Sumter Gamecock Club Report

South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier spoke at the annual Sumter County Gamecock Club spring meeting on Wednesday night at the USC-Sumter campus. Spurrier was joined by former men's basketball assistant and new Director of Player Development, Cypheus Bunton, and women's basketball assistant coach Lisa Boyer.

Spurrier spoke on last season, new Gamecock recruits, and some returning players.

"If we had won the bowl game, it would have been a good year." Spurrier said. "We were really lousy in the bowl game. I thought our team was ready, but we were obviously not. UConn out-disciplined us, out-hustled us, and out-worked us. We gotta figure out why it happened and not do it again. The guys that don't want to play we got to send them on down the road and let them go play for somebody else, quit, or do whatever they want to do"

The biggest highlight of the 2009 season was its 6-1 home record, including wins over Ole Miss and Clemson.

"We got a home-field advantage now." Spurrier said of playing inside Williams-Brice Stadium. "Shepard Smith of Fox News, an Ole Miss graduate, said that Williams-Brice Stadium was the loudest SEC stadium that he had ever been in and he'd been to all of them. That's a credit to our fans."

Spurrier was also pleased with how his team played in the season finale against arch-rival Clemson.

"We played pretty well. They didn't play well. They had some crucial turnovers that we got, but our defense played super holding CJ Spiller."

Despite losing to UConn in the bowl game, Spurrier was happy with the 2010 recruiting class.

"We had a good recruiting class. We had two guys from South Carolina that were Parade All-Americans; Marcus Lattimore and Kelcy Quarles. That's two years in a row I thought the best players in South Carolina came to us; Stephon Gilmore and Alshon Jeffrey the year before.

"We also got some good offensive lineman; AJ Cann from Bamberg-Ehrhardt, and Ronald Patrick and Tramell Williams from down in Florida."

Spurrier thinks that wide receiver Ace Sanders from Florida will remind Gamecock fans of a former receiver.

"Ace Sanders is a lot like Kenny McKinley. We think he's got a chance to help us."

The freshman who has already made the biggest impact inside the program is quarterback Connor Shaw from Georgia.

"Connor Shaw was an All-State Quarterback. If (Stephen) Garcia starts moving backwards and taking those sacks, we got someone we can put in there."

Despite Shaw's performance throughout the spring, Spurrier is still counting on Garcia to be his man.

"If Garcia will have a really good summer learning to get rid of the ball and learning how to take care of the ball better he has a lot of ability. A lot of times he reverts back to high school, which was just take off and run it. It doesn't work that way. Hopefully Stephen Garcia will be our quarterback. That's what we're hoping. We'll see how it works out."

While many have pegged the Gamecocks as the team that can knock off Florida in the SEC East next season, Spurrier does not necessarily agree with that.

"I was on the radio talk show in Atlanta (following the Chick-fil-A Challenge) and they said that a lot of guys say yall will compete for the SEC this year. I said ‘why's that? Did yall see us in the Papa John's Bowl? Don't start talking good about our guys until we prove it.'"

Spurrier does believe that if the offense and special teams plays up to the caliber of the defense, they just might be able to contend for the East.

"Our defense played good last year. Didn't have many turnovers though. Only had one defensive touchdown in the game against Georgia. Finished third in the conference in total defense behind Alabama and Florida. If our offense picks it up and we get some big plays on special teams we could contend for the SEC."

Other notes on returning players from Spurrier

Offense

Alshon Jeffery – Made freshman All-American. Hopefully he's going to have a good year.

D.L. Moore – Came on in Spring practice. Runs some routes maybe better than any receiver on the team. D.L. may be one of our starters with Jeffery and Tori Gurley. Tori and Alshon have been playing different positions so they'll be on the field at the same time.

Kenny Miles – Averaged over 5 yard a carry. Our running game was lousy because we had all those sacks. I really think he and Marcus will give us two guys that can really make people miss and improve our running game.

Patrick DiMarco – Has been moved to tight end as well as fullback. He's going to play both of them. Voted captain by his teammates again, and we gotta put him on the field more.

Defense

Cliff Matthews – He was actually projected higher than any of our guys drafted (3rd round). Cliff is one of my favorite players. He does everything the coaches ask him. He hustles more than any guy on the team. In practice, when the quarterback throws it the other way, he will rush around the quarterback and you'll see him enter the film chasing down the wide receiver.

DeVonte Holloman - who had the big interception against Clemson will be back in the secondary.

Ladi Ajiboye and Travis Robertson give us two big guys in the middle.

Coach Johnson – some say he's the best defensive coach in the country, and I agree. We signed him up for 4 more years. Got him a deal he deserves.

Spencer Lanning – hit 17 out of 20 field goals. I think one was a bad snap and one was partially deflected, so he really only missed 1 field goal. He's one of the best players in the weight room. We started to put him in on kick-offs just so he could go and make a tackle.

Stephon Gilmore is going to be our punt return man. I don't know who's going to be our kick-off return man. Ace Sanders may get some returns.



Notes from women's basketball assistant coach Lisa Boyer

November 18th – home game against Clemson

Women's team won the Community Service Award

Three graduating seniors – Lauren "Cocoa" Falohun is forgoing her final year, but Valerie Nainima and Courtney Newton will return.

Schedule includes games with Games with North Carolina, Penn St, Stanford, home opener against Xavier

Recruits:

Brittany Webb from New York (6'4)

Markeshia Grant - JUCO All-American

Kayla Brewer – She will enter college 6 hours short of being a Junior.



Notes from Director of Player Development Cypheus Bunton

No longer assistant coach, Director of Player Development.

Replaced by Orlando Early, former coach of Louisiana-Monroe. The staff is familiar with Coach Early from coaching against ULM when Coach Horn was at Western Kentucky.

Today was first day of finals. All 5 seniors are on track to graduate.

Downey is getting ready for the draft. Been working out some in Indianapolis.

Archie is rehabbing his knee. It is going well. Plans are to get his knee healthy and see if he can get on an NBA roster.

Malik Cooke is going to be a great addition next season.

The players are working hard in the weight room and will be noticeably stronger next year.

Six recruits coming in, four from South Carolina. South Carolina recruits are; Bruce Ellington, RJ Slawson, Eric Smith, and the latest addition, Carlton Geathers. Geathers is 6-10/6-11 and 250 pounds.

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