Spurrier, Gamecocks turn focus to Tennessee
On Monday night, the Gamecocks were back at work preparing for the talented Tennessee defense and their all-star safety, Eric Berry.
"Tennessee is ranked right behind Florida and Alabama in defense, in about all of the categories. Pass defense, run defense, total defense, so they're very good," said Spurrier following Monday's practice. "(Berry) is a big playmaker, last year he had a super year. And I guess he's having another super year."
Tennessee comes into the game against South Carolina having improved their play drastically over the past couple of weeks. After losing to Auburn on October 3rd, Tennessee pummeled Georgia by a score of 45-19, and suffered a narrow defeat against Alabama last weekend by a 12-10 margin.
Many people around college football are excited to see the first game Steve Spurrier coaches against Lane Kiffin. Kiffin has reminded some of a young Spurrier with his reputation for making bold comments in the press, and Spurrier was asked Monday if he believes he can outcoach the bold new head man in Knoxville.
Spurrier commented, "If I've got the best players, I'll outcoach everybody. Sometimes it comes down to the best players."
Against Vanderbilt this past weekend, the Gamecocks piled up yardage, but were unable to put a lot of points up on the board. However, Spurrier and the rest of his players know that points will be at a premium against Monte Kiffin's stout defensive unit.
"We struggled all night, we hit a couple of big plays fortunately," observed Spurrier about his team's win over the Commodores. "It was not a real pretty offense, we punted eight times. We had a lot of good fortune last Saturday, and we didn't play well overall. Fortunate we didn't have turnovers, that was the best thing we did, holding onto the ball."
Spurrier was also quick to put the Vanderbilt game in the past and look ahead to what may be one of the Gamecocks' biggest challenges yet this season.
"But that game's history and we're getting ready for Tennessee. It'll probably be the biggest crowd we play in front of all year, so our guys are hopefully excited to try and play our best one of the year."
- Spurrier said that tight end Weslye Saunders will be fine and ready to play this weekend as he continues to recover from an ankle injury that bothered him last week.
- Wide receiver Moe Brown is expected to be cleared to play on Wednesday, and Spurrier said that he hopes to have the senior speedster ready to go in Knoxville.
- Defensive end Cliff Matthews will play on Saturday, but will wear a protective neck roll to shield the stinger he suffered against Vandy.
- Offensive line coach Eric Wolford said that his starting lineup this weekend will be Jarriel King at Left Tackle, Lemuel Jeanpierre at Left Guard, Garrett Anderson at Center, T.J. Johnson at Right Guard and Hutch Eckerson at Right Tackle.
- Wide receiver Tori Gurley said, "we're going to be a force to be reckoned with" as players like him and Alshon Jeffery learn more of the offense. He also said that "once we get everything clicking, we're going to be a top 5 team."
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