Steve Spurrier Opening Statement
Steve Spurrier must be a music lover. He danced the shag, the state dance with Marcus’ mom. He’s great friends with country legend Kenny Chesney. He knows all the words to “Freebird”. Ok, I made that last part up. But he did quote Taylor Swift today at his press conference…a few times. He first made the reference on the Dan Patrick Show, when being asked about the tough loss against Tennessee, and it may be the song that’s keeping the HBC from pulling his hair out right now.
”I stay out too late/got nothing on my brain/at least that’s what people say” –Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”
While doubtful that TSwift is talking about the Gamecock defense, perhaps she’s a football wonderkund. Or maybe she’s just been noticing that the Carolina defense is at the bottom of nearly every statistical category in the nation, including 108th (out of 125) total defense. Going up against Florida, the Gamecocks will face another mobile style quarterback in the Gator’s Treon Harris. Last week, in a blowout win against Vanderbilt, Harris amassed 215 yards passing and 2 rushing TDs. He was later named SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance. The Gamecocks have struggled against teams with mobility under center, especially against the combination of JoJo Kemp and Patrick Towles from Kentucky. Florida will present a very similar style of offense, using spread looks to get the ball to elusive backs and lightning fast receivers.
Spurrier did note that sophomore linebacker Skai Moore would return this week, which means that defense will have some help at stopping the run. Moore, who was matched up with Georgia running back Todd Gurley, has been able to help the Gamecocks keep the run game in check this year—something that was missing in his absence against Tennessee. Even with missing the game against Tennessee, Moore has been one of the bright spots on a defense that has been downright poor all year long. Problems with the pass rush, along with inexperience in the secondary have cost the Gamecocks, but not in the usual way: the Gamecocks have allowed on 12 passing TDs this year compared to 24 rushing touchdowns.
Spurrier also talked about being back at Florida. “It’s the 5th time I’ll have been there as an opposing coach,” Spurrier noted. “I’ll probably look around before the warm-ups.” Spurrier, who is not particularly known for his sentimentality, knows that playing in the Swamp is difficult, even at the best of times. “It’s a noon game, so we’re hoping it may not be as loud as a 7 pm game.” He noted that it’s important for the Gamecocks to have a good start, recalling the 2012 game where the Gamecocks turned the ball over early, and often.
One thing is for sure, if the Gamecocks want to come away with an upset in Gainsville, they’re gonna need to listen to a lot of Taylor Swift.
Spurrier stated that several injured Gamecocks were beginning to practice again. Hybrid TE “Busta” Anderson will be ready for the game, although Cedric Cooper would not be ready and offensive lineman Mike Matulis would be available for the game, but hasn’t practiced this week.
Quarterback Dylan Thompson was named a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy. The award is given to the college player who best exemplifies community service. Thompson, who is known for his work ethic and sportsmanship, was also recognized by the USC earlier this year.
Standout sophomore Pharoh Cooper was also added to the 2014 Biletnikoff Award. Cooper, who is coming off a record breaking Tennessee game in which he rushed, passed, and received touchdowns, has been hailed nationally as one of the top receivers in the nation.
Although special teams isn’t a facet that Gamecock fans have ever thought of as special, Elliot Fry may disagree. Fry was named as a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, and is one of 20 players vying for the trophy. Fry is 12-15 on field goal attempts this year, and is a perfect 41-41 on extra point trys.The game is scheduled for Noon EST, and will be televised on SEC Network.