Q&A: Paul Finebaum's SEC Network sitdown with Steve Spurrier
Steve Spurrier recently sat down with SEC Network analyst Paul Finebaum to talk 2014 season and his expectations for ninth-ranked South Carolina, winners of a nation-leading 18 straight games at home.
Here’s what the Gamecocks’ all-time winningest coach had to say prior to next week’s opener against Texas A&M:
You’re entering your 10th season at South Carolina, how are you a different coach than when you arrived?
“I’ve got better players and that makes me a better coach. I probably don’t get near as mad on the sideline as I used to … I found out that doesn’t do any good. When I wear the headpiece over the visor, there’s no way you can throw the visor.”
You’re a fierce competitor, but did you ever envision South Carolina could have three straight 11-win seasons?
“That would’ve been sort of foolish thing 10 years ago wouldn’t it … I got to South Carolina at the right time. The faculties needed upgraded and we’ve got some wealthy donors who are giving the money. They’ve never been asked before. So our facilities are right there with the best. We can recruit the best players in our state. They don’t all leave now.”
What are your biggest challenges following three 11-win seasons?
“I think our players are smart enough to know we’re not a super-duper team. We’ve recruited well, don’t get me wrong. If you go by the rankings, we’re about sixth or seventh in the SEC behind these other schools. Although, for whatever it means with the commitments, we’re like second in the country right now. We’re getting a lot of out of state guys which is interesting. A lot of kids want to come to South Carolina because we’re winning and graduating our guys. And they stay out of trouble.”
What kind of impact did Jadeveon Clowney being drafted No. 1 and winning make?
“Seems like all the kids that go to South Carolina love it. They support their football team. I know Alabama and Auburn and all those students support, but I’ll tell you what, at South Carolina it’s right there and just as big. We certainly don’t have the history and tradition as some of those other schools, but the last several years a home game at Williams-Brice will rival anybody in the SEC for atmosphere.”
At Florida, your goals were always SEC Championships followed by national championships. What are your goals at South Carolina?
“We still have (SEC Championship) goals, but I’ve learned at South Carolina there’s more to life than just the SEC. I had people when I first got there say, ‘Coach I don’t care if you win any, just beat Clemson.’ But our fans have changed, they’ve got educated on it being a 12, hopefully 13 or 14-game season, let’s get ready to do our best in every one of them.”