South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday's SEC road game at LSU. The Gamecocks and Tigers will kick off at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Looking at some of the statistics and they're sort of right where they were they were last year. Offensively LSU is in the middle in most categories but that's one way to describe LSU. That's a big, strong, physical team that doesn't get a lot of yards. You have to play well to beat them. They're first in the conference in pass defense. They can cover and play a bit more man-to-man than we've seen from most teams. A bunch of good athletes (and) well coached. Preseason number one in the nation. There was a reason for that. Their offense probably hadn't played quite as well as they'd hoped but defensively they're a very sound and tough bunch of guys. Other than that we're looking forward to the game. We're pretty healthy. I think Akeem Auguste and Byron Jerideau may not play with ankle sprains. Other than that the entire team should be healthy. Another TV and a top 10 matchup like last week. I guess we have an opportunity with two top 10 teams (in a row). We've never won one on the road. Maybe we have another shot at something that's never happened around here. We're looking forward to going to Baton Rouge. Tough place to play. (They are) loud and screaming. We won't be able to audible like last week. Hopefully we can get the right one called and go from there.
On Connor Shaw's running and Damiere Byrd
When he gets a small opening he can take off and make nine or 10 yards which is helpful. We turn him loose on that. If the guy is there we like for him to get out. He's pretty good about it. The receivers made some big catches last week. D.L. Moore's catch and Damiere Byrd, their guy shad his hands on it and Damiere basically took it away from him. Damiere made another touchdown saving tackle on kickoffs. Three of them this year. Damiere is a valuable player on our team. Those things like that you don't write much about in the newspaper, but hopefully we can start covering kickoffs a little better than we have.
On playing tough stretches of top teams when coaching at Florida
We didn't always beat them. We got beat some too. You try to prepare for all of them the same way. I still think the biggest thing is your senior players and leadership on the team is what's most important. Some years we didn't have guys like Danny Wuerffel and some of the defensive leaders and we got beat. Maybe it was our time to get beat or sometimes stuff happens in football, but mainly your players are the guys that will make sure the team is ready to play. As coaches we do the same thing every week. Hopefully the team will follow.
On playing LSU's defense
We all get tapes of each other. They're just real sound. Most good defenses are real sound. They don't use a lot of gimmick stuff here and there. Most good defenses have really good athletes which is key also. Who knows how this one will turn out, but if we're to have a chance to beat them our defense has to play really well.
On the stretch of tough teams back-to-back
I can't remember one like that. Most of the time we were favored. We won't be favored here for a few which is fine and should be. It's a challenge what we're going through as far as playing all these ranked teams. Again that's just the way it is. That's what the schedule is and we're looking forward to it. Most of our guy shave never been to Death Valley. We haven't talked to our team about the stadium too much. They know it will be loud and crazy. We've won before 90,000 (fans) before. Most of our guys were in the Swamp two years ago and most of them were at Georgia last year. Good stadium and good crowd. We've won there before and certainly we've lost there before.
On LSU's defense
They're all strong, fast, good athletes. A lot of people say that's maybe what separates the SEC from the other conferences is the defensive players. The defensive front four guys are probably the difference in our conference than a lot of the others. These other conferences have fast guys and quarterbacks and skill players, but those big dominating defensive lineman type guys - I'm sure the Big 10 has some - but I'm sure there's probably more in the south and the SEC.
On Connor Shaw
That's a big part of his game, throwing and running. He's good at it so we use it. Usually those defensive coaches like quarterbacks that don't run. That's one less guy you have to account for. It certainly helps our offense.
On Ace Sanders
Ace is a good player. He worked hard all summer. He's fast; he's quick. Obviously we need to try and get it in his hands a little bit more. Then Damiere Byrd and Bruce Ellington haven't caught as many passes as we'd all like, but we've been fortunate to get ahead and give the ball to Marcus Lattimore and Kenny Miles. That's seems to be the best way to go about winning the game.
On LSU Head Coach Les Miles
Those fourth down gambles usually all pay off for him that's for sure. They flipped a fake field goal against us about six years ago and scored. I like what Les does. They had a big year last year. They were undefeated until the national championship game. They won the division and won the SEC.
On the special jersey's this weekend
Under Armour wanted us to wear one and they selected this game (when we wear) dark jerseys on the road. Our players looked at them this summer and really liked them, so we'll wear sort of a grey jersey. We'll still have white helmets. It's a new uniform. I think when the season is over as a bowl gift you ca give the jersey to the players. We'll look a little different out there Saturday night.
On the offensive line Mike Matulis should be ready to go this week. Cory Robinson and Brandon Shell played very well. That was encouraging that the pass protection was very good. Run blocking was so-so, it was decent. The pass protection was much improved from what we had earlier in the season. Our offensive line needs to play well if we're going to continue on.
On team goals
This team set some high goals. The goal was not to just beat Georgia and get to 6-0. We set goals for the entire season so that's where we are. The team knows we're only halfway there. We're going to try and hit our goals.
On Rory Anderson
Busta is a good receiver. He's sort of slippery getting out and so forth. We don't throw that much, that's why he doesn't have a lot of catches. Justice Cunningham doesn't have a lot either. Nobody has a lot really, but he does have a knack for running some good routes and catching the ball.