Sunday, September 14, 2008

Georgia-USC leftovers: Bright future for Cook

Serving leftovers from South Carolina's 14-7 loss to Georgia Saturday in Williams-Brice Stadium:

* Gamecocks tight end Jared Cook ought to have an NFL career waiting when he finishes up in Columbia. Cook, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound junior with speed and great hands (he had a remarkable lunging catch Saturday). He had three catches for 68 yards after grabbing eight balls against Vanderbilt.

* Many South Carolina fans think the future should be now for quarterback-of-the-future Stephen Garcia, a highly recruited redshirt freshman. While Garcia was in the game for three plays, sophomore Chris Smelley played when it mattered, and actually looked pretty good in the second half, when USC piled up 208 total yards.

Garcia basically looked inexperienced, which he is. After a 7-yard first-half run, he entered again in the fourth quarter on second-down and 3 at the Georgia 49. Garcia ad-libbed on the play, eventually throwing the ball away.

"He got all lost out there," coach Steve Spurrier said. "He's used to running around. In high school he'd just take off running and juke a few guys. But unfortunately you can't do that here. Hopefully he'll learn a little bit."

Garcia was back for one more shot on the next drive, held the ball too long and took a sack. The game was Smelley's from there. While Spurrier said that Garcia, who has been suspended twice for legal problems in his brief career, would get future work, don't expect too much, too soon.

* The South Carolina defense is for real--quick and hard-hitting. The Gamecocks held Georgia to 83 total yards and six first downs in the second half. With any kind of consistent offense, SC would have improved its 1-30 record against top five-ranked teams. -- STAN OLSON