Columbia, SC October 1, 2013:
Junior quarterback Dylan Thompson
On possibly starting against Kentucky
I think it’s the same scenario as always, I just have to be ready to play. Obviously I expect to play more this week given the circumstance, but we will see how it goes. As you all guys know, Connor (Shaw) is about as tough as they come as a football player, he’s going to work his butt off to get back as soon as he can. I’ve just got to be ready.
On getting in the game last
I think (UCF) played me a little bit differently than they would have him. They dropped some guys into coverage when I was there, especially in the first half, in the second half we had some really good plays called in the game so we started throwing the ball a little bit more, so they put physical guys in the box, but same thing as we always do, just be ready.
On executing scramble plays
Well I can’t run very well so that’s the precursor… Yeah, we were fortunate enough, I think Bruce (Ellington) and Damiere (Byrd) did a great job on kind of really similar plays. They both ran the flat area, weak side and I rolled that way and sure enough, both of them made great plays and we were able to get it out there.
Junior offensive guard A.J. Cann
On being comfortable with both quarterbacks
We feel comfortable with either quarterback in the game, we have to step up and take both of them at the same time, so it doesn’t matter who is in the game.
On having two Offensive Lineman of the Week honors
Yeah, that just goes to show how hard we’re trying to work these past couple of weeks and the off-season. For us to get two Offensive Lineman of the Week the past couple weeks, it feels pretty good, we’ll try and get some more.
Junior fullback Connor McLaurin
On choosing to walk-on at South Carolina
Well, I (knew) some recent players that I played high school ball with. I watched a couple of the games. I loved it down here. I told myself if I was going to walk-on, I wanted to walk-on in the best conference in the country and play against top competition and see what I could do. Also, the academics and the school are very good, and it’s just been a really thrilling experience, you know, starting from the bottom, trying to work your way up to earning respect from your coaches and teammates and fans and just try to do the best that you can.
On getting in the game
It was amazing. You know, every time you get the chance to go into a game, it’s just great. Guys like Mike (Davis) and the O-line, Dylan (Thompson) and Connor (Shaw) and you’re out there with them, you expect to play your best because you know they are. So just go out there and fill-in and help out towards a win.
On getting recognized in a position that usually doesn’t
It’s very honoring, I’m very honored. I just do the best I can everyday and try to help out the best I can, and it’s nice to get a little attention and get noticed, but you just have to keep going and pushing every week.
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS FOOTBALL TICKETS
Head Coach Steve Spurrier
We’re looking forward to playing Kentucky again; we play them every year, Eastern Division opponent. They have struggled a bit this year, got a new coach, Mark Stoops, who I think eventually is going to do an excellent job there at Kentucky. But they have struggled a bit offensively, their defense has played well most of the year, struggled occasionally, but they’ve been tough and they will come in here and give us all we can handle.
We’re fired up that it’s another sellout. We appreciate our fans buying the tickets and I want to say this, I can’t criticize our fans if they leave early, I can’t criticize, I appreciate you buying the ticket. I know sometimes I go to a ballgame here on campus and I leave before it’s over, too. Now, the students, I think they should stay. They’ve got nothing else to do all night, except party around, so they are going to be up half the night or all the night. So, students, sing the alma mater with us. But the other people, we appreciate you buying the ticket. You look at these stadiums all around the country, they’re not packed like ours. So, I really will tell our fans, keep buying our tickets, if you have to leave at the end of the third quarter, that’s okay, you’ve got little kids or something and you want to beat the crowd, I can understand that, I really can. So keep buying tickets, and be there at the beginning, keep yelling and screaming. It’s going to take that to help us beat Kentucky this week.
Most of our guys are healthy. Connor Shaw looks like he is going to be healthy now and play. I don’t know who will start yet, so we will wait on that. But other than that, most of our guys are healthy. Obviously we have a lot of improving to do, trying to hold leads, seemed like we struggled holding an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter and we are very, very fortunate to have won the last two ball games. Very fortunate that we are not sitting here in the dumps, because we could have lost the last two games. We were within an on-sides kick of losing it last week and Jimmy Legree made a nice pick on the 2-yard line, and maybe we could have lost that. We need to put teams away and keep them put away. We have a lot of coaching to do around here, it’s obvious we have a lot of coaching to do. This is a big game for us to see if we can be fundamentally sounder than what we’ve been this year – and look like a good team. At times we look like a very average, below-average team, offense, defense and special teams.
We aren’t sitting around here patting ourselves on the back, we’re very fortunate to be top-25, very fortunate to start the season in the top-10. Somebody asked me the other day, `How’d you guys get to be number seven in the country?’ and I said, `Because of Jadeveon Clowney’s hit was shown the whole off season.’ Every voter said he’s probably going to do that every play of the game, he’s going to disrupt every offense, nobody can do anything against South Carolina – it’s not a one-man game, it’s a team sport. Jadeveon (Clowney) is playing hard, he’s playing well. I think he’s playing very hard, he’s got about two guys blocking him all the time, in fact, they had about seven guys blocking and only sending three guys out last week, UCF. They get those three guys, someone’s wide open. So we’ve got some coaching to do, if we want to turn around this season. We’ve been on the verge of really blowing a couple games and we know that, and the coaches know that.
On where the Gamecocks are mentally
Well, we’ve had some down-to-the-wire games, so we’re actually going to lighten up on the guys during practice as far as not beating them into the ground too much. We are 3-1 right now, that’s where we are, we’re 3-1 and (No.) 13 in the country, which is flattering for the way we’ve played at times.
On tackling being a lost art
Well, it’s fundamentals, what you try and teach. We can try and tackle the dummy out there, the dummy sits there and you wrap-up the dummy, that’s what you do. A lot of our guys are still going high and then we’ve got guys just diving in there. They’re not fundamentally sound.
On Connor Shaw’s injury
The (athletic) trainer had him out two to three weeks, yesterday he threw a ball 60 yards. I don’t know, you need to ask the (athletic) trainer how he made such a miraculous recovery. It wasn’t 60, but it was about 55 I’d say.
Dylan is ready to play, and Dylan had a good practice last night, of course, we’ve all seen him play. Dylan didn’t throw particularly well the last game and he admitted that he can throw better than that, but he made some big scramble plays, he really did and he kept drives alive.
On Shaq Roland
Shaq’s out two more games, he’s got a three-game suspension, he’ll be back the Tennessee game.
On Connor Shaw’s potential for injury
He had that foot last year, but other than that, he’s a tough guy, a very tough guy. He must have been a lot of pain last week, because when he came off the field it looked like he’d be out for the season but now he’s in pretty good shape, so who knows the pain factor, you kind of have to guess at that.
On Mike Davis’ fumble
Well, it doesn’t waiver our confidence (in him), but it is something that shouldn’t happen, and it doesn’t happen to good teams. Stuff that has happened to us the last two games, doesn’t happen to good teams, well-coached teams.
On forcing four turnovers
We did have some good turnovers, we gave up some more (yards) than normally we do. But that’s what good defenses do, they get turnovers and hopefully, we will score defensively soon. But that was encouraging, we haven’t had that many this year.
On two Offensive Linemen of the Week for the SEC
That was pretty neat, A.J. Cann was the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week. Clayton Stadnik, will probably be back in the box, Cody Waldrop sprained an ankle this past week. So Clayton got in there and played well, he’s turning into a really good player for us.