Spurrier Tues. Presser: Auburn
From USC Media Relations
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier Opening Statement
Our players will wear these (Wounded Warrior) jerseys this game and they'll be auctioned off so hopefully we can earn money for the Wounded Warrior project. Stephen Diaz will be our honorary captain again. He was injured in Iraq in an Humvee blast. He's doing well. He's actually a student here at South Carolina. He'll be our honorary captain this year, and hopefully it will work out we can give him a game ball. Hopefully.
We have Auburn coming in. Auburn is a different team from last year. We're a different team. I think they lost 18 starters out of 22. Obviously from their big year last year they have a completely different team. A lot of young guys. They have tremendous pride and tradition at Auburn and history. Their guys are playing hard. They're 3-1. They're playing extremely hard, and we'll get their best shot Saturday at 3:30. Hopefully our offensive team can play better. Our defensive team really came alive last week. For us to have a big year our defense needs to play like that close to every week. Offensively what was bad was all the stupid penalties that took away almost 100 yards. We'll try to play smarter and get our quarterback in position to maybe not throw it at them and give him some simpler plays. It will probably take a really good game to beat Auburn this week. We're looking forward to it. We're certainly not playing our best and patting each other on the back, but we're as good as we can be at this point record-wise. Maybe we can go on to have a big year. We just have to see how things play out.
On learning what personnel to play
We hope our defense has found out maybe who our best players are and what our best schemes are. Offensively we know who our best running back is. That's one thing we know. We have to figure out throwing the ball better. Other than that we're learning what we do best and go from there.
On Damiere Byrd
He's done nothing wrong. He was just ruled ineligible. He'll suit up. He's a true freshman that hasn't played yet. He'll be in the mix. If we play six receivers, he'll certainly be out there. He's been practicing mostly with the regular guys all year. We have several walk-on guys that are doing real well. In fact we got them in the game last week. Kaleb Broome and Blair Lowery got in last week. We have plenty of players to help out.
On special teams
John Butler is an excellent coach and our players are playing with a better effort since the Georgia game. Since then, on a couple of kickoffs and punts and so forth, we have guys that can run. All we have to do is give effort.
On taking it game by game
We're just going one game at a time. That's all you can do. We have plenty to work on with the entire team to get better. We'll just worry about this one this week.
On Auburn's defense
They've struggled. There's no question about that. I think they returned one or two starters on defense, maybe three. They've proven they can turn it around. Our defense was struggling until last week. We were struggling, but last week we put it together. Who knows how our offense will play against them, but it's true they've not played well defensively. They know that and I'm sure they'll try to get better.
On Rory Anderson
Buster is doing pretty well. He missed a play every now and then and doesn't get the signal. We've worked on that. He's not the only one that didn't get the signal the other night. We're working on that too. But Buster is a good player. He's one of our two tight ends when we use a two tight end formation, he and Justice Cunningham. He's from Atlanta. I didn't know if he'd redshirt this year, but he's about 220 (pounds) and he can block out there. He's doing well.
On Stephen Garcia's confidence
We're hoping Stephen's confidence will gain as the week progresses. Obviously at the end of the last game it wasn't well. We'll start Stephen and hopefully he'll finish the game. We'll try to put him in position where he can play well.
I hope the quarterback will go out there saying `I'm ready to tear them up today' instead of `what will I do today'. We hope the entire team has confidence they can play well. Even the left guard needs to have confidence he can play well.
On Brandon Wilds
Brandon is doing well. With Kenny Miles's sprained wrist, he can't really hold the ball in his hand right now. He's probably out another week or so. Brandon has done very well. He may get a carry or two or a screen pass. He's done well. He'll be a really great player for us. He's already a good player.
On third downs
We just have to play the game and see what happens. Clemson against auburn made 14 of 18 third downs. That's making some third downs there. The first two downs Auburn stopped them a bunch, but then they made all those third downs. You don't make those and it's a closer game. It's not like they just rolled up and down the field. When you can make a bunch of third downs it's helpful, so you have to give Clemson credit for their third down offense.
I hope our defense is coming around to what we thought it would be in the preseason. Certainly last week it was. I think that's the most dominant defensive performance since I've been here. If we can get close to that these games we'll have a chance.
On offensive struggles
When a quarterback and the offense struggles, the offensive coordinator, the quarterback coach, the offensive line coach, the receivers coach, we all struggle. We're all a big part of whatever happens wit the offense. That's why I don't think many of us were very happy last week because our phase of the game didn't perform well. We're really happy for the defense and happy the special teams are playing well.
On Antonio Allen, Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney
Antonio, he and Melvin, balls are attracted to them right now. They have a knack of running into the balls. That play the other night was interesting. Clowney knocked it out, Antonio scoops it up, Melvin is chasing and he fumbles it to Melvin. We've got some palymakers on defense, there's no question about that. Hopefully that will continue throughout the year. Antonio is an excellent pass rusher also. We haven't used him much yet. I'm sure we'll sneak him in and use him in that occasion.
On Texas A&M joining the SEC
I've never been to Texas A&M. It's a big stadium. I think they seat 90,000. (They have) Tremendous tradition. Home of the 12th man, I know that. I see the sign on their wall there when we see some game tapes. Of course I watched the A&M and Texas game it seems every Friday after Thanksgiving. They're a big-time school and should fit well into the SEC. I still don't know how we'll do the 13 teams, but the commissioner says we'll work it out, so we have confidence he'll work it out.
On Auburn's Michael Dyer
He's a good running back. He's one of the best in the conference, in the country. They're going to run him a bunch. We know that. They'll run him a lot more than certainly they did last year with Cam Newton back there. Dyer is their main guy. We have to stop him, and (you have to) stop the run game no matter who you play.
On the running game coming to the forefront of college football
It is a little different (than his time at Florida). In fact, Florida now leads the conference in rushing offense. I think Florida rushed for over 400 against Kentucky. Teams are running for more than they're throwing, which is a little unusual. That's the way it is here. Some other places they're throwing a lot more, but I think the running game has bounced back. When you look at Oregon and some of those fast-paced teams, I think they're actually running a little more than throwing.
We're getting a little more national attention obviously with the baseball team winning national championships, and being on TV is helpful. We've had a lot more exposure the last three or four years that we've probably had here.
On throwing the slant to Alshon Jeffery
We're in the gun a lot. In the gun it's not as easy to throw (slants). We probably need to throw more of them. We finally threw a fade to Alshon. He's very good on that. We don't get a lot of bump and run on him. There's a lot of things we can do better, no question about it. The slants are one of them also, and trying to throw a corner route. We can't hit a corner route.
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