Sept. 6, 2011
Head Coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday's game SEC opener at Georgia. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs will kick off at 4:30 p.m. on ESPN.
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
Obviously it's a big ball game this week. Georgia Bulldogs and South Carolina. I guess in the preseason most of the experts picked either us or Georgia. I don't know if anyone picked some other teams, so it's a huge game. Hopefully our team will be ready to play better than we played last week. It wasn't really pretty the way we attempted to play. Hopefully we can make adjustments coaching and player-wise. Georgia feels the same way I'm sure (after playing Boise State). Boise, you have to admire the way their kids play. They played fundamentally sound, very few mistakes, hustle and give it their best shot. When they jog down the field, they look like Wofford or Furman or those teams. They play hard; their quarterback looked sharp throwing the ball. But that game's history, and hopefully our team can play a lot smarter, take care of the ball and play well in the kicking game. We made some good plays. (The fumbles were) discouraging but fortunately in the second half we played better. We have a lot of work to do to get better. Georgia is a good team. Their quarterback is really good, and their tight end is really good. We have to play some ball. It's a huge game. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens. The winner is in pretty good shape. The loser's not in terrible shape, but he's not as good as the winner.
On being favored against Georgia
We don't look at who's favored or who it is. We just try to play the best we can. That's all we're trying to do is play the game better than we did last week. If we do that we'll have a chance. If we don't do that the chances won't be very good.
On stability in the coaching profession
Time's change as we all know in sports. Who would've thought Jim Tressel wouldn't be at Ohio State this year. Things change quickly some times. If you go in a slump and you're at a school that's used to winning, the fans get a little irritated. That's just the way it is. I came to a program that the coach before me had a losing record. Our expectations weren't quite like Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. As I said then, we had nowhere to go but up. We've gone gradually up. We're trying to get there ... I know the media likes to write about a coach on the hot seat, but I assure you (the coach) is trying to figure out how to beat us. We'll try to figure out the best way to beat them. It should be a good game.
On if Marcus Lattimore will have the same type of game that he did vs. Georgia last year
He had a lot of carries in the second half last week. Who knows how it will turn out. If he's running for six or seven yards a carry like last year, obviously he may get 35 (touches). They'll stack the box. I'm sure they watched tape of the run blocking schemes we used. You have to figure they'll try to get more guys in the box and defend against Marcus. Maybe we need to throw the ball better than we did last week, pass block better and run better routes. That may be the key for us to beat them. Who knows. Or maybe we can keep running it. Who knows.
On what he tells the players about this game
We tell them the importance of the game. I don't know if all our guys know Georgia is in our division. I hope they do. So we tell them that and the importance of that. Other than that it's just a game. If it goes bad, we'll keep playing the rest of the year. If it goes good, we'll still keep playing the rest of the year. All of our division games are important because a goal is to win the division.
On Antonio Allen
Antonio had a super game - 16 tackles, a fumble recovery and a stripped fumble for a touchdown. I guess he should have been SEC Defensive Player of the Year. (LSU's Tyrann Mathieu) probably had a heckuva game too. It's well documented what (Antonio) did. He's on the way hopefully to having a super year that will help our team win big.
On if the importance of Saturday's game is real or hyperbole
It's a big game but it's not the only game we'll play. One of the teams that wins it can still lose a bunch down the road, and the team that loses can win a bunch down the road. The division games are a little more important, but we're trying to play better than we did last year.
On Rokevius Watkins
Rokevius is a good player. He can play anywhere up front. He had a very good game at right tackle. He's in the best shape probably of his life. He came here about 345 or 350 (pounds) and he's down to 325 now which he can handle easily. He had a good solid game. He was the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week.
On Connor Shaw
He's fine. He saw what happened. We watched the tape. He could've done this and that. Obviously the two long balls were close (to Jason Barnes and Alshon Jeffery) ... some other plays he could've done better. He understands Stephen (Garcia) played a lot better than he did. That's the way it was. Connor played better than Stephen in the preseason. We opened it up and it worked its way out. We didn't say Connor would be the starter for the year. We said each would play a quarter and we'll go from there.
On Marcus Lattimore's Heisman chances
Whoever wins the Heisman nowadays is usually a player on a team that's in the top five in the nation and contending for a national championship. If we got in that position by the 10th, 11th or 12th game, you'd think he'd have a chance, but if we're not in that position it'd be difficult to have a chance. We don't worry about that. It gives the media something to talk about. We just concern ourselves to beat Georgia this week.
On Georgia's defense
They have good athletes as always. They've been recruiting extremely well. They're in the top 10 in the nation in recruiting every February. I read somewhere that they call this recruiting class their "Dream Team". We're going against a pretty good bunch of athletes. Even though they have young guys playing, we have young guys too. They have good athletes all over the place. We have to execute and take care of the ball.
On wide receivers
We didn't get a lot of balls out at times. Our protection broke down. The quarterback had to run a few times and they covered well. East Carolina had decent coverages on and we couldn't get it out. Other than that, our guys have caught the ball well in practice. You just need opportunities. Obviously we throw it mostly to Alshon (Jeffery) but we need to get the other guys involved, and we'll see how it plays out.
On the possibility to be favored in most games this year
I think we always get everyone's best shot to tell the truth. In our mind is how lousy the team played last week. It was a sloppy game defensively and offensively. We had two fumbles on special teams, but other than that they played pretty well. We played almost like we could've easily lost the game. Fortunately East Carolina fumbled it to us. We didn't have to go 80 yards every drive. We have to play a lot better before we think we're hot stuff is what I'm trying to say. We're a bunch of average guys out there right now.
Two were on special teams, Connor (Shaw) had one and Marcus (Lattimore) spun around and the guy hit the ball. We only had one fumble by a running back or wide receiver. Now if our running backs and wide receivers were catching it and fumbling it, we'd have to have a talk. But we need to take care of the ball, certainly.
On what he learned from his team coming from behind
I learned that it's always beneficial if the other team fumbles. But it was good for us. Most of the time we get behind around here and we can't get out of it, but it was good to be down 17-0 and come out of it. We need to come from behind in the 4th quarter. That would be key for us (in the future), to make a big play to come from behind in the 4th quarter.