Steve Spurrier’s been renowned for his offensive genius throughout his coaching career. Should he build a capable attack in the SEC this season around Pharoh Cooper, it will be the Head Ball Coach’s most impressive work yet.
Cooper was pretty much the show as South Carolina escaped Charlotte with a 17-13 win over North Carolina — and escape is the operative word.
Tar Heel quarterback Marquise Williams had a pair of passes intercepted in the end zone, including the would-be game winner.
— Ronnie Laybold (@YotesHereToStay) September 4, 2015
All things considered, however, the new-look Gamecock defense with Jon Hoke looked like a significant upgrade over the 2014 incarnation. To hold a Larry Fedora offense to 13 points is impressive, and South Carolina adjusted nicely big wide receiver Bug Howard.
Howard caught six passes for 114 passes, but much of his damage was done in the first quarter.
South Carolina’s defense looks to be much less of a question mark. The offense, on the other hand?
Dylan Thompson told The State this week Gamecock fans were going to have to show new starting quarterback Connor Mitch patience. How prescient Thompson was.
Mitch threw a touchdown and no interceptions, but for much of the night was less effective than back-up Perry Orth or Cooper.
Connor Mitch now 6-of-18 for 81 yards. P. Cooper & P. Orth are 3-of-3.
— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) September 4, 2015
Mitch’s touch seemed to lose effectiveness after about 10 yards. Cooper showed more confidence airing one out into triple-coverage.
Here’s a Vine that summarizes the non-Pharoh Cooper offense:
Shon Carson 48 yd TD run! https://t.co/PQJdMP1kxj
— The Student Section (@TheStudentSect) September 4, 2015
Shon Carson got just four touches but went for a team-high 75 yards — 48 of which were on this one play. Primary ball-carrier Brandon Wilds averaged just 3.6 yards per in his 14 attempts.
Spurrier took the blame for South Carolina’s anemia, telling reporters he “called a lousy game.”
He might want to be careful being so candid, as his candor became a powder keg of controversy in the offseason. The new slight on HBC will be that he’s losing his offensive touch.
Spurrier has plenty of time to remedy what ailed the Gamecocks offensively Thursday night. Pharoh Cooper will obviously play a huge role in that process, whether as receiver, rusher out of the single-wing or passer.
But Cooper’s going to need help.