Even more important than the passing game, though, has been Spurrier's complete inability to have a legitimate run presence, which is an integral part of making his pass-run-fake trio work. South Carolina has finished last in the SEC in rushing the past two seasons, and finished 11th in 2005. Even worse, the Gamecocks' per- carry average has been equally awful, coming in below 3.6 yards a pop three of his four years and at a dismal 2.9 per carry last year. The one outlier, 2006, was the Gamecocks' best offensive season over the last four seasons by far. Ironically, however, that was also the year where converted receiverstarted about half the games and did a fair share of running himself -- including the dreaded zone-read -- though also put in about five of the best passing games of Spurrier's USC tenure (before he too regressed and collapsed as a senior in ‘07). But the fact that 2006 was the year that Spurrier had to stretch and fundamentally change what he was doing, yet was also his offense's most productive year, is troubling to the system.
Are Brian Maddox (38 career carries) and newcomer Jarvis Giles up to the task of establishing a ground game that defenses will respect? I'd thought previously that Stephen Garcia was the big key, but perhaps this is it instead.