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Sept. 5, 2006

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier met with the media on Tuesday afternoon to talk about this week’s upcoming game vs. Georgia.

Opening Statement
“We are looking forward to a big crowd and a big game. A very important game against the Georgia Bulldogs, the defending conference champions coming into Williams-Brice (Stadium) on Saturday night. Hopefully we can play a lot better offensively, and maybe a little better defensively than we did the last game. That’s what you always try to do, improve one game to the next. That’s probably what it is going to take to give us a good chance to beat Georgia. They are a good team just like they were last year. I don’t see much difference. Maybe their quarterback doesn’t run quite as much as last year, but other than that, they are very similar I think on offense and defense. Hopefully, we can play a very good game, not have any touchdowns called back, make all our kicks, stuff like that. If we play like we did at Mississippi State, if we miss those field goals, don’t hit that one big play, we were stymied. We were stymied big-time. Sometimes, you need to play very efficiently to try to upset a team like we have this week.”

On offensive line
“Offensive line hasn’t changed much. Just trying to get them to play better. We think we can, we realize that Mississippi State does have an excellent defensive line but we got shoved around, we missed. Our pass protection wasn’t near good enough to throw the ball down the field. We have to be much better in the offensive line as well as a lot of other positions on offense, to try to move the ball. The coaches too, heck, when you call the plays and they don’t work, you have part of the responsibility also. Fortunately, we had enough of those passes behind the line of scrimmage to make a few yards. If we didn’t have those, we could have been in dire straits. Of course everybody has those now a days. Hopefully we can get some balls down the field this week.”

On Georgia’s quarterback situation
“They have what a lot of teams have. They don’t have a clear-cut proven guy who has played a lot. Mark Richt is trying to be fair to all of them. He is trying to give all of them a chance. I guess after their spring practice, Tereshinski, I guess was their number one, and he still is. They all haven’t been given a whole lot of chances yet, so that’s probably where they are. I’ve always said, if you got two quarterbacks with similar and equal ability, you give both of them a chance to play. If one of them is not playing well, might as well give them another chance. Some people don’t believe in that but then you hope that one clearly outplays the other. That is sort of where we were last year, Blake (Mitchell) outplayed the other QB’s and became the starter. So, that’s where we are right now and hopefully he will play a lot better this week and we can pass block better and give him a chance to throw the ball.”

On the new time rules in college football
“Well I have never been for it and I wasn’t for it in the beginning. They didn’t ask the coaches to vote on it; by the way, they just said here is the new rule that is up, I don’t know how much discussion was taken on it. It appears, for television purposes, this that and the other, they want a faster game. It does take out a lot of plays. The game last night (FSU-Miami) would have been real fast except for all of those replays they looked over and didn’t change any of them. That took a long time, but other than that, it would have been a lot faster of a game last night. You can play them just over three hours now; instead of close to four, which some of them would go. We’re not into those long games right now because we can’t go back and throw it 40 times a game. We can’t get that many off, so we are in the 25 range and that is just where we are. Not particularly, because we want to be, but that’s just where we are. Georgia is sort of a running team also, they don’t’ necessarily like to throw 40, 50 times, so it could be a fast one here on Saturday night.”

Comparing physical style of play between Mississippi State and Georgia “Mississippi State is very physical now on defense. Offensively, they are probably trying to get their linemen tougher like we are. Georgia’s linemen, obviously last year winning the conference championship, they held their own against everybody. Georgia I still see as a running team at first and then throws after that. Heck, that might be what we are too, who knows? It could be a fast game. Everybody runs it about 30 times, throw it 20, throw a lot of short ones complete, the ball doesn’t go out of bounds, not a lot of incompletes, you can really have a fast game that way.”

On watching tape from this year and last year on Georgia
“You don’t sit around and watch all of their games. We watched a bunch of them from last year now, and I’m sure they have watched a bunch on us. You go by sort of what their scheme was over the course of the prior year, as long as they have the same coaches, and they do pretty much on offense and defense. Other than that, they are not tremendously complicated type team. They play extremely hard, well-coached, very aggressive, physical, good blockers, good tacklers, and things like that. They do the little things well, that’s what gives them a chance to win championships, which they have done two of the last five years.”

On offensive line struggles effecting Sidney Rice’s game
“That was part of the problem. It was a good part and obviously we didn’t go back there a lot after we found out it wasn’t working much to try to make any seven-step throws. It was just a combination of things. They covered pretty well too. Maybe we could have had some better plays on at different times. The quarterback could have done this-that-or the other when he did have time, but it’s just the way it worked out.”

On the magnitude and effect of the Georgia game
“We lost it last year and bounced back. We got clobbered by Alabama and Auburn and bounced back. We are going to try to play every one of them the best we can and after this one we have a couple out of conference opponents and we are going to try to play the best we can in those too. We are getting ready, one at a time, try to play our best and go from there. Obviously, if we get a bunch of breaks and come out on top, maybe within the conference our goals may change a little bit thinking, `Gee maybe we do have a chance in the conference.’ If it works out on Saturday night.”

On the difference of football players from 5-10 years ago
“The speed and quickness and strength of football players is really increasing with the year-long training that we all do now. Defensive players are just faster, stronger and quicker than they used to be. Some schools have them a little faster and quicker than others. Certainly, I think our players played very quick and fast the other night. For us to have a chance to beat Georgia, our defense has to play very well again.”

On any changes being made on offense or defense
“Probably not, but hopefully we may substitute more frequently up front in the offensive line, if we feel one guy is struggling. Although we don’t have many backups ready and I read that Georgia had only like six scholarship guys on the offensive line that played on Saturday. I’m sure they don’t need any of their guys hurt either. We just don’t have a lot of back-up linemen except those freshmen, and hopefully we can red-shirt most of them.”

Thoughts on coming off a game vs. conference opponent. with Georgia coming off a game vs. 1-AA opponent
“I don’t know if there is any huge advantage either way, I really don’t. I’m glad we are 1-0 in the conference; we started off 0-3 last year. Gosh, we have a chance to win another one, it won’t be near as easy as the prior six we have won, but we do have a chance to win another one.”