Spurrier Speaks on SC versus UF

COLUMBIA, SC -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is getting ready to face his alma mater for the fifth time, but that was no longer the major story of his press conference leading up to the matchup with Florida.

With his Gamecocks at 6-4 and appearing to have begun a third straight late season fade, reporters were focused more on who's calling the plays for the team and Spurrier's future than him going against the Gators.  

South Carolina's playcalling has been by committee this season. Steve Spurrier, Jr. is making calls from the press box. Offensive line and coach and run game coordinator Eric Wolford has input on which plays to go with in the ground game, and Spurrier himself makes come of the calls. Even Spurrier himself wasn't definitive on what the blend is, saying, "I may be the principal playcaller right now, with suggestions from the other coaches." He did say he's responsible for every play that's called, and that he may get more involved one on one with quarterback Stephen Garcia this week on the sideline.  

Spurrier correctly pointed out that his offense has been moving the ball successfully in recent weeks, but they aren't converting opportunities well enough. The 365 yards against Tennessee and 380 against Arkansas added up to just 13 and 16 points in the respective games. The Gamecocks had roughly a 100 yards less than that in games against NC State and Ole Miss earlier in the year, but were still able to win those. It's clear Spurrier feels they're capable of having a breakthrough game at some point.  

"We played with Alabama. We played with those guys pretty close. (UF's) a good team, but we just have to go play."  

Spurrier noted Arkansas had a chance to upset Florida but failed to take advantage of every opportunity, something he says is essential for the Gamecocks to spring a surprise.  

"The year we beat Florida here we had five scoring chances and scored four touchdowns and a field goal. You have to maximize your scoring chances to beat a good team like this."  

After the summer All-SEC voting controversy, it was a given Spurrier would be asked his thoughts on Florida's Tim Tebow. He made clear he feels his fellow Heisman Trophy winner is the best quarterback in the SEC, calling him "without a doubt one of the best third down quarterbacks that has ever played" because of his combination of running and passing skills.  

Also receiving praise from Spurrier was his former Florida assistant Charlie Strong. Spurrier said the Gator defensive coordinator deserves a promotion to head coach somewhere this year, and particularly noted his skill with zone blitzes.  

"Strong does a super job. He's developed into an excellent defensive coordinator, one of the best in the country."  

While some might wonder if a job that could open for Strong to potentially take would be South Carolina, Spurrier made clear he has no intention of going anywhere right now. After a coaching staff overhaul last offseason and a strong signing class that has made immediate contributions, he seems reenergized to build something bigger in Columbia.  

"I hope and plan to go three to four more years, something like that. If we're going 6-6, 7-5 at that point, then someone else should have a chance."  

Right now though, Spurrier's challenge is to have his current squad ready for Florida. The Gamecocks haven't had a bye yet this season, so he had them only go an hour for Monday night's practice. Cliff Matthews, one of their top pass rushers, is likely still out for the Gator game with a separated shoulder but starting safety Chris Culliver should return from a combined shoulder injury and suspension against Arkansas. Two other starters, middle linebacker Rodney Paulk and defensive tackle Travian Robertson, are already out for the season.

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