USC has never been the most exciting team to watch, and - let's face it - when they win, it's usually ugly. The defense is just good enough to stop most teams of equal talent by a point or two. If Razor is saying his team is going to run the ball more in 2012, it tells me he's found someone special he can use to grind it out, or he's B.S.'ing. Eh, probably the latter.
In 2008, South Carolina passed the ball 452 times and ran it 403 times. In 2009, USC’s offense passed the ball 402 times and ran it 409. In 2010 — with Marcus Lattimore arriving on the scene — the Cocks tossed 389 passes and ran the ball a whopping 522 times. Last season, the passes were down to 317 while the rushes jumped to 553.
Spot the trend?
As anyone who’s paid attention can tell you, Steve Spurrier has learned to win in an different way from his old Fun N’ Gun Florida days. If you want to know the mark of any good coach — or businessman, for that matter — it’s the ability to reinvent oneself and change with the times. Most coaches can’t do it. The greats can.
Paul “Bear” Bryant threw out an offense that had won him three national titles, replaced it with a wishbone and went on to collect three more championships. There’s a reason Spurrier’s visored mug would be carved alongside Bryant’s on an SEC Mt. Rushmore of coaches. He’s proven that he can adjust and adapt. He’s gone from a pass-first coach to a run-first/play-good-defense kind of leader.
And it sounds like you can expect even more running from the Gamecocks this year with Connor Shaw at quarterback:
“We’ll probably be more of a running team, play defense, pick your spots to throw the ball. That’s not a bad formula. A little different that I’ve coached int he past. As all of us know, you can win a bunch of ballgames doing it that way.”
Spurrier’s proving that he can win a bunch of games in two different ways. That’s impressive. As was the way he switched up last year’s offense to utilize more zone-read plays when Shaw took over for Stephen Garcia.
When Spurrier was hired, a Carolina fan who happens to be a friend of mine said that at least USC football would be fun to watch. But instead of being competitive in high-scoring games, the Cocks are winning grind-it-out affairs. It might not be as exciting as watching 50 passes per game, but those winning is a lot more fun than just being competitive.