Coach Spurrier: "This is My Team Now."

Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier met with the media on Tuesday afternoon as the Gamecocks continue preparation for Saturday's game vs. Florida. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. with the game televised live on Jefferson-Pilot.

(Opening statement)
"We are looking forward to another home game. Sixth home game, we get to play seven here. We've been fortunate to win four out of five so we ought to have a little bit of edge playing at home in the last two games of the season. Our team, our coaches, we are all looking forward to going into the 10th game. We've been very fortunate with the way the ball has been bouncing for us, the last three weeks especially. Hopefully it will keep going our way but hopefully we can play a little bit better also. If we do, certainly our chances will improve greatly. We all know the history of this game. South Carolina hasn't done very well in a long time but we think we got a chance. Florida is a good team as they usually are, a very good team. They are fighting for the division crown, they are one win and a Georgia loss away from winning it. So they are right in the thick of it. We realize that we have got to play real well. Anyway, we are looking forward to it, see what happens here on Saturday. We were excited to get the sixth win, obviously, last week against Arkansas. For our program to have that in the bank right now, it is wonderful. Our players are to be commended for that. We have two big ones ahead of us and this week Florida is the big conference game and we will see what we can do against those guys."

(On team's goals)
"We've talked all year about playing one game at a time and trying to improve as the season goes. We had a lot of errors in that game last week. Watching the tape of the game was not very pleasant for the offensive guys, I can assure you that. I had to get on the quarterback, (wide receiver) Sidney Rice, the offensive line, shoot, about everybody that played could have performed a lot better at times. We're excited about the opportunity that we are in. Our team also set a goal of winning seven games and they set a goal of winning eight games. Our minimum goal was six and we got that but there are other goals out there that we set and we haven't talked much about those. When we were 2-3 obviously the sixth win was the only one talking about at the time. We have other goals that are loftier than 6-5.

(On keys to the game)
"Well our defense has got to play well. Our defense has got to keep holding teams to not too many points. We've done that, the last two weeks especially, our defense has played extremely well. We still give up some rushing yards to the teams but we are keeping them out of the end zone, which is the ultimate thing you have to do. Defense needs to play well, get the Gators off the field. (Quarterback) Chris Leak is one of the best quarterbacks around. A very accurate passer, he throws a very catchable ball. You don't see many drops by his receivers. We have to get some pressure on him, get a hand in the face, don't let him run around; he scrambled for about 80 yards against Vanderbilt in the last game. We have to keep him in the pocket, stop their run, all those kind of things and offensively hopefully we can move the ball and stay on the field a little bit, give our defense a rest. Special teams we have been pretty decent there, most of the time. We were 0-for-1 in our field goal attempts last week, but as it turned out, it didn't cost us. Hopefully we will be solid in the special team area. We also have to take care of the ball. I tell you what, you have to be amazed at what Florida has done in the turnover margin. To be +17, I don't know if I have ever heard of a team being +17 during the season. I don't know what the record is but that is sensational. They knock it out, they strip it and they don't let anybody do it to them. You have to admire how they have been able to take care of the ball and take it away from the other guy. It's probably a big reason that they beat Vanderbilt the other night."

(More on team's goals)
"We set about seven goals. I like to set more than one. I like for a team to set more than one and they (team's goals) are actually all within reach. One of the goals we set was to finish in the top half of the Eastern Division and I think we are going to do that. Regardless of what happens I think we are going to finish in the top half of the division. We wanted to be one of those three teams because it hasn't happened very much. The seven, eight win total is still there and those were two others."

(On playing Florida)
"It's been three years since I've coached there. This is my team now (at South Carolina). It's our team, we are all involved in it. I've been with this group for I guess about a year or so now. I've only had one team at a time and this is my team."

(On team's effort in the last four games)
"There is definitely a sense of calm in the locker room at halftime when we have struggled somewhat through the first half through this four-game stretch. As you all know, we haven't had a lead yet. With the players, there isn't any panic and I don't think we are going to panic this week about anything. So, hopefully that will free up our players to play our best."

"We're playing better. We're playing with fewer mistakes per assignment. We still get beat a little bit up front, this that and the other, but we don't have as many mental errors offensively and defensively as we have had before. We've tried to simplify our defense a lot better than I think we were doing. The guys I think have realized that if you do keep playing with a lot of effort and maintain a good attitude you have a chance for some good things to happen in the fourth quarter."

(On wide receiver Kenny McKinley)
"Kenny just sort of emerged as a guy that picked it up maybe a bit quicker. He's a punt return guy and he's come on for us. He's got good hands and good speed. Right now, he, Sidney (Rice) and Kris Clark are probably our top three (at receiver). Carlos Thomas should be back this week. He's back from his concussion. It was nice to see him running around last night at practice, so he can play a little bit at wide receiver also."

(On Florida's defense)
"Florida's defense against Georgia was very fast. They were flying all over the place. Against Vanderbilt, I don't know if they weren't into it as much as the Georgia game, or what, obviously they didn't perform near as well against Vandy as they did against Georgia, Mississippi State and all those other teams. They have outstanding team speed; a well coached bunch of guys. They do a nice job of disguising their coverages, they have the zone blitzes, man-to-man, some other zone, so it's a good challenge."

(On running back Mike Davis)
"Mike is coming along. Hopefully we can give him some better holes than what we did (against Arkansas). We gave him one good hole and he had the longest run of the year (at Arkansas) for 37 yards. Other than that we didn't block well up front."

(On the team and practice)
"The guys are practicing a bit better. They are practicing a little faster, they know their assignments better. It's repetition, repetition, repetition. Repetition is the mother of learning somebody once said. We try to get a lot of plays in, a lot of snaps and such. Hopefully that is helped. We are all creatures of habit. If you can get your players in the habit of playing full speed you have a better chance playing full speed."

Courtesy USC Sports Info

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