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Sept. 4, 2012

September 4, 2012
Jimmy Legree

Head Coach Steve Spurrier met with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview Saturday’s home opener against East Carolina. The Gamecocks and Pirates will kick off at 12:21 p.m. on the SEC Network.

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
Opening Statement

It seems like last week’s game is still in the news. I thought D.J. Swearinger made an outstanding play that some people are trying to say could’ve been an obvious interference. When the play occurred, most of us at the game thought the guy dropped the ball. Later we found out D.J. got his hand in there that caused the drop. You know the defensive guy has the right to go for the ball as well as the offensive guy. It was a close call. I thought it was an outstanding play. People are making a big deal out of that one, but I don’t think they should.

On the Vanderbilt win
Congrats to Marcus Lattimore. Offensive Player of the Week in the SEC. After the game the other night my buddy Bobby Stoops called and said “Coach, that was a great win you guys had.” I was feeling a little (like) it was a win but we didn’t play well offensively most of the game. He went on to say it’s a conference game on the road, the team’s fired up, your quarterback got knocked out in the second quarter, you came back and put a drive together in the fourth to score and another to run off over 10 minutes in the fourth quarter. I think Vandy had eight or nine plays in the fourth. Even though our offense didn’t make a bunch of yards, they did good stuff in the fourth to win the game for us. I just want our fans to realize we’re not as bad as maybe some people think they are. Our guys played hard and won the ball game.

On playing East Carolina
Ready for ECU, a team that beat Appalachian State handily last week. We played them last year. They had a great chance to beat us last year. Fortunately we had defensive scores and so forth to get into the game and finally played a little offense. Expect another tough game. They’ll be ready to play. We should too. Looking forward to being back home here at Williams-Brice. We’ve won 18 of the last 21 here. We should feel comfortable here at home. Hopefully we’ll get our offense a little on track. Hopefully we can pitch it around better than we have, but the object is to win the game.

On quarterbacks and Justice Cunningham
Connor (Shaw) could be ready to play. We’ll see how he feels Wednesday or Thursday. If he can’t pitch it around Thursday he’s probably not going to play. If not Dylan (Thompson) should get the first call. Seth Strickland and Andrew Clifford will be ready after that. Other than that, most of the guys are healthy. Getting ready to see if we can play better. Football is a long season. Teams get better or worse. It was a real good win for us last week. Justice (Cunningham), the catch he made might go down in the history books as one of the best catches around South Carolina.

On Connor Shaw’s availability to play
As a coach you don’t put a player on the field that is in pain and will get hurt. Last week he said `I can play’. Doctor said he can play. Every time he fell on his back or shoulder he got up in a little pain there. I don’t think anybody wants to see that. If he’s in pain he doesn’t need to be out there playing. From what I understand he thinks he won’t have any pain, but we have to wait and see.

On Connor Shaw’s injury
It’s not a joint injury. It’s a deep bone bruise, something to that nature. Muscle or bone bruise. Nothing to do with the joints.

On Connor Shaw’s running tendency
We went 11-2 (last year). As a quarterback he won six or seven games. We didn’t throw for a ton of yards in hardly any of them. Whether we can start doing that, we have to wait and see, but he runs extremely well. He’s a great runner with the ball. That’s part of our offense. Even last game he was averaging about 10 yards per carry until we took the knees at the end of the game. I don’t know if he needs to run a bunch this week or not, or if we can throw a lot. We’ll just have to wait and see.

On Dylan Thompson
We’re trying to get his confidence up. It’s a struggle. He works at it. He works hard. Sometimes too hard. We have to loosen him up a bit. He tries to hard. He’s really a good passer when he does things the right way. His confidence level is what we need to pump up. He’s getting a lot of snaps now. He really hasn’t played much at all yet. Hopefully he’ll be ready.

On the Wildcat Formation
Bruce (Ellington) could run one or two in there. He did last year when we played ECU. They know he’s capable of going back there and running. We’ll have one or two plays for him available. We had some available last week but just didn’t get to it.

On playing ECU in a tight game last year
If you notice around the country a lot of those smaller colleges give everybody fits. I don’t have the exact reason for it. They really come to play. It’s a huge victory for them if they’re able to beat a big college team, and it’s not that big a deal for the big college school, so you have a lot of tight games. They’ll be ready to play. They had a really good chance to get us last year. They sort of fumbled it away. They all know that they can play with us very well.

On Brandon Shell
He’s pretty healthy. We’re running Mike Matulis a little bit over there and Brandon. Corey Robinson had a good day of practice. He’s another big kid. I think we need to play a whole bunch of people. We need to keep giving guys chances. The game got so tight last week (that) we didn’t have the opportunity to play anybody. You try to stick with the guys that are your first teamers. Plus it was a short game. It went fast. Nobody got too tired even though it was a hot, muggy night.

On playing well at home in recent seasons
Most of the difference is we’re winning the close games. That’s most of the difference. We haven’t had a bunch of blowouts of teams. A few but not too many. Just typical home field advantage. Our players feel confident here and the crowds have been super. We need our fans to be super again Saturday at 12:21. Come ready to scream and yell and have a good time, and hopefully we’ll play a lot better as a team. Offensive, defense and special teams, the whole bunch, we need to play better.