A good game for our guys. We didn’t play spectacularly, but we had a lot of good plays here and there. We also had some bad plays. Hopefully we can learn from them. We felt coming in we’d have a chance to get the ball off and see what happens. Probably today the ball was in the air more distance than any game I’ve coached here. We got it down there. We didn’t hit them all. At least we got them in the air. Our receivers had fun going after them. D.L. Moore had fun with two touchdowns and Buster Anderson and so forth. Dylan (Thompson) was good. He was ready to play, had a lot of confidence. He was in command out there. He had a few bad plays. Hopefully he can learn from them, especially that collision on the 2-yard line. That was scary. We never tell him to duck his head like that.
It was a good win. The defense played well. Jimmy Legree had his best game ever as a Gamecock. Some of our youngsters that got in late didn’t do much to stop East Carolina, but it was good to have a lot of guys playing. We try to win the fourth quarter around here. We talked about it all week, and Seth Strickland got the touchdown at the end to help us win the fourth.
On the quarterback situation
We’ll do it like we did this week. We’ll get Dylan (Thompson) ready. If Connor (Shaw) is 100 percent to practice Wednesday or Thursday, Connor will be the starter. Now we have the confidence that we have a couple of quarterbacks that can play around here. Dylan at times looked extremely good in practice. Today he was extremely good just about every play. We’re all proud of Dylan in his first start. The confidence he played with was thrilling for all of us to see.
If Connor (Shaw) is 100 percent, he’s our guy. Now we know if something happens to Connor, Dylan (Thompson) can go in there and throw it around. That Vandy game, he didn’t have much opportunity. That screen play didn’t have a chance, and they blitzed him and he got sacked. There’s a lot he can learn from playing games.
On the amount of passing compared to running
They were tough on the run today. I asked Shawn Elliott what do you like running. He said, ‘Coach I’d keep throwing it every down.’ We were getting a lot of yards per pass attempt and weren’t getting much in run attempts. I like when the line coach says keep throwing.
On the atmosphere
It was a beautiful day. The fans were alive and ready to go. I wish they’d stay after halftime though. It was 21-0. (East Carolina) could’ve mounted a comeback. Fans, stay in the ballpark a little longer.
On Connor Shaw’s injury
He’s got a bone bruise deep in there that just hurts when he throws. It just hurts. I don’t know how to relate it to something else. It’s a deep muscle bone bruise or whatever you call it. It’s just painful. You just have to let time heal it. He’ll be fine.
On the decision to start Dylan Thompson
The decision was made yesterday, actually about Thursday because Connor (Shaw) couldn’t throw Thursday. It appeared he couldn’t throw much Friday, and he didn’t. We were all set. If something happened and disaster struck all over the place, if Connor said ‘I can run that zone read with no pain,’ we might have considered it, but really it was never a serious thought.
Defensive Coordinator Lorenzo Ward
On the defense and Jimmy Legree
I thought overall, especially the first (team) defense, I thought we played well. They got some junk yardage in with young guys, but we need to get them experience. I thought Jimmy (Legree) developed confidence with his ballgame.
On practicing stripping the ball and seeing it come to fruition
We are creatures of habit and when you practice it that’s what they’ll revert back to. We try to teach them the fundamentals of taking the football. We’d like to have interceptions, but we can create turnovers by taking the ball.
Quarterback Dylan Thompson
First of all I put my full confidence in Jesus Christ. I knew after Vandy I didn't play my best. I knew that whether I played great or bad (Jesus would) love me the same. As far as game plan, they coached me up all week. Coach Spurrier and Coach Mangus did what they do. They're great coaches and got me the chance to succeed.
On the quarterback situation
I don't think we should forget how great of a player Connor is. He's a great player. My job as the backup is to always be ready. All week I just had my mind focused on it's my week to show what I can do. We got off to a great start. I hit Damiere Byrd and it helped my confidence.
On if he was nervous
To be honest I wasn't nervous at all. I was just praying all week. Football is just a game. I came into the game and told the receivers to be ready. The important thing is Coach Spurrier gave me a boost of confidence yesterday. He gave me a Bible verse and told me he had confidence in me. It was, "The Lord your God is with you wherever you go ... whom then should we fear. (Joshua 1:9)"
On Coach Spurrier praising his play after the game
It's great whenever Coach says something good about you. To be honest I'll try my best to forget about this tomorrow and come back to work Monday. You never know when you'll have to be ready to play.
On the passing game opening up
Whenever you have Marcus Lattimore on your team, every team's goal is going to be to stop him as best as you can. That opened the passing game I believe. You want to be balanced, but whenever they give you the pass you take it.
On his relationship with Connor Shaw
My relationship with Connor is great. We're good friends. We share as much as we can about life and football obviously. We got in the film room early every day this week and watched film.
Wide Receiver Shaq Roland
On getting his first career reception
When I first went out there I was a little nervous. The first pass was a deep pass to me. I was just thinking (too much). I felt like I was held a bit on it, but I can't change that. After the first catch I was relaxed and confident, and everything went well.
On playing his first career game
I was very excited. I knew a lot of my family would come out here and support me. It's just a great feeling to get in and make my first catch.
On what the receivers told Dylan Thompson this morning
We just told him to go out there and relax and do the things he's done in practice. We knew he was capable of it. We just told him to relax and focus.
Linebacker Shaq Wilson
On judging the defensive effort
It's mostly just trying to execute what we can do, just trying to keep them off the field and get them off the field as fast as we could to get the ball back into Dylan (Thompson)'s hands.
Running Back Marcus Lattimore
On how's he's feeling two games in
It's kind of weird. The way I felt last week compared to the way I feel this week, it's just a huge difference. I wasn't even thinking about my knee, and its feeling great. My knee is feeling great, my body is feeling great, I'm at a good weight right now, and I'm just going to keep pushing all season.
Cornerback Jimmy Legree
On the significance of this game to his confidence
Going into the game we knew they would throw the ball a lot so it was a good opportunity for our defense to make plays, and that's what we did today.
On how different he feels this year compared to this point last year
Right now I feel like a new person, I feel great. I'm having fun out there. I love making plays and celebrating with my teammates.
Wide Receiver Bruce Ellington
On being able to make plays and put up a lot of points
It's great just to catch the ball and make plays and be a part of the offense. It's just fun to be out there as a team and win.
Tight End Rory Anderson
On being able to make plays and put up a lot of points
It felt good to go out there and catch a couple of balls.
EAST CAROLINA QUOTES
Head Coach Ruffin McNeill
The better team won this week. We played a top-10 team, and they came ready to play. I voted them eighth in the polls last week, and it was an obvious mismatch for us. We didn't help ourselves at all with turnovers and long plays given up on defense. Against a great team like South Carolina, they don't need our help. They have the talent on both sides of the ball to accomplish things. Offensively, defensively and on special teams they are a very talented team, and against a team like that you cannot make mistakes on either side of the ball. It was definitely a game where we faced a top-10 team and got outplayed.
Quarterback play today
The play of our quarterbacks today was inconsistent. I've said since the beginning that Shane Carden had the ability to start, and we did not hesitate to put Shane in. I'm not sure if it's a battle at this point because we'll have to go back and evaluate the film. We have no problem putting Shane in the game.
What the SC defense presents
They're a defense that can range all over the field, has great length and speed. Lorenzo Ward is a very talented play caller. Opportunistic is how I would define their defense as a whole. They'll be a strong contender in their division and in the SEC.
Quarterback Shane Carden
On getting a shot coming off the bench today
I knew when I got my shot, I knew I had to make the best of it. I had to come in and do my best. We don't ever want to play like that. We turned the ball over way too much, including myself. We just have to learn from it, and be ready for our conference game next week.
On taking something away from this game
It is very hard to lose a game like this, but this doesn't change our goal of winning our conference. We just have to be ready to go next week.
Cornerback Leonard Paulk
On facing the South Carolina offense
They executed their plays really well, and defensively, we didn't. You have to give them credit for what they did, and we just have to learn from it and be ready for next week.
On Dylan Thompson's performance
Dylan is a really good quarterback, and he played very well today. You have to give him a lot of credit for the job he did. He put the ball where it needed to be.