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Dec. 26, 2005

Shreveport, La. – South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier met briefly with the media Monday upon arrival to the team hotel in Shreveport, La. Following are some of his comments:

Opening Statement:
“First of all, we feel very fortunate to be here in Shreveport, Louisiana for the Independence Bowl. Our team has had a wonderful season thus far. We were not picked by many of the football experts to be a bowl team this year. Most of the national guys had us at 4-7 and some of the local guys had us at 6-5 and so forth, so to have the year that we have had at 7-4 is good for the University of South Carolina, so we are excited to be here at the Independence Bowl, which has lasted 30 years with the same name on it. Not many bowls are like that anymore. The major ones are, but this one has survived a long time because the people here in Shreveport do a very good job and take a lot of pride in running a first-class bowl event. Our players look forward to this trip and we will all have some fun, but not too much fun so we can play the best we possibly can Friday afternoon.”

Regarding the decision to travel to Shreveport on Dec. 26, in contrast to Missouri traveling on Dec. 25:
“With it being Christmas day, we felt the players should spend Christmas morning with their families. We met Christmas night and practiced this morning in Columbia. We had a pretty good practice at our place and we felt like four or five days here was plenty, so just Christmas Day was something we thought would be better to travel the next day.”

Regarding the importance of playing in a bowl game:
“It’s always important to play in a bowl game. All you have to do is look at the other six teams in the SEC that didn’t make it to realize that we are in the top half among the SEC teams this year. Obviously, we want to be in the top half every year, and maybe some year everything breaks right and we put together a team that can win it, that certainly is our goal for the future, but being a bowl team is a wonderful achievement for so many teams and if you look at the history of the University of South Carolina, a bowl game is pretty good. We have an opportunity to do a lot of first-time things at South Carolina. Obviously, this is not a first-time thing because it is our 13th bowl game, so it’s a nice achievement.”

Regarding if coming to the Independence Bowl with South Carolina is similar to having the kind of success he had at Florida:
“It’s very similar. To finish second in the SEC East is a wonderful season for our team. Obviously, we were not picked that high. To qualify for a bowl game, that was our big goal for our team. We felt it was achievable and realistic and our guys went out and won seven games to go to the bowl game.”

Regarding the bowl experience:
“It’s fun for all the college kids and players and coaches to be practicing and playing in December. Certainly there are a lot of players out there who wish they were, so you are in the top half of college football if you are participating in a bowl game, so that makes you feel better for the remainder of the year.”

Regarding any changes he made to the South Carolina program:
“I don’t have a lot of secrets in changing things. We just coached the way I’ve always coached and tried to get our assistants to coach the same way and that is to be very positive and upbeat and really challenge our players to compete at a higher level and play smarter than we did earlier in the season. We just kept trying to improve each week and somehow or another it happened for us.”

— Note to the media — The first 20 minutes of South Carolina’s practice at Independence Stadium on Tuesday are open to the media. Practice begins at 1 p.m. Central time. Wednesday’s practice is closed to the media.