Nov. 24, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday to talk about this week’s rivalry game with Clemson. The game will kickoff at 12 noon at Williams-Brice Stadium and will be televised by ESPN.
We’re looking forward to the biggest game of the year. We’ve all said if we’re not in the SEC title game (that) this is the biggest game, so this is our biggest game of the year. I don’t know what it is for those guys because they’re in the (ACC championship) game next week. Hopefully we can play close to mistake free and not have the crucial turnovers that have hampered us recently. Hopefully we can contain their big play guys – C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford (who) are the biggest breakaway threats in college football. Both of those players are exciting. Spiller has had a fantastic year, a fantastic four years. Hopefully we can contain him a bit. We need to (contain him) to give us a chance.
Hopefully we can be a little sharper this afternoon when we practice and through the week. We’re pretty healthy. Cliff Matthews should hopefully be good to go. Other than that it’s the same injuries we’ve had all year. Hopefully we can put together our best game of the year and do our best here Saturday at high noon.
On Clemson’s defense
They are pretty highly ranked in most of the defensive categories. They have a ton of turnovers; they’ve gotten their share of the crucial turnovers to win the games. But they’re a good defensive team. I wish we could say we could go up and down the field, but we haven’t gone up and down the field on anybody. We hope to run the ball and stay on the field and mix it up. That’s what we hope to do.
On C.J. Spiller’s Heisman Trophy aspirations
Lets hope he has a big game in the ACC championship game. That’s what I keep hearing about (Florida’s) Tim Tebow and (Alabama’s) Mark Ingram and all those guys (about having a big game in the championship). That’s something that plays out for all those guys. He could be in contention. There’s five or six of them still in contention. A lot of that voting goes down to who had the big last game. That seems to determine the winner a lot.
On Clemson’s early season struggles
They’ve done a good job. Dabo and his coaches have done a good job of keeping their guys together during the difficult early going. Those games they lost were all close ones. It’s not like they were getting blown out. They have a good team. They’re finally starting to put it all together and won the close ones against Miami an FSU.
On the chance to break out new offensive wrinkles
Let’s hope so. We say that every week. There’s a lot of offense we’ve practiced most of the year that we haven’t gotten to (in the games). We don’t need to hold anything back, that’s for sure. Whether or not we get to it, we just have to see.
On the importance of the Clemson game
Every game is very important. It’s the biggest game of the year for us, no question about it. I don’t know how much bigger it can be. I know it’s the biggest one for our fans. We know the history. We just need to go out and play our best.
Talking about the past absolutely does us no good. We worry about the game this week. I’m sure the game this Saturday will stand on its own merit like all games do.
On if the Clemson game last year was discouraging
Some of the other games were more discouraging than that one because we had chances on all the other ones. (Clemson) just flat out beat us last year. You look back on some games and say you just got beat and move on. Our team is together. All of us will be here another month practicing for some bowl game. We all like each other and I certainly plan every one of our coaches to be back next year. We lost some games in a row to some good teams. All of them have good records. One was No. 1 in the country. Our team is together. We’re looking to have fun this week, and you usually play your best when you have fun.
On the last home game for the seniors
Eric Norwood had an outstanding career here as we all know. He’s the leading sack man and tackler behind the line in school history. He’s had a wonderful year. So has Nathan Pepper. Nate will be the first player to go to four bowl games – I think we’re going to a bowl game this year. You can’t always say you’ll definitely do something with six wins as we found out a year or two ago. Garrett Anderson and Lemuel Jeanpierre on offense have played quite a bit in their time here. Gerrod Sinclair plays a bit on special teams. We don’t have a whole lot of seniors this year, that’s just the way it worked out. They’d all like to win their last (home) game. It doesn’t happen everywhere, but we’ll try our best this Saturday.
On Moe Brown
Moe is a wonderful young man that has been an outstanding ambassador for our school and football team. He’s had a nice career here. Certainly Moe will always be welcomed back. This year he’s had his best year, certainly. He’s a good one and a fine young man.
On Clemson’s defensive staff
Kevin Steele and his defensive coaches have all done a good job. They’re an aggressive bunch up there. Their safeties at the line of scrimmage are generally helping out with a lot of the tackling. They rank pretty high in the defensive categories.
On Stephen Garcia
Stephen has improved tremendously with much room still for improvement. He needs to play well for us in the close, tough games to give us a chance here Saturday. He’s done well. There’s a lot of areas he hopefully can get better in and go from there.
On Scotty Spurrier
Scotty understands his position, which is wonderful. Like I told our team, I appreciate the players that know they won’t play much at all and do a good job in practice for us and help out when they can. Scotty has been the backup holder and got into two or three games at wide receiver. Hopefully in the future we can have some games where you can get all your down the line players in the game.
On the state of the offense
I think we’re better in what we’re trying to do. We still play two or three running backs and still not exactly dead set on our offensive line. When you really have a good offense you have five or six guys that play most of the way (on the line), and you have your top tailback that you know he’s your guy and just keep giving it to him every chance you have. We’re not where we hope to be someday.
On rivalry games
Rivalry games – it’s very important to the fans. As coaches you try to approach all of them the same. It’s the biggest game of your life that week, and when it’s over the next game becomes your biggest. The rivalry game is the one fans mostly talk about. In the past it used to be bigger because there wasn’t a bowl game. As we know now, we’re all as good as our last game. If you win your bowl game sometimes that can erase all the bad things.
On if the staff doesn’t put enough emphasis on beating Clemson
I think that’s false. We build it up without trying to put too much pressure on our guys. I know when I first got here there were signs all around this place about beat Clemson. I said we need to try to beat everybody we play. I don’t think that’s helpful. It’s my opinion. I’ve seen other teams get fired up to beat somebody. They way you beat them is outplay them. Either get better players or get your players to play better than the other team. Sometimes I think fans think we don’t dislike them enough or we don’t hate them enough, but it’s how you play the game that determines the winner.
Nathan Pepper – senior defensive lineman
On the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry
It’s always really intense because it is a chance to get us an extra win toward our bowl eligibility. It’s always really exciting during the Clemson game.
On the senior class
We helped build a good foundation so that the guys coming in can go and get something done like an SEC championship.
On the rest of the season
We still have a chance of going to a bowl game and getting a win out of that, but it is definitely going to help us out on having a good season. Over the years I’ve noticed the main thing is just to beat Clemson. It is something that the fans measure our team off of.
With us being a six-win team there is no saying where we will end up in the bowl games. I try not to look into that. I like to look to the next game and focus on the next win and try to make us a seven win team.
On last year’s game at Clemson
It was tough and embarrassing last year. We knew what we had to go against but we still let them come out and do what they wanted. They had their way with us upfront and in the back end. That’s something that we’ve been thinking about and wanting to do better with.
Moe Brown – senior wide receiver
On the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry
The rivalry itself is big because it’s the Carolina and Clemson rivalry. You get bragging rights for the entire year. Having those rights is important to not only the players, but to all the fans in the state. Being able to go to work and telling your Clemson co-workers that we got you this year. On a personal level, it’s not only the Clemson Carolina game, but it’s my last game here at William-Brice Stadium. I’ve had my time here and this will be my last go around in front of 80, 000 plus fans. It means a lot to me.
I don’t know how seriously Clemson takes this game. I don’t go up there and practice with them. We know this is a game that we need to win. We know that they are very talented opponent. This is the biggest game of the year. We prepare for it as such a game. I don’t think we downplay this game at all. There at Carolina, we want to win every game especially this one.
We are definitely on a losing streak, so we want to break that. Personally, it’s my last game here and my last Clemson Carolina game. To go out on a big win would be just fantastic. Also you want to get the best bowl game possible. We don’t know if we are going to get one at this point. If we win that would eliminate that possibility.
On his four years at South Carolina
It means the world to me. I definitely have grown as a person, a football player, and a man since I have been here. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. All the ups and downs have made me into who I am today. I love it. The last time I am putting on these cleats here it’s going to mean the world to me. Playing one more time for the Gamecocks.
On last year’s loss to Clemson
The loss last year was really hard especially because we beat ourselves. Those ones are harder to handle. It was a bad loss. It was embarrassing. You never want to lose. But if you do, you want to lose with effort and feel like the other team beat you and not that you beat yourself.
Lemuel Jeanpierre – senior offensive lineman
On quarterback Stephen Garcia He got thrown into a very important full-time role and he has grown throughout the season. He’s dedicated out on the field and we know he is doing his best and fighting his hardest.
On his senior season
This year has been a pretty solid year for me and I’m happy about how I’m doing. This season, our team has been a lot more upbeat and keeps a positive attitude.
On the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry
No this rivalry has never been down played. During the off-season you hear Clemson. During the season you hear Clemson. This is a big rivalry. I’ve known that and learned that since I have been here. We are hungry for that win.