Sunday teleconference report

After a brief opening statement, Steve Spurrier answered questions from the media this afternoon during his weekly Sunday teleconference. Despite the disappointing loss to Vanderbilt and the challenge of facing second-ranked Georgia next Saturday, Spurrier was his usual self: shooting straight and offering no excuses as he answered several questions surrounding the USC football team.


Below is a Q & A transcript of Spurrier's Sunday teleconference:

Spurrier: "We're looking forward to the game this Saturday, 3:30 game. It'll probably be a good hot one and (we are) looking forward to competing against the Georgia Bulldogs. It's very consistent each year. They've played extremely well the week before and we've not played very well the week before. We've had pretty good games with them every year so hopefully we can get in a close game with them and make a play or two and hopefully beat ‘em, but they're certainly one of the best teams in the country as we all know... We're looking forward to seeing what happens."

Q: How do you guys recover? It's got to be discouraging losing to Vanderbilt two years in a row.

A: "Well, I'm not worried about two years in a row, although, we haven't played very well. I'm discouraged about that. You know, you try to coach your guys to play their best and play without a lot of errors. We certainly have not done it two years in a row, and Vanderbilt has played very smart and they've beaten us. You know, we threw a couple of interceptions, we had a punt hit a guy on the foot. And then they ran the ball a little bit in the second half, got some touchdowns, and offensively we're still sputtering, and that's what's frustrating. Vanderbilt's a good team, and I knew they were a good team and they were a good team last year. It's not disgraceful to lose to Vanderbilt no more than some of these other really good teams because Vandy is a very good team."

Q: Can you talk about Jamon Meredith's return to the lineup?

A: Yes, Jamon will be back either at guard or tackle or wherever we think he can help our team. We'll make that decision as the week goes. The same with our quarterbacks now. We've got two quarterbacks who have not really distinguished themselves from each other in my opinion, and I've got to make the call. So we'll go through practice this week and try to see how each player performs a little bit in practice and how excited each player is to go play the game this week. And I'll try to make a decision on who gives us the best chance to beat Georgia."

Q: Is there any update on Kenny McKinley?

A: "Well, Kenny strained his hamstring. I don't think anything was torn so he's a wait and see as the week goes. But there's a chance that he might could be back. As you know hamstring injuries tend to linger two or three weeks. I hope it's not a severe one so we're just going to have to wait and see."

Q: To follow up on the quarterback situation, did you hope at this point that you would have one guy (sure starter) and wouldn't be going through this?

A: "Well, certainly we did. We hoped that would have happened the first game of the season. And for whatever reason it didn't, and after the second game, it hadn't quite happened either. (But) there's nothing wrong with having two quarterbacks. I've always in my entire coaching career, if you've got two that are pretty close in ability, you play both of them. Some people say you can't play two, but in my experience as a coach, we've won with two guys before. We won a conference championship in 2000 with Jesse Palmer and Rex Grossman playing throughout the year. I don't prefer to do that, but if you have two players playing very similarly, I think there's nothing wrong with doing that. We'll see how the season goes and hopefully one of the two will really play well and we won't have to keep doing this".

Q: The first six quarters of the season the defense was really dictating. What happened there after looking at film of the second half of the Vandy game?

A: "I don't have the answer for that. We played very well defensively. I just looked at the SEC stats. We're actually leading the conference in a whole bunch of defensive categories, especially in total defense... Vandy only made 225 (yards), but what they did, they scored touchdowns. They were down there four times and got three touchdowns and a field goal. So that was a little discouraging. Of course, they had a couple penalties on Captain Munnerlyn there that helped tremendously the one drive. But our defense is playing well. Ellis Johnson felt like we could have played better in the second half. It's hard for me to be upset at our defense right now. But obviously to give us any kind of chance this season, our defense really has to play well. And we've got to play a whole lot better offensively."

Q: Jasper Brinkley was not credited with a single tackle, only an assist, against Vandy. And he dropped a sure pick. Is he 100%?

A: "Yeah, Jasper did not have one of his best games against Vandy, and I don't know the exact reason. I know he's got some class here that he's missing some meetings. We're going to try to get that corrected if we can, but I don't know if we can or not. That's the only time they offer this class and that's when he's got to go. But that was not his best game, and we had a few other players that certainly didn't have their best games, and Vandy played very well, and we got beat."

Q: Has anything changed as far as Stephen Garcia goes? Is he in the quarterback mix at all?

A: "Well, Stephen, he's still learning the plays. We're coaching him all the time though. He gets a few reps here and there, and Monday night we usually let the young guys scrimmage a little bit. So, he'll get some scrimmage time in tomorrow night, he gets just about all of that. So he's getting a lot of coaching and whenever his chance comes hopefully he'll be ready."

Q: Is Brian Maddox going to get any snaps?

A: "We're going to try and get him more in the action too. And maybe even Eric Baker, they're both good backs. It's hard to play four running backs. So we've got to make some decisions, if Mike's banged up or not, to play those guys a little bit more."

Q: Are you discouraged your offense has not played better?

A: "Yeah. I'm discouraged that the offense has not played better, certainly I am. As far as changing what we've been doing, no, we don't feel like we need to do that. But we obviously need to do something a little differently so hopefully we can get that done."

Q: How would you assess the play of the offensive line?

A: "The offensive line has had a few leaks here and there, but as we all watch college football, all teams have some leaks nowadays. The defenses are so fast and quick and they stunt around. Quarterbacks, the really good ones nowadays, they get in that shotgun and they get it out somewhere, and they get hit. If you don't want to get hit, if you can't get it out of your hands, then you can't play anymore. You can't say, ‘Well, I'm going to get protection every time I'm back there', it just doesn't happen. So don't expect it to happen all the time... Most of the time we've had pretty decent protection, but when a guy gets loose or whatever, we're going down with sacks. We've got to have somewhere to throw it away. We've got to do a better job of coaching these guys to get it out of their hands somewhere and hopefully not to the opponent. That we've done too much of also. And the quarterbacks have got to run around down there too. It's virtually impossible to play with a quarterback who can't run a little bit. That's modern day football. It's a fast game as we know, and the quarterbacks need to have some mobility".

Q: What's your reaction to frustrated fans that are saying the game has passed you by?

A: "Well, the way we play offense you could say that. But you know there's a lot of teams sputtering right now offensively. Two years ago our offense was pretty good, but it ain't been very good lately, that's for sure... That's part of the game. If your team doesn't play well, then you're not a very good coach. I'm not a very good coach right now. That's just the way life is. When I had a bunch a guys running around scoring a bunch of points, I was a real good coach. Now, I don't have a bunch of guys running around scoring a whole lot of points so I'm not a very good coach, and that's just the way life is and I accept it. I have no problems with the complaints, I expect it. That's the way it is. It's no problem with me."


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