Spurrier Revisits 2005 Win In Knoxville
The game last year was decided by senior kicker Josh Brown, who kicked a career-long 49-yard field goal to put Carolina on top with less than three minutes to play. Many Gamecock fans were surprised to see Brown, not known for having a strong leg, run on the field for the attempt, and even more surprised when he made it. However, Spurrier says that the decision to kick was easy to make. "He was halfway out there," Spurrier said. "I didn't know what to do, I was stuck. I figured it real fast: it was 49 yards. He was half way out on the field looking back and he said, ‘Field goal, right, Coach?' I said, ‘Right on, kick it!' He wanted it, and if a kicker wants it, it makes a coach's decision easy. If he'd been hiding behind the bench back there, we'd have tried to throw for it or something. Josh is not supposed to make 49-yarders. Josh made the kick of his life."
With Brown gone to graduation, Ryan Succop has ably stepped into the kicking role for the Gamecocks this season. Succop has a stronger leg than Brown, and has improved his accuracy this year. He showed off his leg last weekend when he nailed a 55-yard field goal against Vanderbilt. Spurrier talked about the faith he has in his new kicker. "The other day, somebody said, ‘Coach, it's a 55 [yard attempt].' I said, ‘We've got a little breeze, and Ryan can make that.' Ryan was fine with it, too." Spurrier was asked if he thought Succop could match the 62-yard field goal Matt Bryant made for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. "He'd give it a good shot," Spurrier mused. "That one he made the other day would have gone 65, I think."
Turning an eye toward this year's edition of the Volunteers, Spurrier is more concerned. He has a sterling record against Tennessee, but he admitted that he has needed a little luck to compile his record against Phil Fulmer and the Volunteers. "They're always tough," Spurrier said. "I hate to say it, but in some of those wins at Florida, they kicked us up and down the field." Spurrier is especially concerned about Tennessee's passing attack. "Maybe we ought to do like some coaches, and let them run for five or six yards a pop, so they won't throw." He was only partly joking, and told reporters about the origin of the idea. "Bill Belichick said he did that when he was defensive coordinator of the Giants and they played Jim Kelly and Buffalo [in Super Bowl XXV]. They wanted Thurman Thomas to make some yards rushing so Kelly wouldn't throw so much. Of course, [Scott Norwood] missed a field goal. We coaches do all this planning, and a guy either makes or misses a field goal. It comes down to the players in just about every game."
- Web Brown has been practicing at full speed, and will be the backup center against Tennessee.
- Matt Raysor, who began the year at defensive tackle before being moved to guard, is back on defense. "He said that offensive playbook was too hard to learn this quickly," explained Spurrier. "He'll stay on defense, he's more of a defensive player, we found out."
- A number of players were held after practice to participate in "The County Fair," a series of endurance drills that are intended as a form of punishment. Spurrier would not elaborate on why the players were being punished. "We had some issues with some guys," he said. "They are eligible to play. That happens every now and then. We [scheduled] the county fair after practice, and we had 100% class attendance today. You miss class, you do that." However, Spurrier only said that the players had "another issue."
- Per the request of the South Carolina Athletic Department, fans are encouraged to wear garnet on Saturday when the Gamecocks play host to the Volunteers. Kickoff is set for 7:45 (EST), and the game will be televied nationally by ESPN.
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