Capital One Bowl Q&A with Steve Spurrier

December 8, 2011 

Steve Spurrier

FILE PHOTO

  • CAPITAL ONE BOWL WHO: South Carolina (10-2) vs. Nebraska (9-3) WHEN: Jan. 2, 1 p.m. WHERE: Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla. TV: ESPN LINE: USC by 1

A transcript of Steve Spurrier’s comments from Thursday’s Capital One Bowl media event in Orlando, Fla.

What does this mean for your program to be here?

We are honored, we're thrilled, we're excited to be in the Capital One Bowl, playing a Jan. 2 game, one of the big games of the year during the bowl season. Our team is looking forward to coming to Orlando and seeing all the Disney World attractions and so forth. I think this is the highest-rated bowl game in the history of our school. I know it's the biggest payout. So we're all fired up in Columbia, South Carolina.

What makes South Carolina and Nebraska an intriguing matchup?

Oh, I don't know how intriguing the game goes until you start playing. But their a very good team, always have been. Bo Pelini’s a defensive coach, always good on defense. Their offense, they play a little bit like we do with the zone read and the quarterback running the ball. I don't know what kind of game it's going to be. Sometimes you think you'll have a low-scoring one and it becomes high scoring. You just go play the game and see how it works out and try your best to find some ways to win it.

From the 1995 national championship game between Florida and Nebraska, Tom Osborne said he thought that fueled your team the next year. Would you agree?

Well we got a new defensive coordinator in Bobby Stoops. In fact, Bo Pelini was his coordinator I think one time there at Oklahoma. Yeah, that was a game that we ran into what coach Osborne said was the only team he ever coached that never had a close game. They were just strong, defensively, offensively, special teams. That was one of the probably top teams in college football history.

Coach Osborne also said he considered you a friendly rival. Do you share the same sentiment?

Oh, yeah. I have tremendous respect for Coach Osborne. I sort of think he retired too early. He could still be coaching, but he's the athletic director there now. Just a wonderful guy, well-respected by really every coach in the nation. I've always admired what he did at Nebraska. Not only was he the head coach, but he called the plays also. There's not many of us still trying to do that, but Coach Osborne called them I think every game he was there.

Has this been a satisfying season?

Yeah, we've had a wonderful year. We lost one close one we had a chance to win, but we won about four others that we could've lost. We have won our share of close games this year. That's why we're 10-2. Our field goal kicker has made some nice ones. We've won a couple of games by a field goal. Our defense and our offense have made plays at the right time to win the game. I think everyone knows if we're fortunate enough to win 11 games, that would be a first in the history of our school. So we're playing for history in the Capital One Bowl. We really have a lot to play for.

What do you think about Urban Meyer's move to Ohio State?

Well, obviously Coach Meyer was ready to get back in. A lot can happen in a year. It goes quickly. This opportunity at Ohio State, the state that he's from, came up. They wanted him and he was ready to get back in. I think he'll do very well as he's done everywhere he's been. Wish him the best. I don't think we'll be playing them. We might get them in a bowl game someday.

What do you think about the job Bo Pelini has done?

He's done an excellent job. I think he's one of the unluckiest coaches there has been. They had the chance to win the Big 12 conference championship game two years in a row. With Texas, Colt McCoy threw that pass out of bounds and they put a second back on and they kicked a field goal and it cost Nebraska the championship last year. Then the next year, last year, I think Oklahoma nipped them in a game that went back and forth that could've gone either way. He's done a super job there. He's a real strong ball coach, from Youngstown, Ohio. He and Bobby Stoops I think grew up together, all their brothers and so forth. He's from a football tradition family in Youngstown, Ohio.

Coach, Florida fans still love you around here. Is it nice or special to return to this state and not play the Gators and play in a more neutral game?

Yeah, it is. It is nice to come back to Orlando. I've got a lot of friends here, a lot of guys I went to college with, played football with some of them. I'm still playing golf with a lot of them from around here. So it's nice to come down here. I pull for the Gators all the time. Coach [Will] Muschamp and I before the season, our goal was to play each other at the end of the year for the Eastern Division. As it turned out, Georgia won all their games and won the Eastern Division. I thought at the time the victory by us might be good enough, but it wasn't. But the Gators had some growing pains I guess this year, but they should be strong in the future.

How does bringing your team to Florida and showcasing them help you in recruiting?

Well, it could help in recruiting. We've been able to sign a few players out of Florida over the past several years. We really believe that what we do best is recruit our state players and try to get the best we can out of the state of South Carolina, and then go into Georgia a lot. The city area of Atlanta, I think there's over 5 million people within 50 miles of Atlanta. So we hit that and then we work Florida a little bit. Obviously Florida, Florida State, South Florida, Central Florida, a lot of schools down here to compete with. We've got a program that we can sell now. I think we've got a chance to continue signing three to five players a year from this state.

Do you think two SEC teams should be in the national championship?

That's a good debate. Being in the SEC, I voted LSU and Alabama 1 and 2. But Oklahoma State beat a lot of good teams. They beat I think more teams in the top 25 than Alabama did. There's a lot of merit that they should get a shot. It's sort of unfortunate for them that the field goal they kicked at the end of that Iowa State game went right over the upright. I thought the referee might have called it good, but he called it no good and they lost the game. Sometimes that's how close it is whether or not you play for the national championship. That's just what happened.

Jadeveon Clowney was named SEC Freshman of the Year. Can you talk about the year he had?

That's sort of neat. We got the Freshman of the Year again. Marcus Lattimore got it last year. Yeah, Jadeveon had a good year, an excellent year. And we think he's going to get better. He probably only played about half the snaps through the course of the year. So we've got to get him in tip-top shape and ready to play maybe a whole game next year. He's had an excellent freshman year and he'll be ready to go down here in the Capital One Bowl.

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