Sept. 13, 2011
Head Coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday's home opener against Navy. The Gamecocks and Midshipmen will kick off at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
GAMECOCK FOOTBALL PRESS CONFERENCES
September 13, 2011
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
Navy might be as good an independent school as there is in the country. They won 10, nine and eight games the last three years. I think they beat Notre Dame a couple of times. They're leading the nation in rushing offense right now. They run the triple option with fullback, quarterback and pitch guys so we'll have our hands full slowing down these guys. Their coach has done an unbelievable job in his three years there. They're 2-0 this year. They just play very well and don't beat themselves. They know how to run the ball. Their coach followed Paul Johnson who went to Georgia Tech and kept the same style offense and defense. Hopefully we can play better. We haven't played our best by any means. We'll try to coach as hard as we can. I'm trying to do a better job getting some pass defense and offense out there. We haven't been very good in those areas. We have a lot to work on.
On the fans
I want to say thanks to our fans that were at our last game. We had a big throng in Athens. Fortunately as it ended up they were the last ones to leave. It's always a godo thing when are fans are the last one's to leave. We appreciate their support there last week.
On Shon Carson
Most all of our guys are healthy. Shon hurt his knee. He'll probably miss this season. Just talked to him and we'll try to redshirt him and give him four more years to play here. He's an outstanding runner with the ball and I think he'll be a great tailback here at the University of South Carolina. That will separate him a year from Marcus (Lattimore) and maybe give him more opportunities down the road.
On playing at home after six straight away games, dating back to 2010
We haven't been here in a while but that's just the way the schedule worked out. We had our last one at Clemson last year and of course the bowl and championship games (were away); then we opened on the road this year. We're anxious to get home here and play in front of our crowd. It's always a big night when we have a home game. We're thinking about trying to play football a little better. We're trying to block, tackle, throw and catch better than we've been doing. But we do have an excellent win behind us. If we can improve from here on out, maybe something big can happen this year. Who knows?
On how to defend Navy's triple-option
I talked to our defensive coaches the other day. We've been watching these other teams that run it and how they defend a team (with the same offense) when they play. The Army-Navy (game) is our best game because both teams play the same offense and know how to defend each other. We know how to do it, and Coach (Ellis) Johnson has played against this style in his career. We just have to play fast, play assignment ball and get after them. That's what we have to do.
Navy takes care of the ball. They get the most out of their players. They're very well-coached. They do an excellent job with the players they have there. I read where they're .500 against SEC opponents in the last however years it's been. They're 9-9-2 overall against SEC opponents.
On the pass offense problems
The solution is we're just not throwing some completions. Georgia had some good coverages. We had a couple of plays where there was nowhere to throw it. Stephen (Garcia) did a good job throwing it away. We had a few plays on the sideline but other than that Georgia played well defensively. Give those guys credit.
On how good teams react to previous game results
Those teams play well no matter what you did the week before, if you win or lose. We're not in any letdown mode around here. We didn't play a very good game last week. We had some big plays and that's the only reason we won. We have a lot of coaching to do and hopefully our players realize we need to play a lot better or we'll be in trouble.
On coming from behind to win at Georgia
It was encouraging that we were behind in the 4th quarter and ended up winning. We haven't done that much around here. That drive we had three big plays. It wasn't like we just went up and down the field. We had the interference, then Stephen (Garcia) hit Ace (Sanders) on the scramble play, and Marcus (Lattimore) went down to the 2-yard line. It was nice that that happened. We need to concentrate on shoring up our defense. On offense we need to throw the ball much better and so forth. I don't know how much longer we'll keep getting these big plays. We had four (non-offensive) touchdowns - three from the defense and one from Melvin (Ingram) on the fake punt - so we're trying to play better offensively around here.
On the team's performance so far this season
56-37 (at East Carolina), 45-42 (at Georgia). That's where we're at right now. I'd like to get it down to 31-7 or 31-10. That's what we'd like to get to. We make some big plays and the next thing you know the other team scores again. We have to shore up our pass defense, and we have to throw better. Special teams has been pretty good, but our kickoff coverage got bad last week. We have to do some coaching this week and see if we can perform at a higher level than we've been doing.
On Marcus Lattimore at Georgia
The offensive line did pretty well. (Georgia) did a good job of stopping our inside run play. We finally started calling some different runs that got (Marcus Lattimore) freed up. Marcus is an excellent runner and at the end of the game I didn't realize he had 176 yards. I thought he had about 110 or 120. It didn't seem like he had many. He was getting yards as we went; we just weren't finishing drives at the time. We don't forget about Marcus running the ball. That's what gives us a chance.
On utilizing more players going forward
We hope to utilize a lot of guys going forward that we haven't. We're trying to utilize all of our guys more. To do that, the offense needs to stay on the field longer, and our defense needs to get the other team off the field quicker. Those things haven't happened real well, and our passing game hasn't gone very far. We're trying to utilize all of our guys more.
On run-oriented teams from FBS and FCS conferences
These other teams are pretty good. They come to play. Navy will play anybody tough really. I don't know if they can play Alabama tough. Alabama knows how to stuff these teams that aren't the big, strong teams, but for some reason Wofford always plays us or Clemson pretty close. There doesn't seem to be many blowout games with them or Furman or whatever. We just have to play the best we can. We're concentrating not so much on our opponent but on ourselves. We have to play this game at a higher level. Hopefully soon, now that we're in the middle of the season. This will be a big test for us.
On wide receiver depth
D.L. Moore is hurt. His shoulder is messed up and his ankle is messed up. He's out this game. Jason (Barnes) and Bruce (Ellington) we're trying to get more involved this week. Alshon (Jeffery) and Ace (Sanders) will be in there. We still don't know about Damiere Byrd. There's a chance he may be declared eligible and a chance he may not be. We'll find out later in the week.
On Antonio Allen
Antonio is having an All-American type year, no question about it. Big plays. That interception was a big play. He had some miscues here and there but overall he's playing extremely well. He and Melvin (Ingram) had the big plays, and Stephon (Gilmore) got the fumble. He had the good bounce right to him and made an excellent run. If one of the defensive backs got out of his way he would have scored that play.
On why more teams don't use the option offense
It probably doesn't suit everyone's talent that much. If it worked for everyone you'd think everyone would use it. Maybe it doesn't work for everybody. I don't think it would work for us. ... You can recruit that way. Paul Johnson does it at Georgia Tech and this guy does it at Navy very well. I don't have the answer to that one.
On Stephen Garcia's performance at Georgia
I just think he was a little pumped up. He actually sort of said he felt like he needed to throw over that guy. He was a little high early and settled down a bit later. Our two best plays of the game were scramble plays where he rolled out the pocket and hit Alshon (Jeffery) and hit Ace (Sanders). That may be our best play at this time.
On DeVonte Holloman
We'll try to put the best athletes on the field. That's what we'll try to do. Devonte is one of our best and we need to get him out there. He doesn't need to play behind Antonio (Allen). Some guys say Antonio will get tired, but I say if we get a bunch of three and outs he won't get tired. We need to get the best athletes on the field, simple as that.