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Steve Spurrier Tuesday Press Conference Quotes & Videos

Nov. 13, 2012

November 13, 2012
Akeem Auguste, Byron Jerideau
Qua Gilchrist, T.J. Johnson
D.J. Swearinger

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday's non-conference matchup against Wofford. The Gamecocks and Terriers are slated to kickoff at 1 p.m. in the final home game of the season.

Opening Statement...
We're getting ready to play Wofford again. This is the third time I've had the chance to coach against them and they're a very similar team. Coach Ayers and his staff do a super job of coaching their players. They are fundamentally as sound as any team we play. He gets the most out of them. They are tri-champs of the Southern Conference along with Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. It's very interesting, we're going into our 11th game of season and we're playing team with the exact same record that we have, 8-2over all and 6-2 in their conference. The difference is, 6-2 in their conference got them to be conference champs, and 6-2 for us got us third in the eastern division. Some 6-2's are better than other 6-2's, but that's the way it works out. Congratulations to all of those champions of the Southern Conference. I remember talking to Commissioner Kramer, back before 1992, the SEC had co-champs, tri-camps. In fact in 1989, Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee were tri-champs of the SEC. So they all got to order rings and so forth. We had a whole bunch of champions. Then he started a playoff system in football. I asked him why don't you have a national playoff format to have a champion. He didn't have an answer to that; he said that's just sort of how we do it. It's interesting the way football is different from the other sports with no tournament or playoff at the end that determines the champion. I think it's neat that so many players in college football have the chance to be champion. The co-champs, the tri-champs, whatever, it's neat that they're champs just as much as the other guys. It's something that they'll celebrate the rest of their lives. That's the fun part about college sports, being a part of the championship team.

They play very consistently, year in and year out with the triple option. They run the ball, run the ball and they have a very sound defense, special teams. They've always given us a very, very close game within one or two plays of being us here in the times prior. Hopefully we can pull off one of our best games. This is a huge game. We've got the chance to win seven at home for the first time ever. We'll try to stay unbeaten at home for the first time in 25 years also. So it's a huge game. We're looking forward to it. We had a pretty good practice last night. We should have another good one today and all through the week. Our players understand the importance of this game and they understand that Wofford can easily be within one or to two plays of beating us this Saturday at one o'clock. We've got to be ready to play if we're going to beat them and win seven home games. We're looking forward to it.

Injury wise, we're pretty healthy. Connor Shaw did not practice last night. I think he's scheduled to practice a bit today. He re-injured his foot a little bit in the fourth quarter of the game last week, but he should be ready to play Saturday. Jadeveon Clowney probably won't practice again today, but hopefully he'll be ready by Saturday. We'll throw everything we've got to winning to win our 9th game of the year and go from there.

On approaching the all-time career wins mark...
We haven't done it yet; ask me after the game if it's there. It's interesting, when I got the job here, I checked out the history. We've had some really good coaches here. We've had guys with winning records. Rex Enright is the only coach that has coached more than 10 years. Coach Dietzel was around eight or nine. Not many guys lasted more than eight or 10 years at the most. Had a lot of coaches with winning records here. Coach Enright overall didn't have a winning record, but he's the winningest coach here. It's always interesting looking at history to see what's happened. The only reason I said that was a goal of mine because I wanted people to know I planned to be here eight or ten years. That's why I said that way back. Hopefully it will happen, but it hasn't happened yet, so we'll see.

On the biggest difference in the program since he began coaching here...
The biggest difference is we've got better players and better coaches. The facilities are such that we can recruit the top players in our state, and some of the top players in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida. We've had a change over the last eight years facilities wise, brings better football players, assistant coaches, trainers, strength coaches, the whole bit. We've got an excellent group of people around here to make it happen. It is a team effort. It's a huge team effort. Everyone has a role from the boosters, the students, president, athletic director. Everyone involved has a role. We've got a first class organization around here.

On the potential South Carolina had when he took the head coaching job...
It's funny, every time we play Georgia or Tennessee, I tell the guys that this is one of the reasons I came here. It's fun to coach against Georgia and Tennessee because it's always fun if you can beat those guys. That was one of the reasons along with, we're in the SEC, in the South and the tradition was not all that great. It was not all that super. There was nowhere to go but up. I like those situations. There was a whole bunch of firsts we can achieve there at South Carolina if we can keep it going. I had a few buddies say, "you can't win there. Nobody else has, why do you think you can?" It's a big state university with excellent high school talent in the state. If we could get it going the right way, we thought we could do it. Of course, you've got to recruit your in-state players to start with and then branch out from there. I thought that it was a place that had not reached it's potential yet. It was very similar to when went to Florida in 1990; they had not reached their potential prior to that. I was lucky to be there at the right time in the right place. That's what coaching is all about, get somewhere at the right time in the right place with some good players. It took a few years to get really good players here. We've got a lot better players here than we had those first years. It's a team effort. We had our ups and downs. We're winning games now that we used to lose. We weren't a whole lot better than Arkansas and some how we won by 18. I was sort of amazed when I looked at the statistics. We maximized every drive we had getting a touchdown and we had a defensive score. The Tennessee game was similar too. We're winning games now that five to seven years ago, we used to lose. Winning breeds more winning and unfortunately, losing does the same thing. We still haven't got it where we hope to have it someday.

On compensating student-athletes...
Of course I'd like to see it happen. I read an article the other day where the NCAA has $500 million in reserve for in case something goes bad and they have to dig in and start spending it. I certainly believe that the college football players deserve a little piece of the pie. Their parent's travel expenses to the games and so forth. Until we have to give some money out, it won't happen until somehow or another the colleges or the NCAA says now it's time to reward these guys that are bringing in so much money for our universities, our coaches, for all of us. Let's give them a little piece of the pie. I wish we would, but I don't know when it's going to happen.

On Wofford's triple option system...
They're dangerous every time they play anybody really. I think they played Clemson and it was a really close game. They had them on the ropes in the second half and Clemson pulled ahead. They've had us on the ropes both times we've played them. We're expecting a similar game. We're going to be ready to play. If they beat us it won't be because we were screwing around all week. We're going to have a good week of practice. We're going to try to get this game. One of the most important games this season. We're out of the SEC now, so now we're after total wins and winning all of them at home. The SEC division is history. We'll get back into that next year. Now, we're in to total wins and trying to beat Wofford.

On Connor Shaw's decision-making...
He's been a lot better since we got back from Florida. He's hanging in there. I wish our protection was a little better. That fourth and five touchdown throw to Bruce Ellington was a heck of a play. He dodged one guy we didn't touch for some reason, he sidestepped him and made a quick throw to Bruce who took it the rest of the way. He had an excellent game. He was one guy that we called out for having a super game last week. Our protection and line play needs to improve. We'll start working with those guys and see if we can't get better.

On potentially joining Bear Bryant as the only coaches to have the most wins at two SEC programs...
One of my goals was to be the winningest coach because it was only 64. I knew what it was. We hoped in eight years that we'd have a chance. Three years ago it looked like it might take 10 to 12 years to get to 64. We've had a good run the last two years and we're having a good run now. I don't worry about that. We're trying to have the best year we can have this year. If we can achieve some of those firsts along the way, then that's fun.

On playing against a Bear Bryant-coached Alabama team...
We got beat 17-14. I got my teeth knocked out in that game. That's what I remember. I've had them replaced a couple times since. Back then, we didn't wear face, mouth pieces or anything. I got a helmet right under my helmet. I spit it out and kept right on playing. I left a tooth on the field at Bryant-Denny.

On the senior leadership improving...
Just the players wanting to do well. D.J. Swearinger, Justice Cunningham, T.J. Johnson and Shaq Wilson are our four captains. They want to do well. They want to achieve the most we can. That's what it takes. As coaches you let them know it's your team. As coaches, you're here several more years, but this is your last go around, you're seniors. You'll remember the rest of your life. Let's try to make it special. They have to encourage those other guys. Sometimes they don't listen to us coaches very well. They will listen to a player that plays well with tremendous effort. We've got a good bunch of seniors.



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