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Jan. 14, 2010

Click here to view Thursday’s press conference

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
On hiring Shawn Elliott
He’s from Camden (S.C.). I think it’s important to get a Carolina guy, but that’s not why I hired him. I hired him because I think he’s the best offensive line coach I could hire this year … obviously Shawn has a track record. His guys have played well and have had three national championships in a row in the ’05, ’06, and `07 years (in addition to) two semifinals (appearances). Those guys up at Appalachian State know how to win, know how to do it the right way. We’re bringing Shawn in and hopefully rubbing some of that App State stuff on us here. We’re thrilled he’s with us.

On his season review
All we can do is look back on the positives. Sometimes we all know you’re only as good as your last game. During the season we adopted that 24-hour rule that a lot of schools use – if you win you celebrate 24 hours and if you lose you mourn for 24 hours. We’re over it now. We’re ready to participate and start preparing for the 2010 season. Right now it’s recruiting which is what’s most important. The positives are you are whatever you are. We won seven games and we won that trophy they give to the state champ. I like that term, state champ instead (of saying) we beat Clemson. But beating S.C. State was important too. If we lost to those guys we couldn’t say we’re state champions. Those were the positives.

On juniors leaving for the NFL
So far if (Clifton Geathers) leaves, and indications are he is leaving, that would be it. I talked to him a day or two ago and he was contemplating it. That’s all I know.

On if the team will expect to see the spread offense
A little bit as well as two-back stuff. We’ll try to see what we can do best. Shawn’s the run game coordinator. We’ll run a lot of the stuff he knows how to coach very well. He has a track record for coaching. Appalachian State averaged around 240 a game rushing this year, so obviously they’ve done a good job.

On early enrollee Connor Shaw
Connor is in school. He was at the workout a few minutes ago. He’ll have a chance to earn his way. We think he’s a good player. We’re not going to put a lot of pressure on him. He’s a guy that loves football. His dad was the high coach in Flowery Branch, Ga. Connor is what we’d call a football junkie. He’s loves everything about football. He enjoys working out. He’s a guy that wants to learn everything about the game.

On predictions
When we start beating Georgia and Southern Miss our first two games, then we may (done something special). But we don’t need to talk about anything except trying to beat Southern Miss our first game. After our last performance we have a long way to go.

Offensive Line Coach Shawn Elliott
Opening Statement
I just want to say it’s such a great opportunity to come to the University of South Carolina and have this chance to compete in the SEC with this ball club at this university in the state of South Carolina. It’s exciting for myself and my family. We’re looking forward to the upcoming season. It’s a lot of peoples dream job to be at USC. I’m just thrilled to death to have the chance and come down and be close to my family and have this opportunity.

On being a fan as a child
I was a huge fan of South Carolina growing up. My father was a highway patrolman so he worked the games on Saturday. I can remember looking where the coaches offices are now and sitting in the stands as a boy. I grew up as a huge fan of the Gamecocks. I remember seeing George Rogers playing here and Sterling Sharpe play and the team in `84.

On his coaching beliefs
I’m a big believer in perfect technique. That’s the bottom line. If you’ll have the best offensive line on the field they have to be great technicians and have a lot of fight in them. That’s something I have to see if they have a lot of (here). I know that’s important.

On the type of coach he is
I’m an exciting coach. I coach with great emotion. I love players to play with great emotion. I think there was a little of that lacking just from sitting on my couch watching the bowl game. It didn’t seem like they were having fun. I can incorporate the passion that they will want to go out there and win. When I was sitting on the couch and they were struggling to move the football, I said those guys need someone to lead them. I think that can be me. Not just for the offensive line but for the whole football team. I feel I can bring that passion and heart to Columbia, S.C., and instill that in this football team.

On the difference in coaching the SoCon and the SEC
Last time I looked they were bigger, faster and stronger (in the SEC) but there’s still 11 on defense and 11 of offense. Unless they slip one out there I don’t know about, I think we’ll be ok.

On deciding to leave Appalachian State
I had several opportunities to go to other Division I programs (in the past). I love Boone, N.C and Appalachian State. I told my wife I would never leave (Appalachian State) unless I got a great opportunity. South Carolina is just a great opp. It’s SEC football. It’s the best football in the country, hands down, so the move was a no brainer.