Other Campuses: Spurrier keeping low key about Gamecocks attention

By The Gamecock

(CSTV U-WIRE) COLUMBIA, S.C. – Now only three days from kickoff, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says the national spotlight the Gamecocks find themselves in is nice, but premature.

Expectations among Carolina faithful are high, but Spurrier is not bragging about the team quite yet.

“I don’t like to compliment any of our team too much yet, because we haven’t played a game,” Spurrier said to the media Sunday. “We’re still a bunch of guys that all you picked 4-7.”

While not at an elite level yet, Spurrier thinks his team has the potential to be successful.

“They can play a lot better than they think they can,” Spurrier said. “They are content with not being quite as good as they should be. That is our job as coaches to push them to reach their potential. And I think we do have potentially excellent passers and receivers here.”

Spurrier’s track record should help the young Gamecocks build confidence. In the past three seasons, the Gamecocks played all three SEC East powerhouses close, but have an overall 0-9 record in those contests. Also, during the last three years, Carolina has been ranked in the top 25 at one point in the season, only to sputter at the end, winning only one game in November the last three years. This year, Spurrier said he hopes the team’s conditioning will help that.

“I think we will look like a team that has worked hard in the weight room and has done a lot of running,” Spurrier said. “I hope that we will play with discipline.”

Looking at national media predictions in 2005, one wouldn’t realize how impressive Spurrier’s credentials actually are. Spurrier is undefeated in the state of South Carolina since 1989. Also, Spurrier has compiled a 11-1 record against Georgia and 9-5 against Tennessee.

“He is a proven winner,” senior linebacker Orus Lambert said. “He has a lot to prove, and the team feeds into that.”

The players have also marveled at how hands-on Spurrier has been with his team. Senior tackle Na’Shan Goddard said Spurrier even eats with the bunch, frequently critiquing their food choices.

“I used to eat bad, but I eat healthily now. I had all brown on my plate. He was like, ‘You need to get color on there, get color on your plate.’ So from now, we get color on our plate.”

Spurrier also emphasized that the Thursday tradition of players receiving cakes and cookies from fans will not be continued.

– Michael Finnegan