Steve Spurrier's Explosive Wrinkle

Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Don't worry. The Ol' Ball Coach doesn't have a rare dermatological condition, but he did mix in a pair of new plays against the Missouri Tigers that paid big dividends.

Though there was much uncertainty about his health heading into last Saturday's game against the Missouri Tigers, it's clear now in the wake of his 20-for-21 performance that Connor Shaw was as healthy as he has been since the first half of the season opener at Vanderbilt. During that game in Nashville, Steve Spurrier called for the Gamecocks to run the zone read on 35% of their offensive plays. With a healthy Shaw returning as the undisputed starter and Steve Spurrier touting #14's health in the week leading up to the game, Missouri would have been right to expect a heavy dose of the zone read. So it was fun to see Spurrier surprise the Tigers with a new wrinkle on the offense's first play from scrimmage.

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Before the snap, D.L. Moore comes in motion in the opposite direction of where the play is going, presenting the risk of receiving the ball on a jet sweep. This is something that the Gamecocks have done frequently early in the season with Damiere Byrd and Bruce Ellington. As you can see below, this draws in the Missouri corner, which eventually makes him a much easier block for RT Mike Matulis.

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After the snap, Connor Shaw shows zone read action, but the pulling center and right tackle indicate that it's a designed give to Lattimore on a sweep.

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The result is the 20 yard gain seen in the video below:


A few series later, South Carolina started off from its own 20 yard line and went to the sweep with zone read action again, this time with Connor Shaw keeping the ball. This play resulted in the 80 yard touchdown run that got called back for clipping. Regardless penalty's merit, the play probably would have been a touchdown either way, or at least a big gain of 15 or so yards:


To the best of my recollection, this is the first time that Coach Spurrier has trotted out these plays in 2012. In hindsight, it is perhaps a bit unfortunate that they were burned on a pair of series that did not end up resulting in points during a game in which the Gamecocks were able to completely overpower their opponent. But it's nice to be able to see the wheels turning in the Ol' Ball Coach's head. I wouldn't expect anything fancy for the Kentucky game, but it should be fun to see what Spurrier has up his sleeve for the Georgia game, which is shaping up to be the biggest in the long history of Williams-Brice Stadium.

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