Nov. 4, 2008
Head Coach Steve Spurrier met with the media for his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon in the Crews Building team room. Below are some excerpts from his press conference:
We're looking forward to the ballgame Saturday afternoon at 1:00, Arkansas comes in. They're a team that's beaten us the last two years. We're going to see if we can play a bit better on offense. Our defense has played well and so has our special teams.
Arkansas is good team that has played well all season long. We look forward to probably a close game. We'll see if we can make a play in the 4th quarter to try to put these guys away.
What is different about them defensively?
They were pretty much a man-to-man team, now they play a lot of coverages. They play multiple defenses. Bobby Petrino has been known as an outstanding coach over at Louisville. They throw it around successfully, their offense has scored a bunch of points this year.
On Kenny McKinley potentially becoming the all-time leading receiver at USC
You never know, but Kenny is a very good player who has really learned how to play. He's a natural, knows how to get open and how to play. Did we think he would be the all time record holder? No, I don't think so. He was already committed when I got here, he said he read in the paper that I was coming and called Coach Cooper to say he was committing. He's big enough to play in the NFL; we'll wish him the best when this year is over. The Tennessee game his freshman year was when we figured out that this guy could play. He made a lot of big plays in that 16-15 win; I think he became a starter after that game.
On Stephen Garcia
He's a good spring practice and a year away from probably knowing what's going on. He's still going to play; we're probably asking him to do too much. He likes to run around. We're probably asking him to look at the defense too much. He just needs a bunch of training. We tried to run the ball last week, we're not really a running team, though. We've got to be smart right now and understand what we're all about. Do what we can to win the game.
On Arkansas' defense
They're very aggressive; I think they sacked the Tulsa QB the first two plays of the game last week. They are a pretty good defense, not the best in the league but they've made a lot of plays. They got an interception late in the game. They'll give our offense all they can handle.
On the health of the team
We're very healthy this time of year. That's why you have 85 scholarship players, so you have backups if something happens.
On the progress of the team
The progress of the defense has been very good, special teams has been very good, offense is struggling more than we hoped.
On Special Teams Coordinator Ray Rychleski
With his track record, he was very solid and the special teams are fundamentally sound. I think it's the best way to go, like having an offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator, to have a special teams coordinator.
On Marvin Sapp
Marvin has played much better this year. Ellis Johnson has brought the best out in him. He's having an outstanding year, I wish we had red-shirted him his freshman year. He's certainly playing his best his fourth year. He was committed to Georgia Tech, and he changed his mind and wanted to come up here.
On the time of the Arkansas game
They asked us when we wanted to play, I think our fans would rather have an afternoon game late in the year when it's cooler out. I think Arkansas prefers it so they could get back on the road not too late. I think you play when television wants you to play. I think early in the season you should play late when it's 90 degrees outside, and late in the year you should play earlier in the day.
On the team and today's presidential election
I don't know how many are registered here; I guess some of them are. We haven't really talked about it. Maybe I'll talk to them when we meet today...I'm registered out in my neighborhood, I plan to vote (later this afternoon).
Cliff Matthews - Audio (Free!)
On the defense being prepared for Saturday's game with Arkansas
We're feeling pretty good about it. We're moving on, we're going hard in practice, trying to peak each week. Trying to get better.
On how much the defense will have to adjust for Arkansas
I watched a little film on them and I'll watch more during the week, but we're feeling pretty good about it. Coach (Ellis) Johnson, he's got a great defensive scheme for them. We just have to come ready to play.
On the South Carolina defense's improvement from a year ago
I'm not sure what went wrong (in last year's game). But we've improved on defense a lot since last year. We're stopping the run better than we were last year. Our new defensive coordinator has a lot to do with that.
On how well the defense has played considering the turnover after last season
Coach Spurrier put us in a situation for ust o be a great defense with him bringing Coach Johnson in. It didn't really affect us, having three different defensive coordinators, but we got one and we've been focusing.
On Arkansas' offense
I think Casey Dick threw for over 400 yards the last game and their running back is leading the SEC, so we've just got to come to play. Their offensive line is pretty big.
Kenny McKinley - Audio (Free!)
On the team's focus since becoming bowl eligible
Last year we finished up 6-6 and still didn't make it to a bowl. It's more motivation for us to go out and take it one game at a time. We still want to win. Our goal is to win nine of 10 games, and we still can do that. There's no reason why we shouldn't go out and win nine games this year.
On playing his final home game at Williams-Brice Stadium
Oh, man. I've got a lot of emotions. My uncles and cousins, a lot of people are coming down for this game. My last time in Williams-Brice - hopefully it will be memorable. I hope I can go out a winner. I've had a lot of memories here, and this kind of where I started my receiving career. It's been a good run for me.
On having not been a receiver coming out of high school
I've got a lot of confidence in myself and knew I was going to be a good player. But never playing receiver, I never thought I'd do the things I've done. Breaking the all-time receptions record and having a chance to break the career yards record...I never though I would have those chances. Coming after Sidney Rice, Troy Williamson, guys like that...I guess staying that extra year really paid off.
On the reaction when he found out he would be playing receiver
I looked at it as an opportunity. Coach Spurrier puts a lot of receivers in the league, and that would be my way to have a chance to go to the NFL. It was no problem changing to receiver, I was just hoping I would be a good receiver like Coach Spurrier was telling me he thought I could be.
On this week's game with Arkansas
We've watched them on film. It seems like those guys are getting better each and every week. They've got a big-time running back over there and a good quarterback in Casey Dick. They look pretty good; they're progressing every game.
Eric Norwood - Audio (Free!)
On facing Arkansas this Saturday
We're looking forward to it. They've got an explosive offense, they like to spread the ball out a lot. They're not really a running team, even though they have a leading rusher, they're more of a passing team.
On last year's loss to the Razorbacks
It was embarrassing to me, the team and the fans that we allowed them to run for that much. We've got to get that out of our heads. It's going to stick with you regardless, but we'll try to get that out of people's heads this year.
On the confidence of the defense
Everybody knows their role. If you get everybody to know their role and play hard, and don't try to get out of it, everything goes perfectly. Everybody looks good when everybody's doing the right thing.
On the difference between this year's defense and last year's
Consistency. That's the only thing I can think of. It's good having a new coordinator and having Jasper (Brinkley) back, but the same thing could have happened last year.
Justin Sorensen - Audio (Free!)
On playing his final home game for South Carolina
It's been a long trip, that's for sure. Hopefully we can win it and get to a good bowl game, then keep winning the last couple of games and get to a better bowl game. I've been here for a long time and it's been a heck of a ride.
Has it been a blur, or has the time dragged on?
It seems like both. My freshman year seems like yesterday, but sometimes I get to thinking about it and I think, "Wow, I've been here a while." It's been an awesome time, but it's been fast and slow.
On being bowl eligible
We're not celebrating yet. We still want to win more games because no one wants a repeat of last year. Going home last year and not going to a bowl game was really disappointing and sad. We're trying not to make that same mistake this year.
On the offensive line
We're trying to get better each week. We've still got lots of improvements to make. It seems like we keep shuffling a lot of different guys in there, and we're just trying to get it done.
On downplaying the Tennessee victory
We're excited after the win and happy we won. Tennessee's not having their best year ever, but still, we beat Tennnessee. I was really happy about it.