Jan. 14, 2011
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
We thought it was a good year but it wasn't a great year. A great year would have been to win the bowl game and get the 10th victory. I was hoping for a comeback (where) it was a game where we would struggle early, get it to 19-17 and come back and win that game. There were five fumbles in the game. We fumbled the kickoff; it was an excellent hit by Quinn Smith. We didn't have anyone close around to fall on it. There were five fumbles in the game - two for us and three for them - and FSU got all five of them.
On effort and team goals
I thought effort by our guys was pretty good. One or two guys played like always, but overall for the team, effort was good when we watched the tape and looked at it. We set a lot of goals and will set the same goals for the coming season and see how many we can reach when it's over with. We won nine games; that was one of our goals. We didn't win 10, didn't go undefeated at home, won the (SEC) Eastern Division, didn't win the bowl game, we beat Clemson and finished in the top 25 in both polls. That's the way we looked at it. We'll regroup.
On spring practice
A lot of people believe when you win the bowl game (that) things are easier in the offseason. On the other side coaches get irritated and get the attention of their guys and have a productive spring practice. We have a lot of areas we need to get better and hopefully this spring we can do that.
On special teams
We're thinking (Shane) Beamer will completely handle special teams and free him up to work special teams all the way. I believe we have to get more first team players on the special teams. We didn't make much happen this year, and our best field position against FSU was when they kicked off out of bounds. We can't make the other team punt on their own 5-yard line and then start on our own 25 or 27-yard line.
On coaching roles
We're going to try to free up Shane (Beamer). I think what we're doing is sound. I don't think the players, for whatever reason, we're not getting much done but we'll continue to work on special teams. Jeep (Hunter) will work with Ellis Johnson on defense, so we'll have four full-time guys on defense. That's what most schools have. Jeep has been a defensive coordinator actually in college at Eastern Kentucky several years ago. He's coached secondary and we think he'll be fine back there. That's about it.
On the plan for the spring
Offensively, defensively, special teams and a lot of position are up for grabs. We'll give everyone a chance in the spring and go from there. We'll try to scrimmage quite a bit. We learned a new way to scrimmage where you just wrap up and you don't tackle to the ground. You get a bunch of plays in and the quarterback can get a lot of snaps and repetitions. We'll do that this spring and hopefully it will be beneficial for us. Other than that we're trying to finish up recruiting. We think it will be an excellent year. Four or five big names are still out there. We'll find out if it will be a great (recruiting class) or a good one.
On difference in recruiting since he was hired in 2005
Hopefully (it's) a lot more attractive now than six years ago because of the facilities. Eric Hyman and our booster office have made a commitment to improve our facilities big time. That helps. After that you have some guys who were Mr. Football in Stephon Gilmore and Marcus Lattimore to tell guys that South Carolina is a great place to go. We've beaten good teams. Obviously the Alabama win was a good one. We weren't a strong team overall this year. When we play close to perfect we can beat a team like Alabama that played very well. We're not at the level we hope to be but hope to get there. We believe the opportunity is there for us to become a top of the SEC type team, but there are some good ones in the SEC. We play just about all of them. We have to play three teams from the (SEC) West, which is good right now because they were the dominant division in the SEC this year.
On the secondary
Coach Ward will handle corner mostly and Jeep is with the safeties right now. That could interchange around depending on how Ellis and the defensive guys feel is best.
On Shane Beamer
He was doing too much. He volunteered for too much and I wasn't smart to see he had too much on his plate. This evens out the staff a bit. Jay Graham will take over the tight ends. He needed to do more and this will give him an opportunity to get more involved.
On winning close games related to having success
I talked to our guys Wednesday and I said you guys remember the first time we played Auburn. We were ahead 20-14 at halftime and they were mad because we had a drive at the end to score and we thought we'd go in there to beat them. Clemson should have beaten them ... Auburn was a good team but everything went their way. They won four games by three points and the Alabama game by one point. They have the knack and ability to win close games. You have to give them credit for that. They won all the close games. That's why in a way I was hoping that would happen for us against FSU, that even if it goes bad early you can come back and win.
On change in coaching
Change is inevitable in college coaching. We all know that. Change sometimes happens. I hope we stay together but you never know what could happen the next month or two. There's still a lot of changing going on. I think it's important a lot of key people stay there.
On January enrollees
Kelcy Quarles was a Parade All-American a couple of years ago. He was up at Fork Union. He looks like he'll be ready to help us. Brison Williams is a defensive back and Kaleb Broome, an offensive linemen, looks good in his street clothes. He'll probably look good in uniform. If he can block, that will be helpful. We need blocking; that's an area we hope to improve on. Blocking and tackling were areas we weren't the best at times.
On Stephen Garcia
Stephen played better than he's played in the past. He still has a few "Stephen Garcia" plays. We just can't get rid of those. It's unfortunate that here and there a few bad plays occur. Anyway, he played pretty well most of the year.
On the quarterback plans in the spring
The plans are for a lot of them to play and give Connor Shaw a lot of snaps. Dylan Thompson, we have to give Dylan a shot. He's been here a year. He's a man with a wonderful attitude and commitment. He has those quarterback leadership qualities you like to have. But Connor should be ready to get a lot of snaps and just let him go play and see what he can do. Stephen is going to play like Stephen. I don't know that practice helps him. From the first game to the last game, he pretty much plays the way he plays at times. We'll keep working with him and see if we can improve his fundamentals and so forth, but we have to see if Connor can help him.
On Marcus Lattimore
Briefly about Marcus, he had a bit of a swollen lip. It was a clean hit. The guys shoulder pad his Marcus's face mask and it twisted. We have to get him a better helmet ... We're going to work on getting Marcus a better helmet that will stay on his head better. The pass he caught down the sideline on our first possession, his helmet fell off on that play too. He actually took one or two steps and turned into the guy. He didn't feel it coming as it turned out. That was a bad play for the Gamecocks right there, but that's the way it happened. He should be fine and ready to go.
On early preseason expectations from the media
Our guys are not good at handling a lot of success that's for sure. I don't think that coaches will tell them they're that good. I hope they don't believe it after the last game, and the way we played the last two games, we don't deserve much preseason ranking I don't think.