HBC hopes team is handling hype

jkendall@thestate.comAugust 22, 2013 

Steve Spurrier

TRACY GLANTZ — File photo

Steve Spurrier appeared before an enthusiastic and expectant crowd, live and on the radio airwaves, Thursday and urged caution, which has been his preseason theme.

“We’ll find out next Thursday night if we’ve handled it worth a toot or not,” Spurrier said.

“It” is the hype surrounding South Carolina’s 2013 season, which will start Thursday at 6 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium against North Carolina. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 6 in the country, their best preseason ranking in history.

South Carolina would not have cracked the preseason top 10 this year if not for a last-minute touchdown pass that beat Michigan in the Outback Bowl, Spurrier said at Wild Wings Café in The Vista, where he recorded his first “Carolina Calls” radio show of the season.

“That one play has got us in the top 10. I hope everybody knows that,” Spurrier said. “We will find out if we are any good or not come next Thursday night.”

During the show, Spurrier dropped in some minor news items, including the announcement that cornerback Victor Hampton will return punts for the Gamecocks. Mostly, though, Thursday night was about preaching to the choir.

One caller attempted to get Spurrier to talk about the second game of the season, an SEC matchup against rival Georgia on Sept. 7 in Sanford Stadium, but Spurrier declined to veer off his main talking point — the Tar Heels, harkening back to his days as the coach at Duke to illustrate his history with North Carolina.

“Let me tell you what I am thinking about right now, I am thinking about the North Carolina Tar Heels,” he said. “This is the one of the biggest games right now of my life coming up because it’s next. When it’s over, it’ll be one of the least important. Whoever is after that, I sort of know who is, but I don’t want to talk about them right now.”

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