I usually use my Sunday afternoon posts to discuss strategy, specific performances, and the like. I'm sure there's still a lot to be said in those regards about the abortion that occurred last night. We could chat all day about how stupid the fake punt call was, whether we should have run the WildCock, or which DB is having the worst year. However, I'm going to forego that issue and get down to brass tacks: we got whipped so badly last night in our house because our team didn't want this game badly enough. (Notice that I'm not saying that we would have won with better effort; Arkansas is a good team, and what good effort would have equaled would have been a close game that could have gone either way.) Is there really any other way to explain it? There was no focus, no execution, and no fire. And simply put, that's unacceptable. This team has more talent than perhaps any team in Carolina history, and they've shown us that at moments this year. The sky has been the limit for this team, and yet here we are, staring down another late-season collapse. It's simply baffling that we didn't get a better performance from the team last night.
The evidence of a lackadaisical performance is everywhere to be found. Our receivers, many of them proven talents, couldn't catch well-placed balls. We gave Garcia no protection, and we got the usual performance from him when that's the case. Marcus Lattimore had no room to run. Ever. (Lattimore is one of the few players that get a pass in this regard; as always, he fought for every yard he could get.) Maybe the worst aspect of the performance from an effort standpoint was our tackling. Our DBs looked tentative for most of the game and declined to put big hits on Arkansas's runningbacks. You can complain all you want about the "dirty" hit laid on Connor Shaw at the end of the game, but one thing's for sure: Arkansas's defensive players came to Columbia ready to lay the wood and make plays. Our guys came hoping that our offense would bail them out again. Just an atrocious performance all around.
This kind of game shows you that somewhere, there are serious problems in this program. I'm not sure where to place the blame, but ultimately is has to go on Steve Spurrier. He's the man at the top. He sets the tone, hires the position coaches, does all the things that should equal better play than what we got last night. And if he can't get this team in gear to round out the season in a positive manner, we need to cut ties. I don't say this lightly. Anyone who follows this blog knows that I love Spurrier and think he's done some nice things for this program. But this is it, folks. This is the year when we have the talent and many of the other teams that usually give us trouble don't. If Spurrier can't win some key games now, why should we expect that he ever will?