First of all, let's take a look at what Rivals.com is saying we learned this past weekend:
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier finally has his quarterback. South Carolina lost a game but found a quarterback Saturday night. After playing relatively well in a season-opening win over N.C. State, Stephen Garcia showed Saturday in a 41-37 loss to Georgia that he finally was ready to live up to the fanfare that accompanied his arrival at South Carolina. Garcia threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns and also showed off his mobility by rushing for 42 yards on 10 carries. South Carolina made plenty of mistakes. The defense couldn't stop Georgia, the kickoff coverage was terrible and a blocked extra point prevented the Gamecocks from tying the game in the fourth quarter. But this time, the errors weren't coming from the quarterback position. If Garcia plays this well the rest of the season, South Carolina could go 9-3.
This sentiment--that if Garcia is really ready then we could be poised to finally breakthrough--is getting some play around the web right now. Heck, even T. Kyle King implies that he's buying into it. And the truth is, there's something to it. Lots of people have said over the past few years that if only Spurrier could find his quarterback--an essential element in his offense--we could have a big year. People have oftentimes said that thinking there's no way it would ever happen here, but with the highly touted Garcia finally looking like he might be about to live up to the hype, we might be about to see a wild offense sooner rather than later.
To clarify, let's get a few things straight here: Garcia looked good, and not the kind of good he looked last year against Kentucky. This wasn't a quarterback going crazy and making unlikely throws on the run, the kind of performance that's difficult to sustain from week to week. This was a quarterback that played smart and within himself, a guy that took what he was given and ran with it. Moreover, despite the criticism he's received over the last few years, Spurrier proved he can still call a great game when his quarterback is playing well. Finally, and perhaps most emphatically, we rung up 400+ yards and the only things separating us from dropping 50 points and even more yards are a couple of throws that were slightly off and some youthful mistakes by the receiving corps. That against a Georgia defense that is very good by any measure.
This is all to say that there might be light at the end of the tunnel here, perhaps lots of it. I'll have more to say about this throughout the week, but I think this weekend's game is really important, even if it is against a Sun Belt team. In the past, we've seen quarterbacks implode as we struggle to beat mid-major teams. If this game goes differently--say, something like our last game against the Owls went--then it might be a reason for even more optimism. If the defense also returns to form against a better than average FAU offense, then it might be time to fasten our seat belts and get ready for some great football.
Read the rest of the news after the jump.News out of practice: Heath Batchelor to start and Kenny Miles to play against FAU. Should be interesting to see what kinds of moves Miles has.
Marcus Lattimore broadening his horizons. Yes, Lattimore was apparently at the game over the weekend. Just think how he'd feel if we had won...