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Nov. 21, 2006

South Carolina (6-5) closes out the 2006 regular season this Saturday, Nov. 25, at No. 24 Clemson (8-3). Kickoff is slated for Noon and the game will be televised by ESPN nationally. Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming game with the Tigers.

Opening Statement:
“Some good news — the weather’s supposed to get better as the week goes. I think it’s supposed to be 65 or 70 degrees Saturday. We should have a pretty day to play Clemson, our in-state rival, which is a huge game for us and I guess a huge game for them also. We’re looking forward to it. We’ll see if we can beat a good team this year. We’ve beaten the guys we’re supposed to and struggled at the end against some teams we had a chance to (beat) and didn’t quite finish the game with a victory. We’re looking forward to seeing if we can play well this week at Death Valley.”

“(Clemson’s) had a good year. They’ve probably had a year that’s a little disappointing such as we have. You can always look back on some close ones. They’ve got an excellent season going; 8-3 is a wonderful record for them. Six and five is where we are and we’re looking forward to playing the last game.”

On Clemson’s defense:
“I think their defense is about eighth in the country overall. They’ve really got a good-looking defensive bunch of players. Of course defensive end Gaines (Adams) is a big-time NFL prospect. Some people I’ve heard say he’s going to be in the top five picks. I don’t know. He caused a fumble last year and had several sacks and tackles and so forth. He single-handedly made the play against Wake Forest on the field goal attempt. He’s a guy that we hope doesn’t create too much confusion in our offense.”

“(Clemson) has an excellent team. They pretty much are a zone team that allows their front four guys to do the pass rushing. They get such a good rush with those players, they don’t really need to blitz their linebackers too much. Although, they have a few blitzes here and there. They’re a little bit different than some of the other teams we’ve played, but still they’re a very solid, very sound, well-coached team. We’ve got to play well if we get in scoring position. Last year we got down there a few times and had to kick a few field goals. Then we had a couple of turnovers the other two times. Hopefully we’ll play better if we get in that situation.”

“Defensively, we played pretty well most of the game last year, but they came off the first and 35 there in the fourth quarter to go down and score. Offensively, we could not answer and it ended up 13-9.”

On if he likes playing the Carolina-Clemson game late in the year:
“Yeah, I think it’s a tradition to play it late. If some year Clemson was in the ACC Championship game and some year we were in the SEC game, then it might not make a lot of sense. It’s okay; it doesn’t matter to me when we play it. I think it’s traditionally the last game of the year, so if that’s where we want to keep it, that’s fine. If somebody wanted to move it up earlier in the year, that would be fine with me, too. I think probably the fans like the game (as) the last one.”

On if he approaches rivalry games differently:
“We really approach every game the same pretty much. We approached Middle Tennessee about like we did Florida. We don’t change a whole bunch of things. I don’t know why you’d do that. You emphasize every game the most you can and try to have a good solid plan for each opponent and go from there.

“They’ve got good players at all positions. Offensively, their running backs are very good. I think they’ve pretty much have a senior offensive line. This was a year I know they felt they had a chance to have a huge season and they almost did.”

On the possibility of using Syvelle Newton at quarterback:
“Syvelle really enjoys playing safety right now to tell you the truth. It’s hard to get him on the offensive side of the field. We’ll have his ball plays ready. If there’s a lot pressure on Blake (Mitchell) and he can’t get any passes off, then it might be time to Syvelle in there and let him run around and see what happens.”