South Carolina put a bow on its 2012 conference season with a 38-20 victory over Arkansas on Saturday afternoon. Here's a look at what the players and coaches from both sides had to say about the Gamecocks' (8-2, 6-2) victory.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
Head coach Steve Spurrier
Opening Statement It was good to beat Arkansas finally. I think the last time we beat them Bush was the president. It was four years ago, I know that. It's been a long time. They are not quite the team they have been in the past. They obviously have some issues, but it's still good to beat them. This was a game they had about as many yards as we did. Every time we made a drive in the first half, we had a touchdown out of it somehow. We were fortunate to get 21 points and then had to settle for a field goal in the first drive of the second half. DJ Swearinger got the pick and that seem to deflate Arkansas. We will enjoy this one though and get ready for Wofford, a team that has given us fits every time we play them. We need to beat those guys to try to get our ninth win and try to stay undefeated here at home.
On impact of DJ Swearinger's interception and penalty My reaction was `You can't do that,' but it didn't hurt us. The penalty didn't mean anything. So if you had a penalty that didn't mean anything, you can't get too upset about it. Obviously we don't like doing that and the first half our field position was horrible. We kick off, they were three and out and we started on our 1 ½ yard line. That doesn't make sense.
On 6-2 Record in SEC play We had some bumps in the road, but 6-2 isn't bad. We would really like to win that one next week. In the history of the school I don't think we have ever won seven home games. So we would win seven at home and that would be something to say `hey we did something that has never been done before.' There are still some opportunities out there for us. We'll see how it all plays out.
On Connor Shaw and the passing game Connor did O.K. He hit 14 of 22. His foot started bothering him a little bit there late, then it was time to get Dylan Thompson in there. Connor played well though. They covered pretty well at times I guess, but overall it was a good win for us we just didn't play super. As a coach, you'd like for your guys to really play well, and I don't think Coach Ward would say that we really played well. We played well enough to beat them, but we didn't really play well. Hopefully we can keep trying to get better.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward
On adjustments in the secondary I thought we did some different things, and I will probably be able to see them a little better on the film. But I guess at halftime, we decided to do something totally different than we did in the first half. Coming into this ball game, we played a lot of three deep and we maybe only did two or three plays of that this week. We played a lot of zone coverage.
On impact of DJ Swearinger We thought it could make a real impact if we put him in the nickel back position this week. When Arkansas had three receivers, we were going to put DJ in that nickel position. That's where we practiced him all week, and we thought he could make plays from that position.
South Carolina running back Kenny Miles
On how the defense performed We could have played better, we left some plays out there. I'm proud of the way we played, and we won the game. I think we played very well in the second half, but we have to make sure we can tackle and continue to get better.
South Carolina players
Running back Kenny Miles
How important the off week was for the team … I feel like the bye week gave everybody a chance to mourn about Marcus and really get time to go home, relax and get away from football for a little bit. A lot of guys went home. I went home to have that time away. Then when you come back, you are a lot more focused and ready to go.
Running game against Arkansas … I think it was all right. I don't think I did too great. There were a few plays were I felt like I could have broke but got tripped up. Things like that I feel like we got a lot of improvement as a whole, but I felt like, for me personally, I could have done a lot better.
Significance to seniors breaking the losing streak to Arkansas … It meant a whole lot. The last three years they have really taken control of us, and we haven't been able to get anything done against those guys. I think last year was a blowout and so was the year before that, so being able to come here and get it done today in front of our own crowd really meant a lot.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney
Sense of accomplishment going 4-0 at home and 6-2 in the SEC or does not clinching the East make that count a little less? … Both really. I feel as if we could have done a lot better and won the games we needed to go to the SEC Championship game. However we did set a goal to win all of our home games, and we have done that.
South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington
Stepping in and being a leader not only on defense but now with Marcus (Lattimore) being out being a leader on the team now … We have a lot of really good leaders on the team. Our seniors are all great leaders, and they really take the leadership role. I really just follow them and lead by example on the field.
Quarterback Connor Shaw
Do you think you played well and how efficient do you think the offense was? ... We had a good game plan coming in to today. Kenny (Miles) and Mike (Davis) did a good job running the ball and our receivers did a good job of catching the ball, getting open then making a play after the catch.
Did you see the tribute they did for Lattimore … Yes, I think they did a nice job for Marcus (Lattimore), and the crowd gave a nice standing ovation for him. It's different both physically and emotionally not having him out here, but you know a lot of guys had "21" written on them, and DJ got a game ball and said that this one is for 21 so that was big as well
Wide receiver Bruce Ellington
On his back-to-back 100-yard receiving games … They moved me to the outside, and I am running the seam routes that they want me to. Connor (Shaw) is just doing a good job getting me the ball.
What did you see on the 4th and 5 play? … I saw the safety stay underneath and then looked down field and saw the safety way up top, so I just sat in the hole. Connor (Shaw) was able to get me the ball, and I took it to the end zone.
Cornerback D.J. Swearinger
Describe the events of the two penalties, then the touchdown and then throwing the ball in the stands … The first two plays, that was just me playing football. On the hit, I really did try and turn my shoulders, so it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, but with the speed of the game I didn't quite get there. With the pick, it was more of a stress reliever and, you know, that was just having fun.
On changes in the secondary and having something to prove … [We] said all week we had something to prove. And we liked the move of having me at spur and nickel. The communication was good and it ended up working out pretty well today.
Arkansas head coach John L. Smith
Opening Statement I'd like to give South Carolina credit. They are an awful good football team, and they didn't make any mistakes during the game. We made a lot of mistakes. In the first half, we had some chances and made crucial mistakes. Then we came out [in the] second half and I think the pick-six was a big momentum changer that really hurt us. But I think our young guys played hard. They are going to learn a lot from this. I have to say, our guys stepped up. They continued; they stayed in there and battled.
We knew they would come out [in the] second half and try to run the ball on us, to run out the time on us. But I really think the kids played hard, particularly the young linebackers and defensive backs. On the offensive side of the ball, Jonathan [Williams] played well. He battled hard, as did [Keon] Hatcher. All the players really played hard. They continued to fight, and we as a team will continue to fight and remain together over these next two weeks. We will stay together, go on the practice field, and continue to work hard as [we] have done all season. We will continue to go to class and do the right things. They are going to finish this season out the right way. They have been mature and done everything we have asked.
Why did you kick the field goal in the third quarter? There was still around six minutes left in the third quarter, so I just wanted to get something positive. I felt like getting a positive thing, getting some points on the board was important to us. I just wanted to make sure we got the points. Driving down there and not getting any points out of it wouldn't help. I just wanted to get something positive and something that would help with momentum.
Connor Shaw scoring on that 4th and 5 just before halftime That was a big play as well. There were several big plays in the game for South Carolina. I look at this team's mistakes that we have to correct and continue to work on. We are learning as a team and will get better.
Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton … Another rough loss. We didn't finish as well as we wanted to, but we have Mississippi State next week and we just have to get ready for that game.
On the illegal formation … That's completely my fault. I didn't listen to the play call. I just lined up on the line, and the tight end was supposed to be on the line. It was just mental errors.
Defensive end Chris Smith … It's tough to watch. We tried to get some four-man pressure to help the secondary out, but South Carolina did a good job of taking advantage of it. In the end, I'm just glad we didn't put our heads down and quit playing.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson … I thought early, we came out and did a lot of good things. The illegal formation penalty really hurt us, and he had to end up punting. We end up going to score in the next couple of possessions, and that really gave us a good chance going into halftime. When we came back out from halftime, I ended up throwing a crucial pick that really hurt us. In the end, we ended up putting some points up on the board late in the game. We could've easily given in at that point, but we showed some fight and we kept competing.
On the presences Jadeveon Clowney … It makes you throw the ball a little earlier than you normally do. He makes you have to guess sometimes, but you still have to stand in there and throw it and compete. He did a good job, and he is a great player. We did everything we could to try and contain him, but he still finds a way to get through sometimes. You have to give him a lot of credit.
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