Aug. 5, 2007
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina held its annual football media day Sunday afternoon in Columbia, S.C. A large throng of media was on hand for the event that took place from 3-5 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium.
A portion of coach Steve Spurrier’s press conference is transcribed below.
Coach Steve Spurrier’s Opening Statement:
“I need to address an issue that has come up. I have to apologize to two young men that we recruited. They qualified, they signed with us in February, they were denied admission by our school. Personally, I don’t think that’s the way you do business. I’m embarrassed that our coaches and I basically misled these young men into believing they were coming here. Now I’m not blasting the President or the Provost. The President has already told me we’re going to change how we do admissions here, but I think we need to get it out to the high school coaches and the players out there that this not going to happen again. As a head coach, one of the big things I’ve always tried to follow in a player-coach relationship, honesty has to be the centerpiece of everything you do with your players. It starts when you recruit them. I don’t always tell recruits what they want to hear. I try to be honest with them and all I ever guarantee is opportunity. When you tell a young man if he qualifies and comes to your school and it doesn’t happen, somebody is misleading and it’s me. I’m the guy. The head coach is the face of every college football program. It’s my fault. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine. We have a plan in place. If we oversign, there’s a perception out there that South Carolina oversigns and they’re just getting rid of guys. That’s not true. We have a plan in place to greyshirt if they all qualify. We were going to do that. I’m not criticizing the President. He said we’re going to change how we do it. I just want the high school coaches, the parents, the players and all them to know that that’s not going to happen here if I continue to be the coach. And I plan on being the coach here a long time. We can have a heck of a big time college football program here at South Carolina if we want to do things the right way. I truly believe this is the last year this is going to happen because I can’t operate like that. I can’t operate misleading young men and our coaches can’t. We’ve suffered a severe blow credibility-wise in North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida. I’m trying to do what I can to help that right now and to try to restore whatever credibility we can get in those schools. I don’t like what happened. As long as I’m the coach here we’re going to take kids that qualify. If not, then I have to go somewhere else.”
On The 2007 Season:
“I really believe this is the best conditioned South Carolina team ever. I know it’s the best we’ve had in the three years here. Our players had an excellent summer working out. We only had a few that didn’t quite show the commitment level we needed. Mark Smith and the strength coaches have done a super job. We had excellent attendance from what I’ve heard. We’re excited about that.
“We think we’re going to be better on defense. If we can continue playing well defensively the whole year that means we’ve made some strides. I think we have better athletes in a lot of positions. All we are as a whole team is just potential. The defensive line is vastly improved. We think we can play better.”