3. Spurrier's Cards Are Close to the Vest
In our last three games, we've (1) run the ball all night against Florida, (2) feasted on a cupcake against Troy, and (3) gone vanilla in the second half against Clemson when it became apparent that Stephen Garcia was hurt and that the Tigers wouldn't get back into the game if we didn't help them. Spurrier has not had to dig deep into the playbook over this stretch. That means that Spurrier has the advantage of coming into this game without Auburn being aware of what we've been working on in practice lately. Hopefully, Spurrier will be able to spring some surprises on the Tigers. This could be especially important if we have to depart from our usual run-first attack.
2. Stephen Garcia's Injury
Garcia got banged up (left, non-throwing shoulder and throwing thumb) against Clemson, and the word out of practice at the beginning of the week is that it's a little worse than originally thought. The coaches, though, believe he'll be ready to go at full speed. We better hope so, because...
1. Look for Us to Throw the Ball
Carolina has been most successful this year when it can get Marcus Lattimore churning out yardage on the ground. Unfortunately, very few teams have been able to run the ball well against Auburn's talented defensive front. That includes the Gamecocks when we played Auburn early this year. Lattimore rushed for 33 yards and a 2.4 ypc average in that game, his worst and second-to-worst averages of the year in those respective categories. Oftentimes, this would mean that Carolina is doomed, as we've had little success in games where Lattimore hasn't dominated. Luckily for us, as we learned last time around, you can throw the ball against Auburn. The Tigers rank 106th in the country in pass defense. (If you didn't realize how good the Tigers offense is before now, that number should make you realize it; how else could a team with such a poor pass defense be contending for a national title?) Garcia, before the late-game fumbles, was having one of the best games of his career against the Tigers. The truth is that he's probably going to have to be ready to do that again this week, only this time he's going to have to finish the deal. I hope we find a way to get Lattimore more involved this time around, but the facts say that you're not going to run against Auburn. Garcia and the receivers need to be ready to go.