Assistant Coaches Kirk Botkin, Joe Robinson and Everette Sands in addition to strength and conditioning coach Joe Connolly were introduced to the media Wednesday.
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier Opening Statement
A lot of people think this game is about the X's and O's, but it's really about the Billy's and Joe's. We have two Joe's so we're jumping ahead. First, Kirk Botkin is a linebacker coach. Kirk played at Arkansas. He was the first Arkansas player to make All-SEC. He was a tight end there and played in the NFL four or five years. He coached at Arkansas and was in high school ball last year. Joe Robinson, he played at LSU. He coached there five years. He was at UNC last year. He'll be the special teams coordinator and tight end coach with an emphasis on special teams, obviously. In 2009, LSU was overall number one in the SEC in special teams, so he has a good track record. Everette Sands, a running back coach, is from Conway, S.C. He played ball at The Citadel and had a good career. He was at NC State last year. We were able to get him down here with us this year. Joe Connolly went to that football powerhouse, the University of Hartford. They don't play football do they. He's been in strength and conditioning for quite a while. He was at Louisville prior to coming here. He actually helped put the program together (at South Carolina) with Coach Fitzgerald. He was ready to step in when Craig left to go to Penn State. I don't think we'll skip a beat with strength and conditioning.
On coaching turnover
There's a little bit of turnover anytime you have success. Some people try to hire your guys. Sometimes guys leave. They think there's a better opportunity (elsewhere). It's a free country. The core of our guys are here. Our two line coaches, Shawn Elliott is in his third year and Brad Lawing, this is his fifth. Our receiver coach (has been here) and Whammy (Coach Ward) is going into his third or fourth year as a defensive coordinator, so we're not changing a whole lot of new terminology. We've added three assistant coaches. We'll add one more the next week or so that will fit in with what we've been doing, and hopefully we can do a little bit better. These guys are solid coaches. I think we'll be just as good or better. We have a lot of players here. Our assistant coaches have done an excellent job. Our assistant coaches and players do the most of recruiting. We're in good shape. Haven't done a bunch of new stuff; just added good solid coaches.
On the new assistant coach still to be hired
(Coach Ward is) going to continue coaching the corners and defensive backs. The other coach will assist him. Maybe we'll call him safety coach. He'll really assist in the secondary. There will be times that Coach Ward will hang around the linebackers and defensive linemen in practice and leave the secondary coach with the defensive backs. As a coordinator, (Coach Ward) needs to move around a bit.
Assistant Coach Kirk Botkin On coming to South Carolina
I've known Lorenzo Ward for a while know. He's a special guy. When he called me about the chance to work here, I was excited because I know he's a good person and football coach. We kept in touch and have been good friends for a while.
Assistant Coach Joe Robinson On working with special teams
When we talk about special teams, we want to be aggressive and put pressure on the opponent. It's important every game. Special teams has a great value in terms of field position. In this conference there is such a premium on possessions. People do such a great job running the football and controlling the clock. We have to be careful to not allow possessions and field positions for the opposition and try to create as well.
On his philosophy on what players to use on special teams
You do what you have to do to be successful. The coaching staff here has recruited so well so many hears now I think you'll find young players that are ready to play on the field.
On the kicking duties with 2011's kicker and punter both graduated
It will be pretty exciting at spring practice. I had a chance to meet some of them. We'll find out what we've got as we go through spring practice. We have a young man coming in who was part of this recruiting class too. Put him in in the fall and we'll see who's best.
On returning to the SEC
Unbelievable atmosphere. My daughters are excited about being back in the SEC. They cant' wait to get here. It's a great atmosphere and a great program that's been built here.
Assistant Coach Everette Sands
I had a very brief stint away from SC but it was exciting when Coach Spurrier called and asked me to come back here. It was great because it's a central location for my wife and I. Conway is two hours away, and my wife is from Hartford, Ga., which is two hours away. And being in the SEC, it's great for football. Recruiting-wise, I've recruited the state of South Carolina pretty much my whole career. I'll be recruiting in the southwest part of the state and southeast part of Georgia. I have a good relationship with the coaches there, they know who I am and I think that will be good to keep the best players here in South Carolina.
On Kendrick Salley and Mike Davis
Kendrick is a good palyer. Unfortunately he got hurt this year but he still came back even after those injuries and had a good year. He's a guy that we offered at NC State. Mike Davis is a special player as well. Both of those guys will bring a lot to the table.
On looking forward to working with South Carolina's running backs
I'm looking forward to getting Marcus (Lattimore) back. He's a great back in his own right. You also have Shon Carson who got hurt last year. He's fired up and we're looking for him to do a lot. He's a quicker, faster guy. You have Brandon Wilds who had a good year last year after Marcus got hurt, and you have Kenny Miles who still has some decisions to make, but I'm looking forward to getting him back. I have a good stable. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to coach these guys.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Joe Connolly On his philosophy compared to Coach Fitzgerald's
Me and Coach Fitzgerald pretty much put the basis of that program together, the two of us. The foundation of that program will remain the same. Our philosophies are very similar. Intensity, consistency and hard work are all tings we preached to our guys. Those things will remain the same absolutely.
On being the one to work with the athletes during the summer
This will be my fourth season here so things have progressed with my involvement with the team since I've been here. Now that Coach Spurrier has graciously added me as the head strength coach, things don't change. It's still about the guys, the athletes, the kids and how they are. The guys have great personalities. They want to work hard and they want to win. It's easy for me because of the guys we have now. It's like being handed the keys to a Ferrari. I have to keep this baby on the road, and that's what I'll do.