This post begins our series previewing the UAB game. Today, we're talking about UAB's offense.
While UAB likely won't be a threat to what has so far proven to be a very capable Carolina defense, it is worth noting that we'll be seeing a familiar foe on the Blazers' sideline: new head coach and former Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee. Although Bobby Petrino was clearly the man behind the vaunted Arkansas offense, McGee was his right-hand man and is a respected figure in coaching circles. In addition to his role in developing Arkansas's offensive gameplans, he's also a noted QB coach who helped develop two highly touted NFL prospects in Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson. Gamecocks fans know McGee as a guy who played a prime role in two games in which Carolina's defense was thoroughly humbled, our 2010 and 2011 matchups against the Hogs.
Obviously, McGee has a bit less to work with at UAB than he did at Arkansas. However, while UAB is 0-1 with a loss to Troy, early returns on the offense are promising. UAB, in fact, outgained Troy in this game, and quarterback Jonathan Perry passed for over 300 yards, although his costly fourth-quarter turnovers cost the team a chance to win the game. The Blazers currently rank 43rd in the nation in total offense. Again, that's not something that should scare Carolina too much, but this team ranked 117th in the nation in total offense last year. It's only one game, but so far McGee seems to be moving his program in a positive direction.
It'll be curious to see how well McGee is able to use his familiarity with Steve Spurrier's offense in order to draw up a successful game plan. Last year, what was particularly effective about the Arkansas gameplan was how well the Hogs negated our pass rush, which was our defensive strength much like it is this season. Typically, we had tons of success rushing the passer against non-spread teams, but that wasn't the case against Arkansas, at least not consistently. One thing Arkansas had some success with was rolling out Tyler Wilson and moving the pocket. I'll be curious to see if McGee draws up anything unusual to open things up against us this year, too, not so much because I think that he'll have sufficiently sustained success to beat us, but because he's someone who knows what we do and could be the kind of guy who could provide a blueprint for how to stop us.