South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday's SEC East home game against Georgia. The Gamecocks and Bulldogs will kick off at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
It's Georgia week. Both teams have gotten here 5-0. Just looking at the division records of all of our opponents in the east, only three of us have won a division game. The other four have not won one. It's sort of interesting we have a lot of big games coming up. If you're fortunate to keep winning, they all get bigger and bigger as you go. This is a big one for us. Back in 1984 when South Carolina was 5-0, 6-0, 7-0, did they play any other undefeated teams in that stretch? Somebody said it's the first time a couple of top 10 teams had played. I just wondered if there was one back then that South Carolina had played. Anyway it's a big game. Hopefully we'll have bigger ones as we go through the year. We're very healthy at this stage. We know what we do best. Defensively we play very well keeping guys out of the end zone. Offensively - except for those 1-yard line goal line stands we didn't convert two weeks in a row - we've been pretty efficient most of the way. We're looking forward to the game. It should be a huge crowd. I know our fans are fired up. I encourage our fans to be nice to Lee Corso. Lee Corso has been nice to us. I really believe he pulls for South Carolina a lot. He's a good guy. It should be fun. We look forward to these games. I'm sure Georgia does too. They have a rich tradition of history there. It's fun competing against them. It's fun competing against teams that know how to win also. Hopefully we can prove that we know how to win when the game takes place here Saturday night. It should be a thrilling game for everyone involved.
On running the ball well against Georgia with Marcus Lattimore
We did run the ball pretty well both years. Marcus has had a bunch of yards against them. You would think they might get more up there, but they actually stopped us real well early in the game last year. He got most of his rushing yards in the second half and a lot in the fourth quarter. We have to block. Obviously they have to stop the run first. Everyone we play has the same plan really. When you only throw 15 to 20 passes a game, the other team can't say lets stop the pass. They obviously have to try to stop Marcus and the run game.
On Marcus Lattimore's success against Georgia
Two years ago he broke a bunch of tackles. It was one of the most amazing days I've ever seen a running back have. Last year we had holes for him. He broke a few here and there, especially in the second half. It wasn't as many broken tackles last year as it was the first year. He has played very well against them. If we're to win he probably needs to have another big day.
On Mike Matulis
We hope Matulis will be back. He didn't practice last night but is expected to do something today I believe.
On the tight ends
Our tight ends have played pretty well. Justice Cunningham and Buster Anderson have done most of the playing. We hope Jerell (Adams) will get in there a bit more. They've played well. They're good solid blockers in there and good receivers. The tight ends have played well.
On Georgia's defense
Their offense has scored so much and quickly that the defense has been out there more than other teams. I think they've been out there the second-most plays (in the conference). They stop people in the fourth quarter. Reminds me a bit of Auburn two years ago when their defense wasn't ranked really good, but in the fourth quarter they stopped people and won ever game somehow doing that. Right now Georgia's defense is playing well in the fourth quarter. I'm sure they're trying to correct some stuff here and there and go from there. Who knows how it will play out Saturday night. We have to wait and see.
On close games with Georgia
I think we're pretty evenly matched most years, the last two or three years anyway. We were here in '05 and lost that 17-15 game that could've gone our way. I think we've played three really close games with them and they've won two out of three of them. Most all of them have been close. I think someone said our largest margin of victory was that 17-6 game here a couple of years ago. It looks like it will be a close game but who knows what will happen.
On Connor Shaw playing his home state team
Connor is fired up about playing against his home state university. We have a lot of Georgia guys like that. South players that play at Georgia get a kick out of playing their home state university. Connor, it's his first game action against Georgia. He's ready to go. He's looking forward to it. He's a quarterback that likes the big games and the full stadium. So is Marcus (Lattimore). I was watching that pro game last night and saw the interceptions and the quarterback getting hit and fumbled, and I thought, "Our guys doesn't do that `hopefully'."
On treating each week the same
We probably didn't treat last week's as big as we should have. As far as your routine during the week it's the same. We maybe didn't yell and scream at our guys as much in practice as we did the other weeks. You try to go one at a time. You don't over emphasize. The bigness of the game adds a little bit on its own. I believe as coaches you have the same routine no matter who you play.
On playing the SEC Eastern division's traditional top teams
It's fun playing against all the good teams. It's fun playing Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.. Historically they've been good teams, so you naturally get a little bit extra excited about it. This is the eighth time since we've been here at South Carolina that we're going against Georgia. Most of them obviously playing in that second game of the year we usually were both undefeated. They came back and won the division even after losing to us (last year). It's a big game but hopefully there will be bigger ones down the road.
On winning nine straight against Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson
Beating Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Clemson, I'm going to ask coach Corso this weekend if he thought we could beat those in a year. Things have changed around here a bit. Being very competitive with everyone in the conference is something that certainly we're proud of. We're competitive. We're not the best team, but we're up there amongst the best teams right now obviously by looking at the records. The eastern division run has been interesting. Kentucky is the only team that's beaten us in two and a half years within the division.
On Georgia as a rival
They have more rivals than almost anybody I know. They really do. They have Georgia Tech instate, that's the same as us and Clemson. They have Auburn over the years and Florida over the years. They have three right there that if you asked Coach Richt which was the biggest rival he'd probably say all of them. Traditionally we've only had Clemson because we haven't beaten anybody enough to have more rivals. Georgia since they're the closest is probably our biggest conference rival. They probably have too many rivals to put us in that group.
On Georgia's high scoring offense
It's a big challenge for our defensive guys. I'm sure we'll be ready. Georgia can run the ball and throw the ball. They've done it very well. Hopefully our defense can play a bit better than those (Georgia has) been playing against. That's what we'll find out Saturday night. Our guys are ready to play and they are looking forward to the challenge.