Spurrier Tues. Presser: Arkansas
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
We're getting ready to play Arkansas. They're 7-1 just like us. They're the best passing team in the conference, no question about it. They lead the conference in pass offense just about every year. Bobby Petrino has done an excellent job at Arkansas. They went to the Sugar Bowl last year and came close to winning it. They have a knack for winning. They haven't played extremely well the last couple of games but found a way to win them. Obviously they know something about how to win games at Arkansas. They've beaten us pretty good the last couple of times, especially last year. I remember we took two days off (afterwards) just to watch Arkansas play offense and defense; they played that well. The team this year they have is a bit different. They've had some injuries and some seniors on the team last year (are gone). It's a different team and different quarterback. They have three wide receivers that are really good and a tight end that is really good. They spread the ball around. They all have a bunch of yards and touchdowns. I think they have three kick returns for touchdowns also. Their defense scores. They've found a way to win some games that maybe they gave up yards and points, but you admire the way they play. It's a big challenge for us. We know what's on the line. It's sort of fun to know there's no room for error. If we win the (SEC) East, we won't back into it. We have to play ball. Most every one is healthy, so we're in position to play as well as we can.
On pass defense
Hopefully we will play well and we must to have a chance to beat Arkansas. Our guys have really improved on pass defense, there's no question about that. We're right there with Alabama as the best pass defense in the conference. I think half a yard separates us. We'll be challenged. We have to get a pass rush going also. We have to get Melvin (Ingram), (Jadeveon) Clowney, Devin (Taylor) and the guys really getting pressure on the quarterback. That will be a must for us this week. Hopefully we can throw the ball around a little better. That will be helpful if we can. If we can't, we have run the ball pretty well. We're second to Alabama in rushing offense, which is a pretty good stat to have. It's better to be second in rushing than passing. If you can run and play defense, you'll have some low-scoring games. That's kind of what's happened for us.
On why the defense has improved so much this year
We've simplified a lot of our coverages to where we don't have that many and (make) fewer mistakes. That's a big part of it. Just the guys playing hard, playing their assignments, playing with effort and getting a pretty consistent rush has been helpful. We have good athletes. When they know what to do and are in position, I know that's helped us this year compared to what we did last year.
On Brandon Wilds
Brandon did a lot of good things in that Tennessee game. Some things happened that hopefully he can learn from also. Going out for passes a couple of times, he left Connor (Shaw) and sort of drifted on him a couple of times. We believe he can be better in certain areas, but he's a natural runner. Brandon is an excellent runner with the ball. He has a good body lean, shakes guys off. He has a knack. He was able to show it last week. Hopefully we can get a bunch of yards. We're not a great passing team so we better be able to run successfully.
On the chance to win six SEC games for the first time
We have a chance at a lot of first time things. Someone told me our senior class won more games than any four-year period with last week's win. They can increase that one. Road wins, we can increase that record a bit, and SEC games or what have you. Really the only thing you concentrate on is playing the game and trying to play our assignments. The biggest goal is trying to win the east. To do that we probably need to win our last two games. We know that. (We'll take it) one game at a time and this week is Arkansas. Hopefully we won't have crucial turnovers we had last week. We escaped danger because our defensive guys really played super down in the redzone. Tennessee was down there twice and got three points. We dropped a punt and had an interception that went down there and they only came away with three. If we can play redzone defense like we're playing, that certainly gives us an excellent chance.
On frustrations of the passing game as offensive coordinator
I'm also the head coach. When you're the offensive coordinator, sometimes you worry about how many yards you make and the score. When you're the head coach, you worry about wins and losses. We're going to do whatever it takes we feel is best to win the game. If that's running on the ground, then that's not a bad way to do it. Hopefully we can throw the ball around. It's frustrating, but it is what it is.
On Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson
I really don't watch other teams' offenses that much. I try to watch the defense and see if we can find some ball plays to hit here and there. Obviously his statistics are very good. Watching him against Vandy, he stays and makes the throws. He got hit a bunch of times. He's a tough kid and plays with courage. He'll stay in the pocket and make the throws. I admire the way he plays certainly.
If South Carolina maybe overlooked Arkansas last season, not needing the win to win the East
We just got beat. They played extremely well. We didn't play our best, but they blocked and tackled us. They had a good gameplan. They just beat us soundly. We have no excuses about that.
On Arkansas and the Western Division race
They're still alive for their division. They have to hope that LSU beats Alabama, and they beat us and beat LSU. That would put a three-way tie over there. I don't know who would be the pick. I think they do it by highest-ranked BCS team. They've only lost to Alabama. They're number eight in the BCS standings. They have life. Anything can happen for them. We're in very similar situations really.
On Bruce Ellington
Bruce is ready now. He practiced full-go last night. He should be more involved this week.
On if Arkansas resembles the Fun N' Gun at Florida
It's a little different. It's still drop-back and throw out the pocket stuff. They throw it down the field. They turn it loose. That's how you make a bunch of yards. (Bobby Petrino) has got his own style. Everyone has their own different styles and so forth.
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