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Sept. 23, 2006

Recap | Final Stats | Notes | Photo Gallery

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier Quotes
South Carolina vs. Florida Atlantic Sept. 23, 2006

General Comments:
“I think we played a little better. We’re not sitting here saying we’ve got it made. Florida Atlantic is a team that struggles, but pretty soon they’re going to start playing some teams that they have a chance against. We wish them good luck.

“They played us tough. I thought we could pass block better than we did. We had some big plays here and there — Syvelle (Newton) to Sidney (Rice) five times. I think Sidney caught his fifth (pass) with 13 minutes to go in third quarter. It didn’t make sense to leave him in.

“A lot of the younger guys got some experience. I thought they would player better, but they didn’t do much in there.”

“Taylor Rank and Mike Davis rushing for 101 and 92 (yards) helps our rushing stats. That was encouraging to see.”

“Hopefully our guys played with more effort tonight. That’s what we’re trying to find out. I think we were probably better tonight. I think when were watching tape we’ll see we played with more effort. We played pretty good.”

“We were able to get it off somewhat against these guys. They still shoved our offensive line too much. I don’t know how we’re going to get it off against Auburn and some of these teams.”

“Tonight, we fumbled several times and got it back. We got some good breaks. Syvelle got hit while he was throwing his first pass, but we knocked it loose and got it back.”

“We’re 3-1.”

On playing Auburn Thursday:
“I may have to vote them No. 1 this week. I even said last year I thought Auburn was the best team in the SEC. Of course, they didn’t win it, Georgia did. We look forward to seeing what we can do next Thursday. We will be huge underdogs, but that’s okay. We’ll try to find a plan to hang with them. Maybe we can gets some breaks.”

On discipline:
“We had some issues and that was why Mike Davis didn’t start. A violation of team rules, that’s what you call it. That’s why Bobby Wallace didn’t play tonight. We’re going to have some discipline.”

On Syvelle Newton at quarterback:
“I wished I’d been training him. I wish he’d said `Coach, I can play quarterback’ when I got here and I would have said `I’ll let you do it.’ He’s an excellent passer, but he’s just not comfortable taking his steps and making throws. He made some nice plays. He threw five touchdown passes in about a half. He and Sidney got game balls. On defense, Rodney Paulk and Curtis Rice got the only two turnovers.”

On Sidney Rice:
“Certainly, Sidney had an excellent game. He had eight (catches) at halftime and then one after halftime. Sidney can catch. We had to get Syvelle in there to throw him the ball.”

Florida Atlantic Head Coach Howard Schnellenberger Quotes

“Coach Spurrier definitely had his team excited about playing us. They played a very good football game. I liken them close to the three teams we’ve played thus far, even up there with the Clemson football team.”

“They made us look like we were not in the same competition level, and that’s not unusual because we’re not. After these four games it’s pretty obvious that we’re not ready to play this type of competition.”

“We hoped that as we went through these four weeks we would be able to see a major improvement as we went. After the first series, it looked like it was going to happen today, but it didn’t. Even after the dismal performance, I’m still very proud of our team and the staff.”

“I have no remorse about scheduling these four games because I think that it’s a very solid way for our school to join these teams in the battlefield again in the future.”

“(South Carolina) beat us throwing the long pass. The other teams beat us with a combination of things. We made more errors against the other teams than against South Carolina. We were less inept this game while the last games were detrimental to our health.”

USC Player Quotes vs. Florida Atlantic
Blake Mitchell
“The line did a decent job up front. When I first came out I wasn’t as sharp and didn’t make a great play. Once I settled down I did a decent job. (on the 2 QB system): It felt good to get out there. I was missing not being out there. I have to work as hard as I can in practice and in games and then when I get the chance to play, I have to play hard. I have to make the best of it. On the sidelines you are always one play away and so you have to prepare as hard as you can and make the best of it. And then you have to do well when your number is called.”

Fred Bennett
“I thought we adapted pretty good after the first score. I thought we went out played our game plan to perfection after that first series. We picked up our intensity after the first series. We needed a big win to get ready for Auburn. We needed a confidence booster and this was a really big win for us.

“My hats off to Florida Atlantic. It’s my job to get the other guys ready. We played some real good teams so far this year and we have to play well to beat Auburn.” (on playing Auburn – do you worry about them?): “We worry about South Carolina only. They are coming to play on Thursday and we are gonna come to play on Thursday — may the best team win.”

Syvelle Newton
“I threw a lot more this week. I worked on my steps. Me and Blake stayed after practice and worked on our throwing. I was more of a student this week. I looked over plays more – maybe more than I ever have. If they want me to play quarterback, if playing quarterback is my position and that’s what they want, then I have to get better throwing. With this offense you have to throw more, you have to take steps and throw. As the quarterback you have to put more time in than anybody else. You get more time in at practice. You have to get there early and stay late.

(on the 2 QB system): “I love it. Blake Mitchell can get the job done as good as I can. We are two reliable quarterbacks and I feel good about it. It was fun tonight – anytime you score big its fun. The offensive line improved a lot this week and next week they are going to do better.”

(on playing Auburn): “We have a lot of guys banged up and they will be tired, but we have to practice tomorrow. It’s more a mental thing right now, but we have to get ready to play the No. 2 team in the country.”

Sidney Rice
“I was surprised tonight by their coverage – I didn’t expect so much 1-1 coverage, but they played a lot of one. We practiced hard all week and hopefully next week we’ll do the same thing. (after the fifth touchdown you seemed low key – why?): I was low key, for no reason. I was congratulated by my teammates and then just got off to the side quick. (did you know you set the school record and how does it feel to catch some balls for touchdowns now): “Yes, I knew it was the school record. I really wasn’t too upset before this, but coming into this game I was ready. (best performance?): Yes, this is probably one of my best here, performance-wise. The most touchdowns I’ve ever scored in a game (college, high school, etc.) – three vs. Vanderbilt last year.”

(on the 2 QB system): “Syvelle was doing a good job tonight, but Blake Mitchell can get it done too.”

Mike Davis
“It feels great to see the offensive line look good. It feels good to go back to the sidelines and see the offensive line playing well. I felt like the offensive line’s intensity picked up a lot this week. (on Cory Boyd not being there): He’s a leader, but we all work together in the back field.”

Taylor Rank
“I’ve been waiting for my opportunity play. I’ve been waiting to play and it’s just good to have the opportunity. It’s always fun to play in front of a big crowd like that. It was fun.”

Tyrone Nix, Defensive Coordinator
“We don’t have abundance on the depth chart to choose from, but we look at it and ask the guys to step up and play.”

Florida Atlantic Player Quotes
Sean Clayton, QB
“The coaches had a great game plan. We knew they would come out in straight man, so he just called a simple quarterback keeper.”

“They had a good receiver on the other side of the ball that kept making good plays. That wears on the offense just as much as it does the defense.”

“I thought we were going to be able to hang with them. I thought we matched up pretty good up front for the first time all year, but they were just too good.”

Mike O’Neill, P/K
Regarding the bad snap on the extra point: “The snap was kind of low and I bobbled it. It rolled on the ground and I bobbled it.”

Taheem Acevedo, DB
Regarding covering Sidney Rice “He was a real good player. We were pretty sure they were going to go to him, but he’s a good receiver.”

Regarding the play where Sidney Rice caught the ball that was tipped by the FAU player: “Three of us went up for the ball, and one of the DB’s hit me. Then it came out of my hands and he caught it.”