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Dec. 27, 2005

Shreveport, La. – South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier met with the media following Tuesday’s practice at Independence Stadium. Following are some of his comments from that gathering:

Regarding some of his general thoughts:
“We had a pretty good practice today. Blake and the quarterbacks threw the ball around pretty well and the receivers caught about everything, so hopefully we’ll throw and catch better than we have, but who knows. Maybe Missouri will give an excellent pass rush and cover everything, so who knows what’s going to happen.”

Regarding the Independence Bowl and the city of Shreveport
“As I mentioned yesterday, I salute and praise the people in Shreveport for having this bowl for 30 years. I know it’s not always easy keeping these things alive, but I think the Independence Bowl is the 11th-oldest bowl in the country, so they have done a super job here. The people take great pride in this bowl game. It’s an honor to be here and we are fortunate to be here.”

Regarding the challenges of keeping a team focused during a bowl week:
“It’s the same as during the season and having an open date in terms of keeping the players focus and attention. When you have 40 days off, as both us and Missouri have had, some teams can be better or worse, so hopefully we’ll be better.”

Regarding the differences in today’s game versus when he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy:
“It’s a different ballgame now. Players are faster, quicker and stronger and that’s the biggest difference. It’s year-round playing and nearly year-round coaching. In our day, we played probably from about August through December and that was about it. Now it’s a year-round business to play big-time college football.”

Regarding his impressions on the players’ level of focus:
“Our guys have done well all year. When people ask what I am most proud of this year, I say that after we won some of those big games at Tennessee and Arkansas, our guys came back to play the next week. They didn’t come out flat thinking about what they had done in the past. Hopefully we’ll do that here.”

Regarding the artificial playing surface at Independence Stadium:
“This surface is very good. Our players enjoyed it. It’s the soft phony grass instead of that hard stuff. This is the new stuff to play on. It’s very good.”

Regarding the game he played against Missouri as a player:
“That was a game where we got way behind. We started to throw every down and caught up, but never did make an extra point. Someone talked the head coach into going for two the first time. The second time we tried a fake extra point with the holder trying to throw, then I had a shot at it, but we never did hit it. So anyway, we were 0-for-3 in those.”

— Note to the media — Wednesday’s practice at Independence Stadium is closed to the media and to the public. Coach Spurrier and selected players will be available to the media coming off the field immediately after practice.