South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier News Conference Comments
"Good to be here. Were fired up, thrilled about being at the Outback Bowl. I think our school has been to four January 1 bowl games and three of them have been the Outback Bowl. We were in the Capital One in Orlando last year. This is one of the best bowls in the country as we all know Jim McVay and his staff do a super job It seems like I know most all of these people and its a lot of fun always getting with them. Outback, the title sponsor, 17 or 18 straight years now, the longest running sponsorship from the same company. Thats pretty neat the relationship the people here have with the Outback corporation. We enjoyed the food; we just left a luncheon over there that Outback catered for us a few minutes ago. Facilities have been wonderful over at Jefferson High School and the Hyatt hotel, so everythings first class. Now all weve got to do is play some football on Tuesday, play as well as we can.
Weve had some decent practices. The guys have practiced pretty well the last couple of days. Hopefully well play one of our best games of the year. Michigan is an excellent team. Obviously theyve lost a few to really good teams, and theyll be ready to play. They have a history of playing well in bowl games. Our history is so-so, not all that super. But when the ball is kicked off its our guys against their guys. It doesnt matter, SEC, Big 10, ACC, it doesnt matter. Eleven guys out there playing against the other eleven. In all likelihood the team that plays the best will win unless for some reason theres big fumbles or big turnovers that would cause a team to lose. Were looking forward to an exciting, close game with Michigan. We plan thats the way its going to be, so theres a good chance it will turn out that way."
On South Carolinas quarterback situation:
"Connor Shaw has been our quarterback most of the year and Dylan played the last game against Clemson. Dylan actually had started and played about the entire game against East Carolina early in the year, our third game of the season. He played well, played very well against Clemson. We just feel like he deserves a chance to play also. Connors foot is 100 percent well and hes ready to go. I dont know how its going to play out. I told someone the other day I dont know which quarterback will play most of the game. I hope it doesnt turn into one of those, Well you messed up, you go in, well if you messed up, you go back in. Im hoping its not going to turn into that. We just really believe both these guys deserve a chance to play and the guy that plays the best continues playing. I dont know how else to do it right now except that way. Again, we plan on one guy playing most of the game."
On handling Michigans quarterback situation:
"Our defensive coaches feel like we need to be prepared for both of them. Be prepared for the run, the pass. They both can pass, they both can run. You just go play your assignment, play the best you can. We know Denard (Robinson) is an excellent runner. That run he made against Ohio State was really impressive, when both those guys hit him and just bounced off and he went for a touchdown. Youve got to wrap up and just do the best you can."
On the differences between his teams at South Carolina and Florida:
"The way we do offense, when I coached at Florida we had really good passers and offensive linemen to pass block and receivers. We came out and started firing usually the first play through the end of the half or sometimes the end of the third quarter. If we had a pretty good lead we would run a little bit more then. But thats not what we do best here at South Carolina. Were more successful when we run more than we pass."
On wide receiver Bruce Ellington:
"Hes just constantly gotten better, from one year to this year, as a receiver. He did invest some time in the summer working out with Connor and Dylan. Its just a natural process. Hes a tremendous athlete. Hes fast, he can cut, he can run with the ball. So its just a matter of time of him improving the way he has. He had a big game, certainly, against Clemson."
On the health of tailback Kenny Miles:
"Kenny was running around well the last couple of days. Kenny should be fine. Mike Davis and Shon Carson are ready to play some also. So weve got three ready to go. We should not have to put Bruce back there to run the ball like we did the last game. He was the last healthy guy to play running back. We have three ready to go this game."
On what keeps him on the sideline coaching:
"I think what keeps most coaches going a long time is they dont get fired or run off. I havent gotten fired or run off. Weve been doing pretty well. The first five years at South Carolina we only won seven games per year. We won 35 and it was a struggle, but we got our facilities improved. We signed Marcus Lattimore and then Clowney and a bunch of other good players. We got some new coaches too that I think are really good assistant coaches. Right now weve averaged 10 wins the last three years. Lifes pretty good as a coach when you win. Ive got my son coaching; Ive got another son as a graduate assistant. A lot of my family lives up there in Columbia. Its just sort of a nice, comfortable place to be. Health-wise, I think Im as healthy as I was 20 years ago. All I do, when I watch all the coaches that are finished, they usually get fired. Barry Alvarez, every time I see him I say, Im going to do what you do. When I end my coaching Im not going to get fired. If it starts going bad, Ill resign or something. One of my goals is not to be a fired coach and not to take money for doing nothing. When I go out Im going to go out. Thats just important to me, not real smart probably, but its just something I think you should do."
On South Carolinas offensive strategy:
"We have to run. Were not good enough to throw 40 times, although we did last game, didnt we. I dont know how its going to play out. We plan to run more than we throw, that means you dont get way behind. Hopefully we wont get way behind early and have to throw."
On the challenge Michigans defense poses:
"Theyve been very good against the pass obviously, being second in the nation. But theyve been pretty good against the run too. I really havent watched a lot of their offense since Im still trying to call the plays and run the offense and so forth. Most thing all coaches worry about is just hope theres not a lot of fluky turnovers, theres not a fumble back on your own one yard line and stuff like that. Take care of the ball, lets go play and see what happens."
On the improvement of the punting and kicking game:
"It was neat to do some good stuff special team wise. We hadnt done much, since I had been there, really, on special teams. Ace had a big punt return against Missouri that helped break that one open, and against Georgia ran one all the way back, and then broke one a little bit last game against Clemson. I think we messed up and didnt score on that one. Weve helped our field position a bit with kickoff returns, not all the way, but sometimes to the 30 or so. Joe Robinson is an excellent special team coach. He does a super job with those guys."
On playing to finish the season with 11 wins and how it can impact the program:
"Its very similar to last year. Last year we were 10-2 and played Nebraska. This year were 10-2 and playing Michigan, two of the top football programs historically in the country. Of course Michigan has won more games than any school and I think Nebraska was number five or seven in total wins, Im not sure which. Were playing two of the all-time winningest programs and going for 11 wins and well see if we can do it. I dont know if we can, but well try our best to see if we can get number 11."