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08.09.05: Radio/TV station rolling out preseason special on Pirates ... Alleged felons pin leniency promise on Spurrier
08.08.05: Charlotte, UNC- Wilmington selected to BCA field ... Former Pirates steer kids toward better FUTURE
08.07.05: Texas Tech's Knight getting real about tryouts ... Stokes' ties to Wake prodigies sway ECU recruit
08.06.05: Stokes' ties to Deacon prodigies sway recruit ... Holtz: ECU must make up ground before opener
08.05.05: "Pirate Talk" gets more time, more stations ... Pirate Radio 1250 launching expanded lineup
08.04.05: College life still suits Heisman winner just fine
08.03.05: NIT battles NCAA in court instead of on court
08.02.05: C-USA to feel impact of imported WAC teams
08.01.05: Demand swamps supply of Gamecock tickets
07.31.05: After C-USA raid, restocked WAC plows ahead


News Nuggets, 08.10.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

'Cock-n-Fire' offense may stay in holster awhile

COLUMBIA — Despite a catchy nickname and his own reputation for high-flying offense, Steve Spurrier's not sure South Carolina is ready for a ``Cock-n-Fire'' attack.

A largely inexperienced starter at quarterback, three true freshmen leading the way at tailback and an uncertain rotation at receiver have Spurrier thinking the Gamecocks might take a more conservative approach until things click.

``If we're a bad offensive team and we're a super defensive team,'' Spurrier says, then ``we can run the ball, and play defense and special teams.''

Run the ball? Defense? Special teams?

Did former coach Lou Holtz leave an old playbook behind in Spurrier's new desk?

Spurrier says he's just realistic.

Blake Mitchell, a sophomore named starting quarterback this week, threw just 22 passes last fall. No other quarterback on the team has ever taken a snap in a game.

Even Spurrier's Heisman Trophy winner at Florida, Danny Wuerffel, had the luxury of a redshirt year on the sidelines, absorbing and learning his coach's complex game plan.

Mitchell was an obvious choice to start, Spurrier says, but there's much still ahead before the Gamecocks approach the output Spurrier's ``Fun-and-Gun'' scheme had during 12 seasons at Florida.

Mitchell ``can make all the throws when he's throwing against air,'' Spurrier said.

The depth chart at running back seems even thinner and goes like this — true freshman Mike Davis, true freshman Bobby Wallace, true freshman Taylor Rank.

The receivers are also unsettled. One starter, Syvelle Newton, was last fall's first-string quarterback. The other, Noah Whiteside, had 20 catches. Still, he's the only one among the top seven pass-catchers from last year back for Spurrier.

Spurrier says he and his staff are out there coaching young players ``like we expect them to know what to do.''

They'd better learn quickly. South Carolina's opener is Sept. 1 against Central Florida and will be shown coast-to-coast on ESPN.

Right tackle Na'Shan Goddard, a senior, likes what he sees from the youngsters. He says the offensive line — which could have four seniors starting — will take as much pressure as possible off Mitchell and the other new skill players with strong blocks and wide-open holes.

``You can pretty much throw to anybody if no one's in your face,'' Goddard said.

Things on defense and special teams look much more promising.

Lance Laury and Ricardo Hurley, two seniors, lead the linebackers. Safety Ko Simpson, the Southeastern Conference freshman of the year last season, heads up a strong secondary. De'Adrian Coley and Marquee Hall are expected to lead the way along the defensive line.

Spurrier likes Josh Brown's steadiness and experience at kicking and punting, while first-year kicker Ryan Succop can send it 55 yards without a tailwind, Spurrier gushed.

``So we got a chance to be pretty good in the kicking game,'' he said.

Spurrier remembers how he came to Florida in 1990, looked around at the talent and thought the Gators could be successful right away.

``I actually said, 'This team's got a chance to win the SEC,' and everybody thought I was stupid and crazy and loudmouth and arrogant and ... what were some of those other words?'' Spurrier recalled.

The Gators went 9-2 that season, including a league best 6-1, although an NCAA probation Spurrier inherited kept the school from officially hoisting a banner.

Spurrier acknowledges South Carolina is a vastly different situation.

``I don't ever think you should say anything's impossible,'' he said. ``But we don't need to be talking too big right now.''

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:27 PM


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