On Steve Spurrier’s schematic decline

Over at Dr Saturday, check it out here. Thanks again to the Doc, and be sure to read his excellent take on South Carolina here.

  • VB

    Chris,

    I appreciate the article. It was well done.

    However, I do have a couple of quibbles.

    You are correct in saying that the 2006 season was the best year Spurrier has had offensively at Carolina. But you are not correct in assigning the responsibility for that to Syvelle Newton and changes to the scheme.

    Blake Mitchell began the season at QB, but he was yanked not because of his performance, but because the OL was unable to open holes or pass protect. In desperation, Spurrier moved Newton to WR gave him a small package and let him improvise. While it did keep the team afloat, the offense did not thrive.

    In the meantime, the OL finally started to gel. When Spurrier put Blake Mitchell back into the game after defenses adjusted to Newton and reduced his effectiveness, it was like pouring gasoline on a fire. All of a suddent the OL was opening holes and keeping the QB’s jersey clean. The lead draw was working to perfection, and the duo of Sidney Rice and Kenny McKinley were torching defenses. But the secret was not a tweak to the system, but simply effective blocking up front.

    That has been a constant problem for Spurrier at Carolina. His OL has been bad for all or part of every season since 2005. The first three years it drastically improved over the course of the season.

    In 2007, for example, Blake Mitchell did not completely fall apart. In fact, if you look at the offense’s numbers to close the season, the offense was putting up points. It was the defense that was giving up hundreds of yards to Tebow and Darren McFadden/Felix Jones.

    But one thing you maybe have not read or heard about for 2009, is that Spurrier IS changing up the offense. New OL coach and running game coordinator Eric Wolford has come in from Illinois and has installed some spread to run principles, including the zone/read out of the gun.

    Spurrier has also brought in QB coach G.A. Mangus who has spent some time in Division II and as OC at Mid Tennessee adapting what he learned as a walk-on QB under SPurrier to different types of mobile QB sets.

    It remains to be seen what the balance between new and old will be and whether Spurrier will commit to the news looks, but they are in the book.

    I actually when I saw your article had hoped to read what you thought the mix would look like and whether it would be unweildy.

    In any event, again the central problem at Carolina for SOS has been an inability to run, an inability to pass block, and last year in particular an unacceptable performance from the QBs. I’d argue that prior to last season (and really even for portions of last season) the QB play has actually not been all that bad. Mitchell for whatever reason is seen as enigmatic, but his biggest problem as a starter was the OL tried to get him killed at the beginning of every season.

    Anyway, enjoyed the article.

  • Matthew

    It might help to put that SC has had to play the national champion the last 3 years in a row… Give the man a LITTLE respect in the fact he’s coaching in the toughest conference in the country. This is year #5 so it’s officially his team now; his players. Just wait and see… this article is two years too early…

  • Charlestowne

    Depends on what your definition of ‘excellent’ is. I gave up on Matt’s reviews of South Carolina a few years ago.

  • Freehawk

    It is a poor take. Shame on you for pimping it.