Spurrier Should Keep Vols Busy

FAYETTEVILLE -- While LSU has this week off before its big Nov. 4 road game against Tennessee, the Volunteers must deal with South Carolina and old nemesis Steve Spurrier on Saturday at Columbia, S.C.

And the ol' ball coach, who dominated Tennessee during his 12-year stint in Florida, couldn't resist applying the needle on Wednesday.

"Tennessee is a lot stronger than they were last year," said Spurrier, whose Gamecocks beat UT in 2005. "I think last year at this time they were 3-4 or something. I don't think they're going to beat themselves this year. They didn't play very well last year."

Spurrier added that the Gamecocks "are very healthy, for the first time this year."

South Carolina's hopes offensively rest in large part with quarterback Syvelle Newton.

"We just let him run around and do some things on his own," Spurrier said. "Which is probably what we should do."

The Gamecocks are coming off a 31-13 win at Vanderbilt.

"Our offensive line played all right against Vanderbilt," Spurrier said. "Our protection is not as good as it will be someday. But Syvelle is a very good passer who can run out of the pocket and make things happen."


Speaking of quarterbacks who can run, Florida coach Urban Meyer is bullish on his freshman, Tim Tebow.

Asked to talk about Tebow's abilities, Meyer said Wednesday, "That's about a two-hour (answer). Tim has great work ethic, drive and determination and he's one of the toughest players I've ever been around. He's probably our best runner at this time. He's always falling forward, like great running backs do, and he has great ball security."

Florida plays Georgia at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Jacksonville, Fla., on CBS.

Meyer listed Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, LSU and his own team among those with very strong, athletic defenses in the SEC.

"I think about three or four teams in the SEC fall in that category," Meyer said. "It seems to me that you have better players in the South, and coaches put a lot of their best players on defense."

LSU coach Les Miles, expanding on that theme, said, "Contact has always been an intimidating force in this game. The team that continues to hit sustains a competitive edge. Players are more conscientious about their training now, and it amazes me how strong their contact is. With more space on the field in the spread offenses, the defender can take a long run at the guy with the ball."


Like Spurrier, Auburn coach Tom Tuberville pronounced his team healthy this week.

The Tigers play host to Ole Miss on television at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

"We're excited about getting back into SEC play," said Tuberville. "We're healthier than we've been in weeks. We've got four starters back. (Running backs) Kenny Irons and Brad Lester are 100 percent. Joe Cope, our center who got hurt against South Carolina (on Sept. 30) is back and working with the second team. It's good to have our guys back for this four-game (closing) stretch."

After Ole Miss, Auburn (7-1) plays Arkansas State at home, Georgia at home and Alabama at Tuscaloosa.


Arkansas coach Houston Nutt was asked to compare this season with 1998, his first as UA coach, when the Hogs started 8-0.

"That first year was a dream come true," he recalled. "Everyone picked us last. You got here and they had only had 35,000 people for the last (home) game. It's a different deal this year. This year our fans have pretty much been there and done that. But this year is still very exciting. Our team is very similar (to 1998) with the unselfishness, bond and great senior leadership."


Miles was asked about LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, whose uncle is in need of a heart transplant.

"JaMarcus has been obvious about that situation for some time now," Miles said. "He's very conscientious. The guy's heart is to do anything he can to help his family. I have a heart-to-life wrist bracelet that promotes his uncle's need.


After sorting through Joe Tereshinski, Joe Cox and Matthew Stafford at quarterback this season, Georgia coach Mark Richt has settled on true freshman Stafford, for now.

"It all started when Joe T. got hurt on the first series against South Carolina," Richt said. "Our freshmen struggled with the starting role. But Matthew is to the point where he's growing into that role. Our intention is to go with Stafford and grow with him."


Spurrier was asked if Rex Grossman's current success as the undefeated Chicago Bears quarterback could now make him the most notable ex-Florida quarterback turned NFL player.

"He certainly has a chance," Spurrier said. "But who's next? Shane Matthews played about 14 years and had an excellent career, but only played about five years. Rex is a very good passer with a great team, although his Arizona game reminded me of a couple of games (when) I had to take him out and put Jesse Palmer in."

Quarterback Danny Wuerffel won the Heisman Trophy at Florida, but had a limited pro career.

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