Spurrier: 'If we kick it to Gurley, we're pretty stupid'
Steve Spurrier knows his 24th-ranked South Carolina football team is in for a fight with Georgia Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium, but he isn’t throwing in the towel just yet as a 6-point home underdog.
On his weekly Carolina Calls radio show with former Gamecock quarterback Todd Ellis on Thursday night, the HBC was complimentary of Mark Richt’s team and had his usual share of candid moments.
Here’s a few of Spurrier’s answers to Todd’s questions and remarks to local callers:
What kind of impact does starting field position make on the outcome of games?
Spurrier: “The last two games, it hasn’t mattered because the other team has only punted once or twice. I was kidding around, I told Shon Carson who dropped that kickoff (against East Carolina) that we’d have farther to go to eat up clock on that last drive. You never know. You never know how important field position is unless it’s a punting game. If nobody punts, field position is not that big a deal. If we kick it right down the middle to Todd Gurley, we’re pretty stupid.”
A win gives you No. 16 career over Georgia, the most for any coach. What does that mean?
Spurrier: “I tried to tell the media boys this week that during my years at Florida when we won 11 out of 12, we were favored 11 out of 12. We had a lot better players, a lot better team back in the 90s. Georgia wasn’t that strong from (1997) to about 2000. We just had a lot better teams than they did. We’ve done (okay) here with 4 out of 9. We’ve had a lot of good close games with them. Our guys are going to be ready to play. We know Georgia’s going to be ready to play. As we know in sports, anything can happen and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
What has changed with (defensive coordinator) Lorenzo Ward’s approach, if anything, this week?
Spurrier: “(Mark) Richt’s been there since 2001 and they’ve been basically doing the same offense over the years. Georgia does it well. Aaron Murray of course was their all-time leading passer. We’ve got to stop the pass as well as the run, we know that. We’re going to try our best to slow down their running backs.”
If the Gamecocks stop the run, will the defensive front seven get pressure?
Spurrier: “That’s exactly what our plan is every week. Every defensive team wants to stop the run, bring pressure and stop the pass. Our plan hasn’t worked too well lately, but we’re not giving up on it. Our players can play a lot better better than they’ve played.”
On Georgia senior quarterback Hutson Mason:
Spurrier: “I don’t know a lot about him, but I think he hit about 66 percent the last game they played. It’s always interesting in America, you’re as good as your last game. Georgia’s No. 1 in the nation in some of these sports writers’ minds after the way they clobbered Clemson two weeks ago. We were pretty terrible two weeks ago, but now we’re sort of semi … we’re 1-1. Hopefully we’re headed in the right direction.”
On Dylan Thompson’s up-and-down start through the first two games:
Spurrier: “He threw a couple high ones that he wished he’d thrown a little lower. Overall, he’s played pretty well and thrown a lot of good ones in there. Sometimes, we’re going to have to punt. I believe he’s going to play even better as we go through (the season). He’s obviously our best quarterback and we believe he’s going to have a really good game this week.”
How important is a hot start in the first quarter with the home crowd?
Spurrier: “We’ve played well here at home, except for the opener. Who knows why … we just flat got clobbered. Georgia will be fired up. They’ve got a new defensive coach and they’re team’s playing harder than they have in the pass. If we’re going to match up with them, we’ve got to bring our best effort this week.”
How much does weather factor into the game plan on Saturday?
Spurrier: “All my years of coaching, we’ve never, ever soaked the football and practiced with them and that kind of stuff. We’ve tried to keep the balls as dry as possible and to be extra careful when you’re holding onto to it. There’s a 40 percent chance of rain in the second half or something like that. That’s where we are right now.”
On Georgia, South Carolina having similar team strengths, notably at linebacker:
Spurrier: “The first two games it hasn’t appeared that way. We’ve got to hope our guys can do much better. All of our linebackers need to play better. This year, those guys aren’t quite playing as well, but we believe they’re capable.”
On redshirt freshman RB David Williams and whether he’ll get more carries:
“David’s doing well. David’s currently like the third running back behind Mike (Davis) and Brandon (Wilds). Both those guys might want to go pro after this year, so David could be the guy next year and he understands all that. When you go to a football program that’s been successful, sometimes you have to wait your turn. David’s done a good job with that.”