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Aug. 30, 2015

Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier

Opening Statement
We’re anxious to play the North Carolina Tar Heels up in Charlotte Thursday night… looking forward to seeing how we can do, we’re pretty much an unknown team, unknown at the quarterback position. We believe Connor Mitch will play very well, he just hasn’t played yet. We’ve got several young receivers that haven’t played much at all, we believe they’re capable but we’ve got to go up there and start playing football and find out what we’re all about.

North Carolina is a seasoned team on offense, their quarterback is playing very well, Quinshad Davis is a big-time receiver and they have been very good on offense for the last several years. It will be a good test for us, we believe we’re going to play a lot better defense and hopefully that will show up when we kick it off in Charlotte. This team we have is playing well, I think we’re in excellent condition. When we were doing our running across the field drills after practice yesterday most of the guys did not seem to struggle as they had in the past and everyone was making their times. This is a well-conditioned team with a good attitude, but we gotta go play and kick it off just to find what we’re all about this year.

How much of a drop-off will there be between starting running back Brandon Wilds and backup David Williams?
Drop-off? Well hopefully not much of a drop off, that’s why they’re both playing. David had a lot of good runs last year, he was actually in the game in the swamp in overtime and had several key carries making first downs in our overtime win down there. We have confidence that both those players are very good and ready to play. We will certainly try to run the ball against North Carolina, I think they know that, and we will throw it also.

How accurately can you predict how a team will play before the season starts?
Most of the time when you have returning players it’s not that big of a deal, we know how this guy played last year or even the year before that. We just have so many unknown players. Again, some players are very good when the lights come on and there are people in the stands, some other players don’t perform all that well. We just have to wait and see, any time you are inexperienced I believe you do have to wait and see. They’ve performed well in practice, so they should perform well in the game.

Are you more anxious to see your defense perform this year as opposed to year’s past, especially against a pretty good offense?
I think our defense will better represent South Carolina in a very positive way. I think we’ll fly around, get our hits in, be a better tackling team and be in better position. North Carolina is going to move the ball, and we can move the ball, and it’s probably going to come down to the team that takes care of the ball best and doesn’t turn it over. We’ve emphasized getting turnovers, whether or not we can we just have to wait and see.

What do you know about Gene Chizik’s defenses historically?
We researched a little of what Auburn did when he was the head coach, and certainly he had tremendous success at Auburn and Texas as a defensive coordinator. We’ve looked back on some of the schemes he did back in those days, but again who knows if he has new schemes. We’re expecting a lot of different stuff and I think they’re expecting some different stuff from us also. The days of just lining up in a 4-3, three deep or two deep are over. Guys are disguising and bring guys from all over the place and that’s really what college defenses are about now. They have that term “fire zone” where they rush any where from five to six guys and play zone behind them and it looks like a zone to a quarterback but they’re blitzing. We do it and most everybody does it.

Do you have a simplified playbook ready for Mitch ahead of the North Carolina game?
We’ve got a lot of plays in that we’ve been practicing the whole preseason, so we’ve got them available. Hopefully we can hone in on 4-5 formations and pass plays that have a chance. Connor has been for a while, he actually enrolled early a couple years ago so he’s been here a while and he knows the offense pretty well.

On the team’s helmet sticker commemorating the nine victims of the Charleston tragedy
Our team felt like it would be appropriate to have a sticker on our helmet in honor and memory of the nine people that lost their lives in Charleston this summer.

South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner

On the new Springs Brooks Plaza surrounding Williams Brice Stadium
It gives me great pleasure today to share some information about the Springs Brooks Plaza that our fans will have the opportunity to walk in to on September 12. For 81 years, our fans, alumni and donors have entered this stadium the same way, and for the first time in many years we have a different look.

We’re excited about what Tammy Brooks and her family have engaged in to change the appearance that many of you remember as a lot asphalt. Some people say it was the concrete jungle, very much of an industrial area, and it has changed considerably. We’ve got so many things out there to be proud of, many of you have been out there and seen the bricks that we have, we’ve sold over 3400 bricks that are engraved and in place and we’re already taking orders for the 2016 season. This is a time where we’re doing to many different things… this is very special for us. Tammy (Brooks) and I have engaged in numerous conversations about how impactful this is, its just an opportunity for our fans to have an environment that they haven’t experienced in so many years.

How big of a driving force was Coach Spurrier in his process?
He’s very instrumental in all our projects, and this one specifically. Our past will be recognized inside this stadium as we move forward as part of this project, he has a keen eye for things that are important. He understands what’s important, and our fan’s experience is extremely important to us. Recruiting is paramount, but what our fans experience when they come to Williams Brice counts as well.