Sept. 16, 2006
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
“Okay, I told you I would have a voice this week. I told you I wouldn’t scream at them. It was a typical game for us. We had a chance to blow someone out and didn’t. We’re fortunate to win this one. They easily could have beaten us. We couldn’t block their guys and we just made some really stupid plays. I don’t know how to explain it. Dakota (Walker) made a heck of a tip that Cody Wells picked up and sealed the game for us. We’re not really a good team right now, but we’re 2-1 and we’ll try to get better. We were a pretty good tackling team the first game, but that has gone downhill.
“Syvelle (Newton) made some beautiful plays out there. Had Blake (Mitchell) played, I don’t know if we could have gotten those scramble plays. I don’t know what to tell the fans right now. Maybe we just aren’t that good. We just can’t win one by three or four touchdowns around here.
“Maybe Wofford is that good that they can make third and 10 against the Gamecocks. At one time, we hadn’t punted and scored five out of 10 possessions and then we rough the punter to not get another possession. Syvelle was making some things happen. When you play a team like Wofford, defense and special teams take over against those kinds of opponents. The last play, we finally got a turnover. The defense has struggled since Mississippi State, so we have to regroup somehow.
“We didn’t tackle very well. I don’t have the answer of why when we’re up 27-10, when we get in that position, I almost told my son that I hope something bad doesn’t happen. Carlos (Thomas) didn’t feel bad about the fumble. He told me he was trying to make play. He doesn’t know any different. We haven’t gotten the message on how to play to win the game.
“We’ve got a lot of games left. Syvelle made some good plays, and we won the game and we’re 2-1, so we’ll go one at a time. It’ll probably be a struggle next week. Wofford is a good team that will win a lot of games this year. They’re a pretty good team. Coach (Mike) Ayers does a super job with those kids.”
On the South Carolina’s blocking: “I don’t know if we blocked any better. They had pressure on Syvelle all during the first half. We played two freshmen and you hope they could block those Wofford kids, but they played tough. They played well enough to win.”
On quarterback Cade Thompson entering the game in the fourth quarter:
“I thought he could hit a little seam. You have to understand, Syvelle hasn’t done this before. You have to be fair to him. He hasn’t really played quarterback where you let one go.”
On whether or not quarterback Blake Mitchell’s off-field situation this week was a distraction for the game:
“Blake was not going to play anyway. He had a little scuffle and got some attention. Syvelle will probably start next week, simple as that.”
On wide receiver Moe Brown:
“Moe didn’t have many opportunities. We punted twice at the end. I have to quit worrying about statistics. I thought we could run up a bunch on these guys. Moe had the little quick play and it would have been a nice play if the other receiver blocks. He could have gone all the way. Sidney (Rice) had a good game, made some big catches.”
On the status of running back Cory Boyd:
“He said his ankle was bothering him a little bit. He was on the hands team and recovered Carlos’ fumble. We had a lot of guys do some good things. We’ll get ready for Florida Atlantic now. They’re not a bad team.”
On who will start at quarterback next week:
“In all likelihood, Syvelle will start and it’s because he can make plays. He’ll have a chance to take some steps and let some things go in practice. He has never played quarterback in this type of system. He can make the throws. I wish he could have thrown 40 passes, but we were on the sideline watching most of the time tonight.”
USC Player Quotes vs. Wofford
“We weren’t nervous. We knew everyone had to buckle down and make a play at the end. In the first half, we were more fundamentally sound than in the second half. In the second half we made a lot of mental mistakes.
“Anytime you play a team that runs as well as Wofford, one missed tackle can lead to touchdowns as you saw in this game. After one mistake or missed tackle, they’ll run down the field.”
“My hat goes off to Wofford. They played hard and physical. I thought their players came out and did some good things. They were well prepared. We had a good game plan. We need to go back and look and film and make adjustments.”
Regarding Being Named Next Week’s Starter:
“We just have to go out and look at film. If that’s what coach decides to do then that’s what he’ll do.”
On Playing Wofford: “A lot of small teams, when they go out and play against bigger opponents they play harder than they’ve ever played before. That’s what I feel like they did tonight.”
Regarding lack of second half scoring: “There’s not really much to say about that. We played a little lackadaisical and couldn’t get any scores.”
“Me and Dakota Walker came off the edges. I came from the backside and Dakota chased the quarterback. Dakota made an outstanding play. He stuck his arm out when the quarterback threw the ball and deflected it. I was just standing in the right place at the right time. I saw the ball coming down and the instincts took over and I took off.”
(on having to stop Wofford at the end of the game): “That’s the kind of stuff the defense lives for. We love the challenge. Down at the goal line, the fans get loud and the defense lives for that kind of stuff. We like a challenge.”
“We can play a lot better. I know our potential. We made a lot of errors on defense, offense and special teams, but we’re going to go Monday and watch film and fix those.”
“(on playing tonight): It was great. As a kid growing up I always dreamed of playing college football. Every kid dreams of that. It was great. Syvelle Newton is a very knowledgeable quarterback. He threw great passes all week.
“Wofford played well. Coach Spurrier tells us any team you play you want to put up the most points possible. We needed to do that more tonight.”
“It felt real good to get out there. We didn’t play a full four quarters. That is something we have to work on. We have to watch film. We have a whole lot of things to work on. Syvelle Newton did a tremendous job. He’s a great athlete.
Tyrone Nix – Defensive Coordinator
“Wofford made a great offensive play every play and we didn’t do it every play. We won. That’s something to be proud of. We are gonna have to play a whole lot better next week and the coming weeks to be successful in the future.
“I am excited about Dakota Walker’s play. The defense did ok. Nothing special. We are gonna have to work hard to be a more consistent team.”
Wofford Head Coach Mike Ayers
On the team’s performance:
“First and foremost, words can’t describe how proud I am of the kids. Our staff worked their tails off and we came down here with the mindset that we thought we could win.”
“We probably didn’t execute as well as we needed to, especially against a team like that, we kept fighting though. Defensively, we are down but that was just a tremendous effort by those kids.”
“Every one of my coaches put in hour after hour trying to find ways to help us against South Carolina. We knew they were very talented and we had a tremendous mismatch, but I was pleased with the way we got after the passer.”
“Overall, it is a loss and I hate it. This would have been a storybook ending for a lot of kids, but we came here to compete, and we came here with the mindset that if we played at the level we are capable of, we could win. I am very proud of the kids and very proud of the coaches. We brought nothing back to the locker room, it was all laid down on the field.”
About Wofford’s offense: “We are going to dictate our offense by what the defense gives us. We came in blind to this game. We have never played this defensive staff. There are four defenses we try to work against and once we find out what their game plan is, we try to execute against it.”
“You prepare and work hard and you do what you do in this business because you like that feeling of wining. It is tough work when you prepare hard and lose, but that is the way it goes sometimes.”
#20 Kevious Johnson, RB
On the success of the double option play:
“It was a pretty great play for us. They did a great job of blocking on the perimeter. I got the ball and saw nothing but green grass. It was a good decision by the quarterback and a great job by the halfbacks and receivers.”
On how close the game was:
“We had two fourth-and-twos and we missed a field goal. We definitely left some points on the field, but we can’t play for those missed points.”
On the excitement of playing in front of a large crowd: “Yeah, it’s exciting to play in front of a lot of fans, but like I told the guys, it doesn’t matter if you play in front of 8,000 plus people or eight people.”
Wanting the ball for the last play:
“It didn’t really matter who had the ball, we just needed those five yards, that was the most important thing.”
#12 Brian Ford, FS
On holding USC to three points in the second half:
“We just read our assignments and played a base defense, listened to our coaches and they told us to stick in there. As a team we played real hard, we just came up a little bit short.”
On building on the momentum:
“It definitely gives you a lot of confidence playing with an SEC team like this. South Carolina, they’re great, big, physical.”
On close plays:
“You think `if only’. We were third-and-ten. Yeah it’s frustrating, we gave up a couple big plays, but they’ve got some good players and that’s going to happen on big plays when you play a team like South Carolina. So, we gave it our best effort.”