South Carolina and Mississippi State play Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on LFS
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
Sept. 25, 2007
Coach Spurrier Press Conference
"Mississippi State has the same record we do at 3-1. Their year has gone a little bit like ours. They lost to LSU and won at Auburn, and we won at Georgia. We have a lot of similarities right now and should be a heckuva game at 12:30. It's Homecoming this year so hopefully we'll have a full house screaming and yelling. Hopefully our offense will give them something to scream and yell about and our defense will hopefully stop the run a little bit better than what we've done. Obviously those are two areas that we need improved. Special teams hopefully won't give them anything."
"Chris Smelley is playing. He's playing simply to see if he can play better than Blake has been playing. We're trying to see if we can get a little better play out of the quarterback, and obviously we need better play from the offensive line and receivers. It all goes together. We're looking forward to the ball game. We have some new players playing and we'll see what happens. We're still learning around here."
On receivers and play of Weslye Saunders
"Some of them did some good things here and there. Weslye Saunders made some catches. You talk about the wide outs, but we might turn into a running back and tight end team. It's always fun, when I go to recruit a tight end, people will say `You know, Steve Spurrier is not going to throw to tight ends so you're wasting your time going there.' I always say, `If you can get out and get open and catch the ball, we'll throw to you. If you can't get out and get open and can't catch, we won't throw to you.' Right now we have some receivers that can't get open, so we're not throwing it to them too much. Anybody that can get open and catch, he's going to get some balls thrown his way. That's why Weslye and Jared Cook are getting their share of the balls. Hopefully we can find some young receivers to do the same thing."
On naming new starters
"What they do in practice sort of tells the coach's what they're capable of doing. It doesn't mean they will automatically do it when they come to the stadium in front of the big crowds and national TV audience. It gives an indication that they can. If they do pretty well in practice, we'll give them a chance in the stadium. Then again, we need better pass protection as well."
On Marvin Sapp
"Marvin has played well at times and not so well at times. Marvin is excited about this opportunity. He had a heckuva game last year at Mississippi State. He made a lot of tackles. In the middle of the year, he didn't play all that well and missed tackles. He's come around and has a wonderful attitude. He's ready to play and looking forward to his chance Sunday."
On seeing more runs than passes from opponents
"We're seeing more runs than passes because we've not stopped the run as well as we need to. We do play pretty good pass defense. We have some corners that can really cover - Captain Munnerlyn, Carlos (Thomas) and Stoney (Woodson). Those guys are pretty good cover guys."
On James Thompson
"He was above a couple (other players). He graded out above the two starters. He played about like always but didn't have glaring mistakes maybe the other two had. He played pretty decent, so he's earned the starting job at right guard."
On Mississippi State offense
"Mississippi State is mainly a run team. I read they may play two quarterbacks and just run them in with plays, which sort of makes sense. We've done that in the past. They want to run first and they're capable of throwing it. They have big, tall, strong wide receivers that they can fire at. They want to run first and that's what they do best and play very good defense."
On offensive improvements
"We're going to try to get our offense improved. Our passing game and our running game, we'll try to get guys going in the right direction. See if we can pass block a little bit better and run the draw play a little bit better."
On Jasper Brinkley
"I talked to him briefly about coming back and that's what he indicated he might do."
On substituting throughout the season
"It doesn't concern me. We're trying to put the best players out there to win the game. Substituting is not anything that's bad. To me, that's not bad; it's giving everybody an opportunity to play. That's why you have 85 to 100 players on a team. If they only gave you 22 players, then we wouldn't have to substitute until somebody gets hurt. You keep trying your players and sometimes the light comes on. We'll find out if Chris Smelley can play better."
On changing quarterbacks
"There's no certain prescription to winning. Some people think you're supposed to stick with quarterbacks. I've never felt that way unless they can perform. Now if they perform at a high level and they're your best player, that's the best you can hope for. We don't have that here. We're still searching to see if one guy can play better than the rest."