South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier addressed the media on Sunday less than 24 hours after his team’s 16-13 loss to Auburn. The Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1) fell to No. 18 in the Associated Press poll and to No. 14 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll.
I think we came out of the game fairly healthy. Melvin Ingram sort of sprained his shoulder a little bit. Kelcy Quarles banged his up a little but I think they’ll be OK. Kyle Nunn, we’ll wait to later in the week to see if he can play or not. I’m not sure what the prognosis on that is. Hopefully we’ll lick our wounds today and we’ll get ready for Kentucky when we meet up with the team tomorrow afternoon and get this one behind us. See if we can’t learn from our mistakes and go from there.
If we have any changes in the lineup, maybe we’ll announce it Monday night or Tuesday, something like that. That’s where we are. A very interesting game. A play or two turns it either way. They seemed to make some big third downs at the end and we didn’t make hardly any the whole game.
Our defensive guys, Melvin Ingram had a sensational game. Antonio made a bunch of tackles, like he always does, and had an interception. Both of them got intercepts. Both of them played well. Ace Sanders caught all the punts, did a super job doing that. Bruce Ellington and Alshon ran very good routes. Bruce caught everything that came his way and Alshon caught pretty much everything that got to him. A lot of them didn’t quite get to him. We’ll regroup and realize that we lost one. We’ve won some close ones. We’re not going to be lucky enough to win all the close ones this year. We’ll try to get this offense playing a lot better.
How many two-tight end sets did you run last night? Is that something you’ll do more in the future with the running game struggling a little bit?
We struggled with two tight ends in there in the running game. We struggled without them in there. If you hit some third downs and hit some guys at times, we would have been OK. We had some mistakes on the intercepts, and so forth. It’s a combination of things. We’re not blocking very well. Not throwing real well. And not making some third downs. When you do that, you don’t have a very good offense.
The offense didn't run a play in Auburn territory until Lattimore’s touchdown run. Have you ever been in that situation before?
I did not realize that. We couldn’t get past midfield, could we? I think we started inside our on 12 six times, somebody said. It was certainly a field position game that we didn’t win very well at all. Seems like their kickoff guy could always kick it in the end zone and we would start on the 20. They would start on the 30 or so. Seems like they always got it by midfield. We couldn’t make them punt when they were in their own territory. It was a game played, unfortunately, on our end most of the time, and we couldn’t get towards there end.
What options are there with Stephen now?
That’s a good question. Again, if we have any changes, we’ll announce them Monday or Tuesday. OK? That’s just about all I can say. We’ve coached Stephen but he seems to play very similarly about every game.
Has Connor made progress in practice?
Connor and Dylan Thompson practice pretty well. We scrimmaged a little Monday night with the young guys. They’ve both done pretty well in the Monday night scrimmages.
A question about having so many turnovers.
That’s a good point. Even Marcus had a couple fumbles last night. One of them just happened to roll right back to Rokevious, who was laying on the ground. We had some good fortune there. Interceptions, one of them was certainly an ill-advised throw. The other one, the receiver kind of ran in there and stopped a little bit, or didn’t know he was coming, or whatever. We’re turning it over a little bit more and we’re not playing well. But we’re still 4-1. Everyone in the East has lost a game. We have to shake up the offense somehow. We’ll let you know what we’re going to do in the middle of the week.
Does the East seem wide open the rest of the way, especially with all the quarterback questions in the division?
It’s probably very wide open. It could be wide open on the Western side with LSU and Alabama. Those are the top two on that side right now, even though Arkansas had a big win yesterday. Although, as strong as LSU and Alabama look, it looks like whoever wins that game is the winner of the West over there. On our side, will probably be a two-loss winner or a three-loss. Maybe Georgia runs the table, or Tennessee. Who knows.
Who is directly in charge of calling the plays right now and do you need to revisit that?
I call the plays. I’ve been calling them. Our best way to win is to give it to Marcus. We didn’t run very well last night. We didn’t get much room. When we threw the ball, not a lot of good things were happening. We’ll look at some ball plays, try to figure out what we do best, and go from there.
Connor won the job during fall camp. While Stephen has struggled, what has Connor not shown you that would re-elevate him to the number one job?
That’s not a question I can answer. I don’t know the answer to that one. We felt like we were winning until last night. We were living through a lot of errors that Stephen would make during games, as you guys know. We were still, somehow, winning the games. We kept hoping and believing that maybe those errors would go away, but they don’t seem to go away. So, we have to figure out what we’re going to do. We’ll talk about it on Monday or Tuesday with you guys.
What have you seen out of Kentucky’s defense?
Kentucky has a very good defense. Florida ended up rushing for 400 yards and I think they had about three 70-yard runs. The runs, the guy would take off to the sidelines, stop, reverse field, then go about 60 yards. It wasn’t like they were just romping straight up and down the field. We’re going to have to run the ball, try to hit some passes, to move the ball against Kentucky. Their offense has struggled a bit this year. Hopefully our defense can have an outstanding game. They’re a tough team. They beat us last year and can beat us again, certainly.
The last two games, your team has had quite a few penalties after very few the first couple of games.
We tried to emphasize no careless penalties all week. I guess one offensive lineman had two false starts. Had two holding penalties by the offensive line again. Let’s see, what other were some careless ones? I guess those were the two biggest. We just keep emphasizing trying to play by the rules. Maybe simplify some things, if we can, then go from there.
After looking at the tape, how big of an impact did Kyle Nunn’s absence have and who will start this week if he can’t go?
We’ll either start Matulis or Cody Gibson if Kyle can’t play. He may not be able to play. He’s got some back problems. Maybe both of those guys will play a bit and go from there.
Are you concerned Nunn’s injury may linger?
Yeah. It could be a serious one, yeah. Or it may not be.
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