not so sure Orth is #2 though. He seemed to hesitate to throw the ball when he needed to. Either he lacked the ability to see the field or maybe doesn't have trust in the receivers. Scarnecchia (sp) seemed to come in with more confidence when he was throwing the ball. I trust the coaches but based on the game yesterday, I would put Orth third.
This is the thing that bothered me the most. It still seems to me that there are too many players out of shape. I noticed that when they were doing the warm up drills and stretching drills, some of the players were not doing them correctly. The warm up drills looked so unorganized, and the coaches either didn't care, or weren't paying attention. Things like this may not have any affect on a game, but it might. Too many times in recent years we have seen a rash of pulled hamstrings or groins that seem to get contagious throughout the year.

Good points - Connor Mitch, Defense fundamentals, kicking game, David Williams.

Bad points - Strength & Conditioning, questions around both lines of scrimmage, depth at QB & RB.
Offensively, I was impressed by Mitch on a few of his throws but I didn't see enough to be wowed by him. Scarneccia definitely looks better than Orth though, Orth seems like a great kid who can make some solid throws but he seems like a career back up IMO. It definitely whetted my appetite though and I could see us having a potent offense this year. I don't expect a ton from our offensive line and there will be tremendous pressure on Spurrier's playcalling to mitigate this weak link. A poor offensive line is not necessarily fatal, it just requires some serious creativity. I expect to see the Spurrier from the Auburn game last year in every game this year. It is really our only chance to have a great season on the offensive side of the ball. Obviously the receiving corps was the most exciting and pleasant surprise. I see Deebo and Shaq Davidson (jury still out on Googer for me) as serious upgrades over Shaq Roland and Nick Jones/Damiere Byrd in terms of potential production. David Williams looked very nice on the few carries he got as well but didn't learn anything new about him.

Defensively, I really liked that we gang tackled and swarmed to the ball. There was not alot of that going on last year at all. Quay looked very fast and agile off the edge and I doubt he was going full tilt either. He looks to be in the same league as Clowney athleticism wise and I could see him being very productive this year. I didn't see alot of Lammons (did he even play a snap on D?) or a ton of Rico either so the secondary did pretty well all things considered. The interception by Sasser was a nice surprise too.
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisercock View Post
How did Scar look on the black team. The reports said he started out shaky but played really well in the second half. Did he play well enough to make a claim for the #2 spot? (Assuming Mitch locked up #1)

The highlights didn't show any really deep throws by any QB. Is that by design or due to lack of arm strength from our QBs?
Scar was off to a pretty slow start in the first half. He underthrew a deep ball in double coverage toward Wesley green and DJ Smith but he looked like he had alot more confidence in the 2nd half..he did much better. In my honest opinion I think Scar deserves the number to spot over Perry Orth..I wasn't too impressed with Orth yesterday.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

I normally come away from the Spring Game feeling like I've just watched a pro wrestling match -- all fake. No one can sack the quarterback, no hard knocks on kickoff returns, you know the drill...

But I came away from yesterday's game with several positive impressions.

1) We have some serious receivers to help Pharoh -- wow, that is a HUGE relief.

2) Hoke is definitely making improvements in our fundamentals on defense -- and our defensive backs are going to attack an offense. I feel very good about where our defensive backs are heading.

3) Our tight ends should play a bigger role in the pass game this year. That is a position of strength that we should utilize.

4) With continued coaching, the entire squad of quarterbacks has the potential to manage the game and lead us to a lot of wins. They may not be flashy, but that may not be necessary. Besides, "flash" frequently leads to interceptions.

5) I feel like the technique on the defensive line is improving -- and the speed, too. Really hoping that the guys that come in the summer can add depth and even challenge for a starting position.

6) ARD!!!! I hope the NCAA doesn't test him for steroids!!! His nickname may be "Boomer" after this coming season.

7) The Frisco Kid -- He's back to being solid as a rock on his field goals. This kid is going pro when he graduates... bank on it.

8) Paulk. He has some "fire in the belly" and will be interesting to watch.

9) Mitch. Solid game. Want to see him put a tad more mustard on his throws, but very solid. I'm going to sleep much better after this game.

10) Hoke. Coach Spurrier made a genius move bringing this man on board, and it isn't all X's and O's. I think he will have a HUGE impact on our recruiting moving forward. His presence and the respect he commands is obvious. I LOVE how he is more focused on fundamentals than gimmicks. These guys will stop missing open field tackles and will not get burned on fade routes like before.

11) HBC He's having fun again, guys -- and as we know, that is the best barometer of what's ahead.

12) Like the Italian guy in "The Gumball Rally", we need to tear out the rear view mirror because "what is behind us is of no consequence."

Let's forget last year. Time to enjoy this coming season!
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgoodwin25 View Post
Scar was off to a pretty slow start in the first half. He underthrew a deep ball in double coverage toward Wesley green and DJ Smith but he looked like he had alot more confidence in the 2nd half..he did much better. In my honest opinion I think Scar deserves the number to spot over Perry Orth..I wasn't too impressed with Orth yesterday.
Ditto.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

http://www.gamecocksonline.com/colle.../?media=494775

Everybody in the country thinks Mitch is the no.1 QB except Spurrier as evidenced by his post game comments.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Kinda confirmed the same things I've been thinking. Offense overall was pretty sloppy and not explosive. I think we have some weapons to go along with Cooper as long as we can get the ball to them consistently.

Overally for the Defense I was pretty impressed. I thought they looked fundamentally more sound. I think Hoke's style is going to be to keep the coverages simple and allow them to play fast and make plays. I like the direction they are headed. I think the Defense will be much much improved this year.

I know we played the whole game with the same 5 OL due to all the injuries. I thought at times there would of been several sacks, but of course the QB couldn't be hit. Hopefully those guys are ready to go in the Fall. Our OT depth and skill could be an issue.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenUSC View Post
http://www.gamecocksonline.com/colle.../?media=494775

Everybody in the country thinks Mitch is the no.1 QB except Spurrier as evidenced by his post game comments.
Because everyone in the country has damn common sense other than you.

Because most people with any common sense know to take what a coach says in the spring with a grain of salt. I heard post game comments from about three coaches yesterday regarding their QB situation in the spring and every one of them said it was a "wide open" race (Mark Richt was one of those). At some of those schools, that may be the case, but not at all of them.

Connor Mitch is the ONLY Qb on campus right now that has a chance of starting on September 3rd outside of him being injured. I would put money on it.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:48 AM   #12
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenUSC View Post
http://www.gamecocksonline.com/colle.../?media=494775

Everybody in the country thinks Mitch is the no.1 QB except Spurrier as evidenced by his post game comments.
Once again, if you haven't learned not to take Spurrier's comments to the media at face value, there just isn't much hope for you (especially when his comments pertain to the QBs). No one stood out in particular but Orth definitely looked shaky and Scarneccia threw some very nice passes against some 3rd teamers. What did we learn? Not much, as expected. The jury is still out and it's going to likely remain that way until late August. However, I expect you'll be disappointed if you expect anyone other than Mitch taking the lions share of the 1st team snaps in fall camp.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:54 AM   #13
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

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Originally Posted by Garnetnblack99 View Post
Because everyone in the country has damn common sense other than you.

Because most people with any common sense know to take what a coach says in the spring with a grain of salt. I heard post game comments from about three coaches yesterday regarding their QB situation in the spring and every one of them said it was a "wide open" race (Mark Richt was one of those). At some of those schools, that may be the case, but not at all of them.

Connor Mitch is the ONLY Qb on campus right now that has a chance of starting on September 3rd outside of him being injured. I would put money on it.
Speaking of Mark Richt, it looks like they are going to have a poor mans version of Hutson Mason at QB regardless of whether Faton Batua or Bryce Ramsey starts. That certainly bodes well for us. Heard their receivers looked like garbage too. I'd love to steal one between the hedges.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:04 PM   #14
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Spurrier called some deep pass plays Saturday where the receivers were covered he said. If a QB had been able to hit a deep ball yesterday that would have separated him from the other three. I think if we played NC tomorrow Spurrier would use two QBs. "It's as simple as that" he said.

He also talked about the need for speed at WR. I guess with Byrd and Shaq Roland gone we have no burners now. With a short and medium passing attack Ds don't have to cover the whole field. It makes it easier to play D if you have no deep game for them to stop. Our QBs may not have the range of talent at WR to throw to that DT had last year

Though the reasons are several we don't seem to have a running game at the moment.

Hoke has his defense ahead of Spurrier's offense at this moment.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Christian and Neal will add some pop to the WR corp. Especially Christian.

Remember that entire group is young outside Cooper and Jeffery. They have a lot of growth ahead of them.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:12 PM   #16
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

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Originally Posted by Spurticus View Post
I was
very impressed with the play of Brison Allen Williams who (to me) looked
lost or confused most of the season last year.

I thought
Al Harris might have been the most improved player on the defense this
spring from the results of his play during the G&B game. Harris was a very
bad fundamental player last season
I think at times some fans get the feeling that every true Freshman steps on campus ready to play. And way too frequently, we've had to depend too much on true Freshmen to step in and play because of depth issues (recruiting misses, injuries, etc.).

Some guys may show up physically ready to play (BAW), but need time to learn the schemes and learn how to play the game faster. Other guys aren't physically ready (Harris at 162 lbs), and need time to get stronger.

Hopefully both of those guys continue developing, and we can get to the point depthwise where we aren't forced to play guys too soon because we're out of options.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:17 PM   #17
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

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Originally Posted by ZenUSC View Post
Spurrier called some deep pass plays Saturday where the receivers were covered he said. If a QB had been able to hit a deep ball yesterday that would have separated him from the other three. I think if we played NC tomorrow Spurrier would use two QBs. "It's as simple as that" he said.

He also talked about the need for speed at WR. I guess with Byrd and Shaq Roland gone we have no burners now. With a short and medium passing attack Ds don't have to cover the whole field. It makes it easier to play D if you have no deep game for them to stop. Our QBs may not have the range of talent at WR to throw to that DT had last year

Though the reasons are several we don't seem to have a running game at the moment.

Hoke has his defense ahead of Spurrier's offense at this moment.
Yeah I guess that 42 yard pass to Jerrell on the very first play doesn't count eh?

Byrd had jets but he also never did much with them. The best play he had at USC was the 60 yard bomb in the 2012 UGA romp. Had a few other nice ones but was also a liability fumbling the ball.

As much as I appreciate Shaq Roland's contribution in his few years here, it's hard to argue that his departure isn't addition by subtraction. If you don't believe me, queue up the tape from the Florida game..it almost looks like he was on the UF payroll. I still don't know how we won that game in spite of his play.

Deebo seems plenty fast..probably a 4.4 guy at the slowest. Shaq Davidson is in the same ball park. Pharoh didn't line up for a single snap. You are reading too much into it. I imagine we will have a much better receiving corps this year.

Not even going to comment on the "short passing game doesn't require the D to defend the whole field" comment you made. I'll simply refer you to the Texas A&M game. Rewatch it and tell me they didn't make us defend the whole field.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:17 PM   #18
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Agree with most of the above. Defense is better at all position groups. OL is now my only concern. I like having Stanley a starter now and will fit well with either Waldrop or Park.

I thought one of the best players yesterday was KC Crosby. As well as our defensive played, they couldn't cover him. He will be an absolute nightmare for defenses, this year. He's not tall as TE go, but he is much faster. No safety/LB can guard him. I like the fact that the QB's were throwing to him.....and Mitch's first completion to Adams was perfect, not good, perfect.
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:19 PM   #19
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenUSC View Post
Spurrier called some deep pass plays Saturday where the receivers were covered he said. If a QB had been able to hit a deep ball yesterday that would have separated him from the other three. I think if we played NC tomorrow Spurrier would use two QBs. "It's as simple as that" he said.

.
Connor Mitch is our best QB. "Its as simple as that" he said.

See how easy that is? See how easy it is for me to make a statement based on nothing but opinion and then tie a quote to Spurrier to it that has nothing to do with the original quote.

Last edited by Garnetnblack99; 04-12-2015 at 12:30 PM..
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:24 PM   #20
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Default Re: Spring Game Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenUSC View Post
Spurrier called some deep pass plays Saturday where the receivers were covered he said. If a QB had been able to hit a deep ball yesterday that would have separated him from the other three. I think if we played NC tomorrow Spurrier would use two QBs. "It's as simple as that" he said.

He also talked about the need for speed at WR. I guess with Byrd and Shaq Roland gone we have no burners now. With a short and medium passing attack Ds don't have to cover the whole field. It makes it easier to play D if you have no deep game for them to stop. Our QBs may not have the range of talent at WR to throw to that DT had last year

Though the reasons are several we don't seem to have a running game at the moment.

Hoke has his defense ahead of Spurrier's offense at this moment.

Not as much talent at WR as last year? Yes, because I'd rather have shaq Roland back. Deebo is pretty damn fast, so there is that too. Maybe we do have deep threats. Who would have thought.
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