Spurrier Tues. Presser: The Citadel
From USC Media Relations
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier
We're looking forward to the game with The Citadel at 12 noon this Saturday. The Citadel is a well-disciplined team. They've had some tough luck this year. They lost most of their close ones. Lost in overtime to Elon, lost a close one with Furman and Appalachian State. Georgia Sourthern beat them by two points. Georgia Southern was No. 1 in the country in that division. Samford scored at the end of the game last week to nip them 19-14. I think they lead the nation in fewest penalties. I wish I could say that about our team. These guys don't beat themselves. They're an excellent running team. They run the triple option similar to Georgia Tech and Navy. I think they average around 290 yards rushing per game. We have to come to play or else they can stay on the field like Navy did a bit, and we might be in trouble. We're looking forward to it and to see if our offense can play better and maybe get a pass down the field before the day is over. We'll see if we can get some of our players to play better and not jump offsides. We'll see if we can improve upon the game last week. It should be a pretty day and similar to last week, about 75 or 70 (degrees). The Citadel will come in here, play their hearts out and give it their best shot to beat us. We're looking forward to it and trying to get the ninth win of the season, which has only happened three or four times, so we'll hope to achieve that goal.
On if the passing game will be more prevalent Saturday
You don't go into a game saying we'll experiment throwing the ball every down. We'd like to throw better than we have been, but we'd like to mix it up and win a ball game the best we can. We need to improve our passing game and see if we can do a little bit better. We need to win the game first and foremost.
On Mike Matulis getting a game ball against Florida
Matulis played the whole game. Freshman. Hadn't played four or five weeks and I sort of suggested to Coach Elliot maybe we need to let him play right tackle because we struggled there. He's a Florida kid from Florida. That's basically the reason he got one. He played decent; not great, but decent.
On the evolution of the team
We are competitive now. We're not a great team. We were talking in the staff room the other day that last year's team probably statistically was better than this year team, yet this year's team has won one more game at this point that last year's. But who knows how we'll do.
On if the program is where he wants it to be at this point
It's not where we want to be. We want to win the SEC in the next three or four years, hopefully real soon. That's where we want to be. We're not quite there yet. We were a happy bunch (after the Florida win) there's no question about that, but anytime someone beats Florida they're a happy bunch of people. You have to remember Florida is a team that in the last 20 years (has won) three national championships, eight or nine SEC championships, so they're one of the elite teams that anytime you beat someone like that that's something you can talk about until the next year's game. It was good to win all the Eastern Division games. Our guys have had an excellent year. We're really proud of how our guys have played.
On playing the in-state schools
We've had a few close games, certainly, with our in-state teams. Wofford almost beats us every time we play them, Furman comes Close and SC State has given us fits. We just need to make sure we're ready to play. I think our guys will. We've gotten the last game out of our system, and we're ready to get some good practices in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and be ready to play Saturday.
On Connor Shaw
Connor is doing OK. Connor had a courageous game running the ball and so forth. Passing, they had some good coverages. Once or twice he could've stayed in there and fired it, but he took off running. But he's doing well. He's doing very well. The ability to run the ball at the quarterback position gives you a good chance to win.
On competing for the SEC East
We were very fortunate to not play LSU or Alabama. Georgia didn't have to play them either. I think Arkansas is better than Ole Miss this year, and we played Arkansas obviously. That's just the way it happened. Georgia has been fortunate too. I think their coach will tell you they won two or three that could've gone the other way. Sometimes you just play it out, and if it was meant to be maybe you'll win it like it was for us last year with a 5-3 record. This year we're 6-2 and maybe it's not meant to be.
On Marcus Lattimore's upcoming surgery
There hasn't been a delay. That's the way they do it nowadays (waiting to do surgery). They try to get the knee calmed down and get the swelling out. I believe it will be this week sometime. He's been pretty good. I saw him walking around yesterday. He's off his crutches. He can walk without the crutches now. He's looking forward to getting it over with and starting rehab. We all know he'll work as hard as any player to get it back to 100 percent and ready to go. We're confident we have one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the country - Dr. Jeff Guy - and he's ready to get it going in the next day or so.
On Travian Robertson
Travian had an excellent game. He graded out the highest of all the guys last week versus Florida. Travian has been here five years and has already graduated. He's one of our best representatives of a Gamecock football player. I'm really proud of Travian. I certianly think he has a chance to play some ball in the NFL. He's a big, strong, inside tackle. He's hard to move. He ended up getting the last sack to end the game last week.
On team goals
We set more goals than just the eastern division. We actually hit one of our goals last week - hitting eight games. Hitting eight is one of our goals and winning nine is one of our goals. I believe in setting with the team several goals, which we do. I think we set eight or nine goals this year. A bunch of them are still out there for us.
On the 1990 South Carolina loss to The Citadel
I told our team about it. I think I was in Charleston this summer at a Gamecock Club booster meeting, and one of the guys down there played football at The Citadel. 1990, that wasn't that long ago. I mentioned that to our team that it is a very big deal if an in-state school beats the state university anywhere. We'll be ready to play these guys. I'm sure they'll be ready to play too.
On if the current offense is his new style compared to his offenses at Florida
I hope not. I hope this won't be our style of offense. When we watch the tape obviously after every game, up the middle, up the middle for one yard, two yards and stuff like that; I don't like watching it either to tell the truth. On the other side, we all like winning better than we like guys getting sacked and throwing interceptions. We're just not real good at throwing yet. Even last year our big wins we didn't throw 35 or 40 times. This has been our style the last couple of games.
On Bruce Ellington doing kickoff returns
Bruce did better in practice last week, that's why he was back there. Of course Vic (Hampton) had a fumble against Arkansas. Bruce had one against Kentucky. Everyone that's been back there has had one. But Bruce did do a good job. The return team gave him a bit more blocking than normal. We had excellent field position most of the game. We were at the 40 a bunch. It didn't lead to a lot of scores, but it was good field position.
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