Spurrier: "We've Had Lots of Chances, We Just Don't Hit 'Em"

2:44 PM, Nov 6, 2007   |    comments
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(Columbia) -- A calm and collected Coach Steve Spurrier led his weekly news conference Tuesday, accepting his Gamecocks' streak of three losses as he looked ahead to the two biggest football games of the season: Florida and Clemson. Though a younger coach may wear his frustration on his sleeve, the weathered Head Ball Coach that is Steve Spurrier masked it well. Armed with one liners and his classic smile, Spurrier sat down and gave the sports writers what they wanted. "Hopefully, we'll play a little bit better than we did last Saturday night," Spurrier said, eluding to Saturday's matchup against defending National Champions, the Florida Gators. "It would be nice to pull of a win [against Florida]," said Spurrier, "We need to righten our ship." The rivalry added an emotional component to the series when Spurrier returned to the SEC in 2005. That season, he beat his alma mater, something the Gamecocks had failed to do since 1939. It was a streak of losses that loomed over the Gamecocks for decades. In 2006, the game was decided by two blocked kicks, when Florida's special teams secured the Gators' one point victory. This year, Spurrier is looking to take back the rivalry. "Let's see if we can't get back in the win column," Spurrier said, "We're sort of a fifty-fifty team right now." Spurrier said he wants his team to improve, but mainly at the most basic aspects of the game. "Blocking and tackling is my concern," Spurrier said on the two parts of his team he sees needs the most improvement. On the offensive side, Spurrier said there are a number of players he is looking at to play right and left guard. On the other side of the ball, Spurrier suggested another weakness that the Gamecocks are not accustomed to having exploited. "We were first in the conference on [stopping] third down [conversions] until last week," Spurrier said. Emanuel Cook, the defense's leading tackler walked away from the Arkansas game injured. Last year, the currently injured Jasper Brinkley, led the team in tackles. Brinkley, USC's only player to make the All-SEC team in the preason, was sidelined after a season-ending injury in Baton Rouge against LSU. "We had one guy picked for the All-SEC Team in the preseason," an honest Spurrier bluntly stated, "and he's not playing right now." Either way, Arkansas was able to tack on 514 yards of rushing against the struggling defense. "I don't know if Arkansas is that great of a running team, or we're that bad," the coach said. "We'll try to do well Saturday night," a tired Spurrier said. But Spurrier looked ahead to next season, and says his team has promise. "We have a lot of players here we believe are going to be outstanding players," Spurrier said. He reminded the media that his Top 10 recruiting team happened last year, not three years ago. The coach sees promise in freshman receiver Dion Lecorn, a recruit from Spurrier's lauded class last year. "He had an excellent game," Spurrier said, noting the wideout's good catches. "He was running great routes," Spurrier said, "He proved he can play." The coach said what he liked most about Lecorn was his promise. "He's coachable: you tell him something, and he tries to do it," Spurrier said. "Sometimes it takes the real games to figure it out." As for the rest of the team, Spurrier had this piece of advice for them: "Play the best you can every play, and let the score settle it." Carolina kicks off against Florida in Williams-Brice at 7:45 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.

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