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Dec. 29, 2005

Shreveport, La. – South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier spoke with the media on Thursday afternoon as the Gamecocks prepare to meet Missouri on Friday, Dec. 30 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

(Opening statement)
“We are looking forward to tomorrow’s game. We have had good practices and our focus has been pretty good, I think, so we should be ready to play the best we can. Injury-wise, we are very healthy. We’ve had only two big injuries all year, Andy Boyd, our tight end, we lost him in the second game and Syvelle Newton. Other than that, our guys have stayed pretty healthy and probably a big reason why we have been able to win seven.”

(On playing at the Independence Bowl)
“We are happy to be here. The Independence Bowl people have done tremendous job with the events, and entertainment for our players. I haven’t heard anybody say `Coach there is nothing to do here.’ The hospitality rooms have been super. We are anxious to get the game on.”

(On this year’s team and the future)
“We do have a lot of seniors on this team. Our team is a work in a progress, we really are. We thought we had a chance to have a pretty good year this year because of those guys who had played a lot. Next year there will be a lot of different players playing so we will have a completely different team next year. Our skill guys are young guys but the linemen on both sides are mainly seniors. So we have some replacing to do up front and we will be a different team next year. Again, we are not really worried about next year we are trying to finish this year as strong as possible with the game tomorrow.”

(On the senior class)
“Hopefully, this experience will be something we do just about every year at South Carolina, go to a bowl game. Our senior guys, some were with the team when we were at the Outback Bowl (2002) but most if not all of them didn’t play in that game. Hopefully it is something we do on a regular basis. We are excited that this group of players (seniors) achieved the seven wins this year.”

(On playing the bowl game)
“I think both teams play a little more wide open (in bowl games). Missouri is pretty much wide open on offense. I’m hoping we have more than our usual 58, 59 plays. I hope that our offense can get out there and have 75 plays. To do that we need to stay on the field, make first downs and our defense needs to get them off the field. The way it has happened for us is that our defense has kept them out of the end zone and from scoring a lot of points and that is what is most important. We haven’t had a lot of plays, we hope it changes, again I don’t know how it will play tomorrow.”

(Questions on playing anyone similar this season to Missouri QB Brad Smith)
“I think (D.J.) Shockley at Georgia is similar although they play a different scheme. Not probably quite a threat to run every play as Brad Smith presents.”

“It’s hard to have a guy (in practice) look like him. Our players know what they have to do. We have to sort of contain, you don’t run straight at a quarterback like him and hopefully our guys will get off blocks and corral him. I think our defensive coaches and Coach Nix have really emphasized that for a couple of weeks now.”

(On the year in summary)
“Obviously it didn’t start off pretty at 2-3 and tied against Kentucky at halftime. The ball started bouncing our way, defense started getting some fumbles, making things happen and obviously the Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida games were fun for the entire team. It’s the most fun I have had lately in three or four years, that is for sure.”