COLUMBIA -- If all goes as planned for Steve Spurrier, this will finally be the week his offense breaks out with huge numbers in yardage and points.
Then again, if his planning had proved successful so far, he wouldn't be changing key players in his offense in South Carolina's fifth game.
South Carolina (2-2) is 96th nationally among Bowl Subdivision teams in rushing and 78th in overall offense, at less than 340 yards a game. His team has scored only nine touchdowns, tied for 10th in the Southeastern Conference.
Spurrier and the Gamecocks hope that changes Saturday night against UAB (1-3).
"What we're trying to do is play a lot better this week, offense, defense, special teams," Spurrier says. "Try to score some points in some areas that we haven't yet this year. Whether or not we can do it, we've got find out."
Spurrier opened up all offensive positions, challenging starters and backups to seek a higher level of play than they'd given until now.
On Thursday, Spurrier shook up a few positions. Brian Maddox will make his first start at tailback for Mike Davis, who will miss the game because of an athletic department suspension. Receivers Joe Hills and Jason Barnes will start at receiver ahead of Moe Brown and Dion LeCorn.
"Again, just trying to get our guys to compete at a higher level than maybe what we did last week," Spurrier said.
One area Spurrier didn't change was quarterback, where fans had overwhelmingly -- if you pay attention to sports-talk radio or Internet chat rooms -- hoped untested freshman Stephen Garcia would get the start over Chris Smelley.
Instead, Spurrier selected sophomore Chris Smelley to start again with the caveat that Garcia would play in the first quarter and have a chance to see a lot of action.
Smelley has had his moments, including a confident performance in a 14-7 loss to then second-ranked Georgia. He led the Gamecocks down the field three times in the final quarter seeking a tying score. The first chance ended with Davis' fumble into the end zone, the next with an incomplete pass on fourth down, and the last with 13 seconds left on an interception at the Georgia 3. Smelley finished with a season-high 271 yards passing and a nifty 34-yard TD pass to Moe Brown.
Most figured Smelley and the Gamecocks would take off in their next game against Wofford. Instead, the offense struggled to find points and didn't seal the win over the Championship Subdivision opponent until LeCorn's 17-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter of the 23-13 victory.
Spurrier said in his post-game remarks it was probably time to look at Garcia.
Alabama-Birmingham could be the right team for Garcia and South Carolina's attack to find its stride.
The Blazers have already lost to a Southeastern Conference team, 35-3 to Tennessee. They had allowed an average of more than 564 yards and 42 points in starting 0-3.
UAB got a win last week against FCS foe Alabama State.
Blazers coach Neil Callaway likely didn't help his team's chances this week when he questioned Spurrier's decision to enforce one-game athletic department suspensions for Davis, defensive lineman Jordin Lindsay and others this week.
"I guess it's good for us and shows you they don't respect us very much if they're not going to play him," Callaway said during his weekly press conference Monday. "That definitely ought to send a message to what they think and how they think."
Spurrier, told of Callaway's remarks, didn't want to respond to the former Georgia offensive coordinator, tersely saying, "ask him which one he wanted us to pick."
It will be South Carolina's third straight game without all-SEC receiver Kenny McKinley, continuing to recover from a hamstring injury.
Smelley and Garcia have both had solid weeks in practice, Spurrier said.
Garcia, suspended from team activities during the spring and summer, says he studied Spurrier's schemes throughout his exile so he'd be ready for this moment. Although, Garcia acknowledged he didn't think the chance would come so early this season. "I am a little bit surprised, but I am excited about it," Garcia said.
Maybe, the Gamecocks' offense will finally excite Spurrier as well.