GREENVILLE - South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, speaking at Fluor Field, the site of the second Gamecock Club FanFest tour stop, declared the upstate “Gamecock Territory.” It was the largest crowd yet, topping Myrtle Beach and Charlotte, N.C., in total attendance, despite bad weather in the area.
Q&A with Spurrier
Do you guys hope to exceed what you did last year or is that unrealistic?
We hope so. In any sport you try to do better than you did last year. We had a good year winning 11 games but we have still never won the SEC Championship. We hope to do it; do we have the team capable who knows?
Any word on Marcus Lattimore and how he is progressing?
Marcus will be fine. He is going to be 100 percent and ready to go. He may come back a little bigger and stronger than he was before.
How did he look the other day when he was running and started cutting?
I wasn’t there to watch him. The trainers said in the month of May that he would start doing some cutting and some agility work.
Does Connor seem more comfortable than you have seen him going into this season as the starter?
Connor is a good player. We talked with someone the other day that once Connor was the quarterback and Stephen was no longer on the team, he didn’t have to look over his shoulder and he was the guy. That may have helped him a little because a quarterback likes to know, "Hey, it’s my ball game and I am not going to get jerked out if I screw up early." Connor is a good player and we believe he is going to be a better passer this year.
How is he mentally? Does he seem to understand what you want him to do?
Hopefully, he doesn’t make crucial mistakes and that is what a quarterback can’t do. You can’t have a lot of real dumb plays that get you beat. He takes care of the ball and he can run. He is probably the best running quarterback I have ever coached.
Have you had any conversations with Dabo Swinney since his little dust up last fall?
Not about that, I saw him at the golf tournament the other day but no we didn’t talk about it. Dabo said what he felt like he had to say even though I didn’t say it. Todd Ellis is his best buddy. We call Todd Ellis his BFF.
Do you think that was his attempt to try and rally the troops after the third straight loss?
I don’t know but he won the game. When you win the game it doesn’t matter what you do that week. I had a little blow up last year in the middle of the season with a sports writer. Fortunately we won the game the next week and won a bunch more or I would have been the idiot.
Was that calculated?
Sometimes you do what you think you have to do. Whatever the consequences, if you win the game what you say was OK. If you lose the game, you are a dummy. It simple as that.
Coach, you made a joke a couple weeks ago about the Georgia game and how you were disappointed they moved it back because they always had a couple guys not being ready….
That wasn’t a joke - that was just a fact, it was a fact. One reason we beat them a couple years ago was A.J. Green, one of the best wide receivers in the country, was out for the game because of selling the jersey. I don’t know if that was right or wrong but a lot of us have guys suspended the first game or two. They have had a few suspended but heck, we could have had a couple but that was just a little light conversation in the offseason here.
What are your take on if a player is caught with marijuana suspending him for the next game versus suspending him for an easier game?
Well it depends on the school. Sometimes a school has to suspend a kid for marijuana but it is a big game that week then he may be under appeal and then the next week against a lesser team they may say he is out now. If that happens then I understand. We don’t do it that way but there is all kind of ways you can do that.
Remaining FanFest dates
May 10 - Augusta (Lady Antebellum Amphitheatre)
May 22 - Atlanta (Coolray Field, Gwinnett County)
May 23 - Darlington (Darlington Raceway)