Oct. 19, 2010
Tuesday Football Press Conferences
October 19, 2010 Columbia, S.C.
Head Coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday's SEC road game against Vanderbilt.
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
We're looking forward to playing in Nashville this Saturday night at 7 p.m. eastern and 6 p.m. central. Vanderbilt is very similar to most years. Their big win was against Ole Miss. Regardless of the record, we always have a tough time with Vanderbilt the last three or four years. We were fortunate to beat them last year 14-10. The year before that they beat us in Nashville. We're expecting a tough, down to the wire game. We're trying to move on from last year. I heard a Rascall Flats song on the radio today, "Moving On". That's what we have to do - move on. We have a problem at South Carolina football called passing defense. We're not playing our assignments. If guys are confused we have to coach better. We'll try to simplify things and put our guys in position where they can't screw up. Hopefully that will help us as we go down the stretch here. A lot of guys are playing well. Unfortunately missed assignments on offense and defense will come back to get you. Until we can play our assignments it will be difficult to win consistently. Hopefully we can tighten up, take care of the ball and play a solid game in Nashville. We understand and realize we're in the hunt for the eastern division, but we can't continue to play the way we've been playing and expect to win it. This is a crucial week to see if we can tighten up our pass defense. Special teams has been consistent. We haven't had any big plays this year. We're looking forward to the ball game and hopefully we can come back a winner.
On if he plans to play more pressure, man-to-man defense
That's a good question. We hope to do it more. We should be using a bit more pressure man (defense). A lot of times 3rd and 13 or 14 is not really the time for that, but (on) 3rd and 2 or 3 we should. We should be using more man. We'll try to do it in the future.
On former Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson and Vanderbilt's identity
I think Bobby always had a competitive team there. They won a bowl game two or three years ago, which was the first one in 30 years or something like that, so Bobby had a very competitive team. Again Vanderbilt, Duke (and all) the academic schools, when they win more than they lose they've had a heckuva year. They've had an outstanding year. That's the way the academic schools look at it. Give credit to Northwestern, and I guess Stanford has done the best job of all the so-called academic schools. But Vanderbilt is tough. They play with discipline. They're a zone blitz team, a little man-to-man, but the guys are always in position. I admire how they're such a disciplined defense.
On second half problems recently
(In our) last game all of our problems began the second half. Penalties, dropped snap from center, didn't have good field position, didn't run the ball well and didn't go very far. Other than that there's really no answer particularly. We don't get on the field as quickly as we'd like at times, but we have to get better on 3rd downs and get the other team off the field. That's a problem we've had - getting the other guy off the field. We'll make changes. We won't do the same thing over and over again. We'll do something different and see if it helps.
On kick and punt return options
Bryce Sherman is going to go back and be our kickoff guy. He always makes a few yards and hits whatever's there. Vanderbilt, they're punter kicks it sometimes with that rugby style so there's a chance we may have one or two guys back there. Ace Sanders would be the other guy. Stephon (Gilmore), that's the first time he's dropped one since he's been here. We won't fire him yet. Our holdup guys we fired, we'll have different holdup guys. We can't watch them run around the way they've been doing it. We'll have different holdup guys to give our running guys a chance.
On Kenny Miles playing a bigger role this week
Kenny is fired up. Coach (Jay) Graham and I talked and said lets give Kenny a chance. Brian Maddox has hustled. He's done everything. He had a diving catch last week for minus-two yards. Stephen (Garcia) threw it behind him last week ... but anyway that's how our offense went in the second half. Anyway Kenny's fired up and ready to play. He's had a wonderful attitude through these first six games. I think he had 100 yards at this game last year.
On the SEC East race
Georgia played very well, ran the ball (and) threw the ball. They looked like the best team in the SEC probably last week and maybe in the week before against Tennessee. They got their act together. They're still in the hunt in the east. Everyone is in the hunt just about. Vanderbilt is still in the hunt. In the conference they're 1-2. They only have two losses. Most of us have just played four games. A few have played five, but it's pretty much wide open. We have a chance if we can go play ball. We'll see if we improve from our mistakes. We've been making a lot of mistakes all year and getting away with it. It caught up with us last week. Hopefully we can tighten up, mix in more man-to-man and zone where everyone knows what they're doing and go from there.
On Marcus Lattimore
I wouldn't say he's definitely out. He can walk right now. He may make a nice recovery between now and then.
On the team's SEC road losing streak
We're getting less points than the other team. That's exactly what's happened. Lets don't make any more about we should have beaten Kentucky. They made 21 first downs to our 17. They made nine third downs to our five. They were 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions. They played better than us. They just beat us. We don't sit around and mope about missed assignments which helped lose, but during the course of the game they outplayed us. Give those guys credit.
We haven't played very well. We've been sort of a flat bunch it appears at times. At other times guys are playing well. Our third down defense was not good last week. We had so many good plays. We're leading the conference in sacks, but you have to play the third down. You have to play the entire game. As it turned out we didn't do that well.
Again Georgia started down a bit but they're coming back. Florida is down a bit. Tennessee is down a bit from where they usually are. We had a chance to do some good here but last week put us in with pretty much everyone else. We still have a good chance if we can play the way we've been playing. We have to play well on the road. I don't have the answer for the road woes. We don't have excuses. We just haven't played very well, especially in the second half. You can't say we weren't ready. Three games in a row we've scored three times on the first four possessions and we lost two of the three.
On discipline and mental toughness
I would say discipline is a problem, and if they're confused on our scheme we need to straighten that out. We've had careless play that hopefully we can correct and our guys will want to correct. That's offensively and defensively. We have a blocking scheme called `Roger' and one of our guys went left. I said did you hear the call. He said `yes sir'. I said why'd you go left and he said, `I just made a mistake.' ... It's called mental toughness. That's the word I've heard from people about the Dallas Cowboys. Maybe that's us too. As coaches we can't get our guys to be mentally tough. We'll keep trying and see how badly our guys want to play their assignment.
On careless mistakes
We haven't had a (defensive) interception in three games. Furman was the last one. Everyone's throwing 35 to 40 times on us every week so someone has to try and step up and make some plays. We did have some turnover's last week with the dropped punt and Ace (Sanders) had his fumble at the end of the half. We had a couple of careless picks in the game also. Anyway we have to move on. We can't dwell on the last game or even the Auburn game or the Alabama game. We have to move on and try to get ready for Vanderbilt. They'll be tough. They'll watch the Kentucky tape and say, `we can beat those guys. Lets go get us a win.' So we know it will be a very tough game.