The Ol Ball Coach on 'Bama: Steve Spurrier Talks About the Tide
In his weekly press conference, South Carolina Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier talked about his team's upcoming game against the top-rated Alabama Crimson Tide.
The topics Spurrier hit upon during Tuesday's session included his quarterbacks, coaching in the SEC, Saban's recruiting classes, and why 'Bama's goal line defense is so tough.
South Carolina enters the game at 2-1. The team's sole loss is to Alabama's rival, Auburn.
This game will be played in Columbia, and it is the first of six consecutive opponents the Tide will face who are coming off bye weeks.
Kickoff will be at 2:30pm Central Time on CBS.
Is Alabama Simply Better Than The Rest Of The SEC?
"Maybe they're a little bit better than most everyone. They have big strong linemen that can really play on both sides of the ball. That's the first ingredient every coach looks for, guys that control the line of scrimmage. Other than that they've won the close games during this [two-plus season long win] streak also."
"I guess what's most impressive is that they've won so many games and they have some close games every now and then and manage to pull all those out."
"Their Auburn game last year was close for a while. They pulled that one out. The Arkansas game this year, Arkansas had a chance. They were in position. Alabama had turnovers in the fourth quarter and ran the ball well to win that game."
"They haven't steamrolled everyone. They have the ability to win close games throughout the entire stretch. Tennessee kicked a field goal to win last year and they blocked it. They've done everything necessary to win the game."
Why Is 'Bama's Goal Line D So Tough?
"I don't know exactly the answer for that except they were pretty tough around the one to two yard line."
"They get everyone in there, that's for sure. They cover pretty well if you're trying to throw as well. Sometimes against teams like this you don't want to get to the one-yard line. You want to get to the seven or eight (yard line). Sometimes it's easier to score from that distance."
"One thing I like about (offensive line coach) Shawn Elliott is he likes to stay spread out down there. That's what we've been doing and we've been a lot better running the ball in than we have in the past. Whether or not we can do it this week and if we get down there (we will see, but) we plan on getting down there."
"It will be interesting to see if they just play against us like they do everyone else."
Is Alabama's Recruiting The Best In The Nation?
"It's a testament to good coaching and good recruiting. They have really good athletes you start with and obviously they've don an excellent job recruiting."
"I read the other day one recruiting expert said Alabama and Florida are the two top recruiting schools in the country now. It used to be Southern California and Texas."
"If you watched Texas against Oklahoma last Saturday, athlete-wise I don't think Texas is close to Alabama now. I think Alabama's athletes compared to Texas's are a pretty huge difference in strength and speed and so forth."
South Carolina a Running Team? You're Kidding, Right?
"It's pretty important every time you play to have a strong running game, especially this week or any week."
"We also understand sometimes you can't just run up and down the field unless you can totally dominate the line of scrimmage. We always shoot for balance."
"We hopefully can take care of the ball, but we have to take our chances."
"We can't run three up the middle against Alabama. It won't happen. Nobody's done that against those guys. We have to mix it up, but we still have to run. We know that."
"Obviously you have to run (the quarterback) occasionally and both our quarterbacks are pretty good runners, but we must take care of the ball much better. We've lost three fumbles all year all by the same guy. That shouldn't be happening as often as it has. We hope to change it and time will tell."
Will 'Bama Suffer a Letdown After The Big Florida Win?
"I doubt it. We hope so but we doubt it. You don't sneak up on a team like Alabama with the tradition of that school, that coach and the success he's had in the past."
"That coaching staff is a veteran bunch of guys. They have the ability to go one game at a time and to not get full of themselves after wins. They have a track record that a big win does not affect them the next 'W'."
"They're real sound. Their conditioning is excellent also. Their strength and conditioning program is as good as anyone's in the country. Conditioning, blocking, tackling, playing smart (are things Alabama is good at)."
"They don't give opponents much of anything. I think their turnover margin is first in the conference. They have a bunch of interceptions. (They're) Just really playing real smart and don't give the opponents much at all."
Garcia and Shaw: Spurrier's Quarterback by Committee System Still In Place
"We'll see how the game goes. We want Stephen (Garcia) to play well and take care of the ball. Basically his fumbles have been the only problems. He's played pretty decently."
"Obviously he can't go in there blindly, get hit hard and fumble. We'll try to get that corrected and go from there. Connor (Shaw) is ready to play too. We're hoping and believing Stephen can take care of the ball a little bit better."
"(Shaw's interception against Auburn) was the only one bad play. As soon as he threw that I said, `Oh no.' But other than that he scrambled around, threw the ball, made plays, stood in the pocket and took hits. He played pretty well."
"Connor played well. We think he'll be a real great player. We don't know if he's quite ready yet, but we'll have to see how it goes."
"We hope Stephen (Garcia) will play up to his potential and take care of the ball, and Connor will take over when his time comes."
Coaching Against Saban, Winners, Losers, and Dummies As Coaches
"We (Saban and Spurrier) first coached against each other in 2000 to 2001. Those were two of the good offenses we had at Florida. We looked like we were a lot smarter than he was those two games."
"Recently he's a lot smarter than I was last year, lets put it that way."
"Who knows who'll be the smartest this year?"
"I read something interesting in the paper about the Ryder Cup teams. One writer said whoever wins the Ryder Cup, that captain will be considered between John Wooden and Vince Lombardi. The loser will be considered like an SEC football coach after a loss. That's just the way it is."
"As coaches we all know that."
"Of course sometimes you can win and still be a dummy. We've learned that recently. Anyway that's part of coaching we all accept."
"The winner is a smart guy and the loser is a guy looking for help somewhere."