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Oct. 8, 2005

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Postgame Quotes
South Carolina vs. Kentucky
Oct. 8, 2005

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier

“We were having a little difficult time this week with guys standing outside the huddle. It was probably my fault, trying to coach Blake (Mitchell) up.

“I’m proud of the effort in the second half. The first half was tough. I didn’t think we could get them off the field. We couldn’t force a punt.

“I don’t want to brag on them too much because we can play a lot better than we have.

“We only had one dropped ball, and that was Syvelle (Newton) on the crossing route.

“Blake did OK. He had a lot of guys wide open, but he missed a few.

“The defense really came alive in the second half.

“Sidney (Rice) is a good player. Don’t give him too much praise. He is a freshman, kind of come out of nowhere to be one of our best players. Rich Brooks said he has a chance to be a special player. It won’t bother Sidney. He’s a down-to-earth player.

“The defense came alive. Give those guys a lot of credit. It didn’t look like we were going to force a punt in the first half.

“If Blake went down, Syvelle was going to in today. He didn’t practice at receiver all week. Maybe that’s the answer. When he gets the ball in his hands, he becomes a different runner. When he runs routes, he doesn’t have the explosiveness. He’s a good passer too.

“Kentucky was a team we should have beat. I was just concerned with the way our guys play. The effort was pretty much good. Had a couple of misses there, you may have seen me chew them out. We’re not going to have that.

“We’re also concerned with playing within the rules. Ten penalties is not good. We started to get careless. We were not doing that early in the season.

“We like playing at home. Love playing here. I hope they boo if we are disorganized, if we can’t get 11 guys out there.”

“We’re playing with effort, even though we’re not playing all that super. We’re 3-1 at home, the next one is at home. If we win most of our home and split the road games, we’ll be in good shape.

“We scored the first two times in the third quarter, and the fourth quarter was pretty sloppy on offense, kind of frustrating.

“Syvelle ran a beautiful route, and Blake threw it out of the ball park.

“I sort of like the attitude at halftime. Guys came out with a good attitude to start the second half.

“Kentucky is hurting, 14 or 15 surgeries. I think we should have beat these guys, but it looked like it would be a dogfight all the way.

“Defensively, we’ve got to force more punts. I know they didn’t punt in the first half.

“I’m proud of the effort.

“Mark Smith, our strength and conditioning coach, does a super job, with all the running and conditioning. It paid off. It was hot in the second half. It was a good steamy afternoon.

“We tried to let our receivers get in to winning the game. We need to do it all, four wides, three, all the different formations. I hope we can get 11 in huddle at the correct time.

“You learn that coaching is not as important as some make it out to be. It’s important, but you’ve got to have some good players. Teams win. You’ve got to have coaches. But teams win.”

Opponent Coach Quotes
Rich Brooks

Opening Comment:
“We took a game that was close and a game that we could win and gave it away when we put the ball on the ground and turned it over four straight possessions.”

On turnovers:
“I don’t’ know. I just think it’s pretty devastating when you lay the ball on the ground two times in a row without the defense affecting the play to do it. They didn’t make the great play to do it. We put the ball on the ground. And it was one of our best football players. He’s a great football player. It’s just one of those things. He’s a young player and I’m sure he’s pretty upset about it.”

“We mixed up some zone and some man-to-man pressure. In the zone, our backers and our inside safeties and nickel and dime weren’t getting good drops and they took advantage of that.”

“Rafael (Little), I think is a great player. He’s a big time back, but he unfortunately had two dropped balls that were very, very possibly in our cause and certainly hurt his production a lot too because he was having a terrific game, I thought, up to that point.”

On Arliss Beach’s fumble:
“He got it stripped. Defense did strip that ball out. So that was a good play by the defense. It was almost uncanny how that can happen to Rafael two touches in a row and then turn right around and have Arliss do it on the very next series or have it stripped out. I think we ran, in those four possessions, about eight plays.

On whether he’s seen a turnaround like that, due to fumbles: “Not that many in a row. That’s unbelievable that we turned it over in four straight possessions. It’s not like that we did it in good field position. We did it with chances to get back in the hunt and get back in the game….”

On Sidney Rice: “I think he’s a really outstanding player. Obviously, we didn’t do a great job covering him on the two-deep routes today…I think he’s got the size. He’s got good speed and he’s got great body control. Obviously he’s a basketball player and knows how to position his body and make the catch. He’s got some height to take advantage of that…We knew that he would be a go-to guy and he was.”

On what’s next for Kentucky:
“Well, we have a week off and then we’re on the road to Ole Miss. We’re still playing some young players and unfortunately Andre (Woodson) looked young today and had had a little inexperience as well. He held the ball too long and suffered a quick game and took a couple sacks he probably shouldn’t have…we just have to clean up our mistakes and keep battling. Nobody’s going to put their arms around us, so we have to keep battling and try to get better.”

South Carolina Player Quotes

Daccus Turman, Offense
“I haven’t really carried the ball very much the whole year. The whole offensive line played better today. They really played as a unit. Coach Spurrier said we were going to run the ball a lot today and he told me I would get 12-13 carries. I got more than that. We have to play hard every week.”

Orus Lambert, Defense
“It was tied 10-10 at the half and we went in the lockerroom. We said we have great players. We believed. We said we are gonna buckle down and win this game. We didn’t get some breaks at the beginning of the game, but we got better. We had fun. We are at the midway point of our season and the guys are playing hard. If you watch the film today, we played with good effort and tempo.”

Blake Mitchell, Offense
“We tried to keep going. Sidney Rice is a big target; he’s a good receiver. He can go up and get the ball. (Is he your favorite target?): Why not? Look at what he does. He will come down with the ball. The receivers played good today. I have confidence in all the receivers. The line performed good today – they fought hard. Today we had good plays and we tried our best to hit them. Coach Spurrier is always encouraging and tells us we can get better. Every win is great. The offense has confidence in me and I try to do my best for those guys out there.”

Syvelle Newton, Offense
“You need to just go out there and let loose. That’s what we did in the second half. (On being a receiver and a QB?): I got a lot of work at quarterback this week and I know most of the plays. I’m athletic enough to play receiver. It’s a different system from last year (when I was quarterback), but it’d not difficult to play both. The defense put us in good position to make good plays. Sidney Rice and Blake Mitchell were a big part of the offense today.”

Sidney Rice, Offense
“I thank God for the opportunity. Right now I’m trying to do whatever the coaches asks me to do. Blake Mitchell is doing a really good job and does what he is supposed to do. We really needed a win. It started Monday in practice and everyone did what they were supposed to do. Every team will give you their best effort. We have conditioned a lot (so we don’t get tired). Blake Mitchell is a tremendous quarterback. He does a good job – he does what the coaches ask him to do. He gives the team confidence. Antonio Heffner is a good quarterback, too. We have to put this win behind us during the bye week and get ready for the next game. (On catching a touchdown in every game): Coach said they’d give us their best. Catching a touchdown in every game is something I want to do, but as long as the team wins that’s all that matters.”

Kentucky Players

Glen Holt

On the loss:
“It was very tough for us. Turnovers are unacceptable against these guys. You’re playing in the SEC. Turnovers are unacceptable. It’s just our luck wasn’t good with the turnovers.”

On Rafael Little’s fumbles:
“It’s his first mistake ever. I told him to forget about it. That’s what makes an All- American to come back and score a couple of touchdowns, break a big play and forget about that fumble. That’s all I kept telling him on the sidelines was to keep your head up and play the next play.”

On the game turning around so quickly for a player:
“Yeah, I’ve seen it a couple of times, but you know he’s a young player and that’s something he’s going to have to go through. I just told him to play the next play.”

Rafael Little

On how disappointing the fumbles were for him:
“I just felt like I let a lot of people down. I’ve never fumbled, but it happens.”

On his running game:
“I guess but it really doesn’t even matter if I fumble.”

On what was working well as an offense:
“My o-line was blocking and I just made a mistake. They were blocking hard today and I respect them for that.”

On if he had control:
“I had it. It just slipped down, took my eyes off it.”

On watching the game slip away:
“Yeah it was very frustrating. I guess they wanted it more. I mean, we played our hardest and I guess they wanted it more.”

On being in his home state and wanting to beat USC:
“I wanted to beat them bad because it is my home town and a lot of people were watching.”