Head Coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday's non-conference game against Furman at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks and Paladins will kick off at 7 p.m. on PPV.
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier Opening Statement
We're looking forward to playing Furman. We haven't played them in several years. (It's) the first time since I've been here. Those guys have a rich tradition at Furman. (Among) the winningest football programs in North Carolina and South Carolina, they're second to Appalachian State. Furman going into this year is 83-40, something like that. Bobby Lamb has been there several years. They're well coached and do an excellent job. They play extremely hard and are a good team. We need to play well to beat these guys. We need to have a good week in practice. We had a good practice yesterday. They're 1-0 and have a couple of quarterbacks that play a bit in Cody Worley and Chris Forcier. He transferred from UCLA. We look forward to playing them 7 o'clock here Saturday night. Hopefully we'll have a full house and try to play better than we did last week.
On keeping his team focused
We don't have to talk about that because we know that we barely got by Wofford the two times we played them. SC State played us very close till about the middle of the third quarter last year. That was the only game they lost. They were a very good team. Furman probably have been pointing to this game all year. This is their chance for an upset. They'll give it their best shot. We have to be ready for anything - onside kicks or fake punts, whatever. When you're and underdog like that, you have nothing to lose. They'll be jacked up. We haven't won any easy games around here much. I don't know how we can be overconfident because we haven't done enough to think we should be heavily favored over a team.
On playing the in-state schools
We have to play somebody. We have three choice games. When I got here the (athletic director) said, `Do you mind playing in-state schools.' I said, no why not. We have to play somebody. They want to play us and are willing to come here without us going there, so it's a good game for everyone. They get fired up about it. Fortunately we've won them all thus far. So it's been good for us. If we lost a few of them it wouldn't look good, but we probably would've lost to someone else anyway (if that happened). It's good for our state and those schools to get a paycheck and come here and play. We have to be ready to beat them. We've had close games and this one likely can be close also.
On if he's talked to Marcus Lattimore since the attention he's garnered
We haven't been together much. Marcus comes from a big-time high school up at Byrnes. He's had a lot of praise, accolades and recognition. (He was a) high school All-American and Mr. Football for the state, so he's had a lot of attention. Hopefully he'll stay well grounded, which I think he is, and get ready this week. He's only played a couple of games. Everyone knows about him now. He has a lot of goals and his commitment level is very good. He had a good practice last night, nothing different.
On the attention Marcus Lattimore has earned
That's only human nature. When you have a sensational game like Marcus did last week, that's going to happen. He has to handle it, we have to handle it and not get full of ourselves and get ready to play every week. We're all smart enough to know that one game doesn't make a career. I believe he'll be fired up and ready to go against Furman. That's a school close to where he grew up. He likes to play football, so he'll be ready along with the rest of the guys.
On the offensive line
When we watched the tape we realized we didn't play all that great. The offensive line played decent most of the time, but we had a lot of mistakes up there. A couple of (defenders) were waiting on Marcus (Lattimore) as soon as he got the ball. One time Stephen (Garcia) got hit from the blindside and fortunately he held onto the ball. That didn't cost us, but we didn't complete much down field. I think we had four passes past the line of scrimmage the other day. We have a lot of work to do in pass protection, throwing the ball and catching. We have a long way to go if we'll have a good year.
On FCS teams upsetting FBS teams
We know it can happen. We know it does happen every now and then. Shawn Elliott was with Appalachian State (when they defeated Michigan in 2007) and that was considered the biggest upset at that time. Some people said in college football history when Appalachian State beat Michigan. We know it can happen, and we'll be ready to play this week.
On the team's national ranking
I bet half our guys don't even know where we're ranked. That shouldn't have anything to do with the game. We have good senior leadership, and they've talked to the guys. The team has some lofty goals this year, so we're nowhere close to achieving anything yet.
On teams using double coverage against Alshon Jeffery
I believe Alshon is a big-time receiver. We have to get other guys involved more. Tori Gurley, Ace Sanders may play more; D.L. Moore is a good receiver. We have to get ready to throw the ball. We're not a good passing team. We'll try to get better on everything this week - passing and running.
On the defense Josh Dickerson had an excellent game this past week. We also went back and gave a couple of game balls to Travian Robertson. Coach Lawing mentioned he thought he had his best game as a Gamecock (against Georgia), and Garrett Chisolm got a game ball. He showed up last year as a walk-on. Now he's a starting left guard and had his best game here also (against Georgia). I mention that because those linemen don't get much attention, but those two guys got a late game ball. After we watched the tape, we realized those guys had good solid games.
On Coach Shawn Elliott's experience against Furman from his time at Appalachian State
This is his game. We assign each game to one assistant coach. This is his week to talk about Furman and so forth. He's played against them, and we have the tape of Appalachian State verses Furman last year. We watched it a little this morning.
On Marcus Lattimore getting 37 carries
If you have a back that continues to make yards and you're not throwing well, he'll get a whole bunch (of carries) with any coach. Certainly that was a line some schools used in trying to recruit Marcus. We told him he'd have an opportunity to do that, and it came in the second game of his career here. Will he have a game where he gets that many in the future, I don't know. You can't say how each game (will) progress. But as long as he stays healthy, he needs to get the ball a lot.
On Coach Ellis Johnson's wanting the defensive ends to get more pressure on the quarterback Devin Taylor made some big plays last week. We have to get him coming along, and Cliff Matthews got pressure at the end of the game there. We'll get those guys cranked up a bit. I think they're excellent rushers. We'll get more pressure on the passer. (Coach Johnson's) right, we haven't had quite the pressure we had last year with Eric Norwood. Those guys are good rushers, and they'll be in there hopefully a lot.
On why FCS teams are upsetting FBS teams more frequently
I don't have the exact answer. If you watched Miami of Ohio almost beat Florida a couple of weeks ago, you can see that they were really ready to play. I'm not sure that the bigger schools get as fired up as they need to be to play smaller schools, but football is a game of emotion. It is. It's that old saying, `It's not the dog in the fight, it's the fight in the dog' in football. That's how upsets can happen. You get a big play here or there, get a loose fumble that you pick up and score; you need one or two big breaks to get a big upset. If you can get those and not give the other team anything, it can happen. That's how James Madison did it the other day. I don't think Virginia Tech punted, but they had to kick field goals and had three turnovers. (Virginia Tech) only had 16 points without punting. That means James Madison didn't give anything. That's how (upsets) can happen.
On his team being considered an SEC championship contender
We're contenders today because we're 1-0. That's all it means. It's better to be 1-0 than 0-1. Whatever happens down the road, we have seven more conference games. It's way early. We hope to be a contender. We are right now certainly. I hope we are when we play the last conference game of the year.
On talking to players that saw little action against Georgia
We talked to all the guys that didn't play much. There were a lot of payers that didn't play much. It was a fast game. I looked at one or two defensive guys (during the game) and asked if they played yet, and they said no. Georgia only had 47 plays. I asked Coach Lawing, and he said (the offense was) out so long that we were well rested on defense, so we played the same guys the whole way. Kenny (Miles) seemed fine yesterday. He understands he'll get the ball this week. He'll be ready to go, but it was a game Marcus was knifing through guys and breaking tackles. It was obvious to everyone in the ballpark that to win the game (we had to) just keep handing it to him and go from there.
On the decision to focus on the run against Georgia
We made a decision to start running the ball after Stephen (Garcia) had the big sack. Spencer Lanning had some big punts that kept them bottled up way down there. We got hit from the blind side. Then we had that big sack. It was time to just try to play smart. Fortunately it worked out there.
On the endzone offense
We only have one touchdown pass all year. We're running it into the endzone, which is something we haven't done since I've been here.
On who he compares Marcus Lattimore to
I mentioned earlier I think his style is a lot like Emmitt Smith. Emmitt, his shoulder pads seem to always be square when he comes through the line of scrimmage. Tacklers don't get a good clean shot at his body because his pad level is so low. Even when they dive at his feet and ankles, he's able to get his feet (off) the ground if they come in real low. That's how running backs can stay healthy a long time. Emmitt I don't think ever had knee surgeries, ankle problems or anything over the years. He lasted a long time without injuries. I think Marcus's style will keep him healthy, I believe. Hopefully it will. We'll see how it goes. He doesn't give tacklers a good clean shot at him. He has the ability to glance off and break tackles and so forth.