Spurrier's offense, LSU's defense on collision course

By Harold Mcilvain Ii Arkansas Traveler

September 21, 2007

Fayetteville, AR (CSTV U-WIRE) -- South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has an uphill battle this weekend when his offense looks to score on LSU's fierce defense that has allowed only seven points in three games this season.

"They play coverage a little different than most people," Spurrier said. "It gives everyone a new scheme to try to attack and so far no one has attacked it very well. It is obviously very good as they are leading the nation in just about every defensive category and led the Southeastern Conference last year in just about every defensive category."

LSU has outscored its opponents 131-7 this season, with only Virginia Tech scoring on the Tigers in the second game of the season, long after the 48-7 outcome had been decided.

Although the defense has been impressive, LSU's offense can't be forgotten, Spurrier said.

"Their offense is good, too," Spurrier said. "LSU's offense is one of the best. It's not like their defense has to play the whole game."

Although No. 12 South Carolina (3-0, 1-0 SEC) had a 16-12 win over Georgia on the road this year, Spurrier is telling his team that it will have to play better than ever to contend with No. 2 LSU (3-0, 1-0 SEC) this weekend, he said.

"We are a huge underdog going down there and we understand that," Spurrier said. "I'm a realistic coach. I don't try to tell our guys that we are going to kick somebody's tail if we are a huge underdog. We want to believe that if the ball bounces our way we will have a chance to win. For us to have a chance, our quarterback and offensive line have to play much better than we've played all year. If we continue to play like we've played we are going to struggle and we know that."

LSU hopes to get a healthy Matt Flynn back under center as he did not play in the 44-0 victory over Middle Tennessee because of an injury, but could have played if the team needed him, LSU head coach Les Miles said.

Miles has yet to announce if Flynn will start the game under center, but his daily improvements in practice show signs of him getting playing time on Saturday, Miles said.

The game will be televised at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.

GameDay heading to Alabama

After its narrow 41-38 win against Arkansas at home, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has caught the attention of college football fans. The Crimson Tide jumped in the polls from not being ranked to No. 16 and now, just three games into Saban's first season as Alabama head coach, ESPN's College GameDay will arrive at Tuscaloosa, Ala., to do their pregame show on campus. Alabama (3-0, 2-0 SEC) will try to contain No. 22 Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC) and its offense led by Matthew Stafford, who is considered one of the better quarterbacks in the SEC, if not the nation, Saban said.

"For a young guy, he's been successful as a quarterback," Saban said. "I think he's something like 9-3 as a starter, and for a young player that's outstanding. He's got great arm talent, very accurate and seems to have a great understanding of their offense. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes out there. I see him getting them in and out of plays and checking protections and doing things that veteran quarterbacks do. I think the guy's a fantastic player and is already one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but probably soon to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country."

Georgia is coming off a 45-16 home win against Western Carolina and will have to deal with a young offensive line in a hostile environment, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said.

"It's a concern," Richt said. "We'll probably do something in regard to the noise factor. There are ways to get our guys a feel of what it takes to concentrate in that kind of atmosphere, but they are about to live through something they have never been through before. With Stafford at quarterback, that's a guy who has to handle the situation. He has at least had a taste of it so it won't be a total shock, but it will be a challenge, no doubt."

Not the Year of the Tiger

Auburn (1-2, 0-1 SEC) find themselves in a sense of panic as the team started the season with a win against Kansas State, but have since lost home games 26-23 to South Florida in overtime and Mississippi State, 19-14.

With urgency to get better, the Tigers pulled senior quarterback Brandon Cox early in the Mississippi State game in favor of freshman Kodi Burns.

"There's no hiding that we have Kodi Burns now playing with Brandon Cox," said Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville. "We haven't decided yet who will be starting. Both will play. They will have to make two game plans. Each week, every team will have to do that. It won't make any difference who starts. It might help us as we go though the season."

Burns, a former quarterback at Fort Smith Northside, ran a rush-oriented offense when he entered the game and finished with 104 yards and a touchdown on 22 rushing attempts. He also finished 8-of-12 for 65 yards and an interception through the air.

Cox was pulled after throwing two interceptions on the Tigers' first two drives, which left Auburn trailing 13-0. Cox did return to the game for the final drive, though, and nearly led the Tigers to a score.

The Tigers will host New Mexico State this Saturday.

(C) 2007 Arkansas Traveler via CSTV U-WIRE