Gamecocks regroup: Spurrier says coaches must adjust defense

dcloninger@thestate.comSeptember 8, 2013 

Steve Spurrier didn’t kibitz or talk about the minor points of the game. He came onto his Sunday teleconference fresh from the film room and made it clear — South Carolina was bad Saturday, and the focus from here is to play a lot better.

“We got out-played and we got out-coached,” Spurrier said. “We’ll try to regroup and see if we can’t get better. We got some regrouping to do, there’s no question about it. We got to get back to basic fundamentals, and try to coach better, put our players in position and let them play.”

Spurrier watched the game film with all of his assistant coaches, and pointed out flaws in everybody’s plans, himself included. He blamed himself for the fourth-and-1 option pitch to Mike Davis that prevented a USC touchdown and stressed a need to get back to basics.

As for anything bigger on the plate, that wasn’t brought up. While USC has sat and watched Georgia overcome a loss to the Gamecocks to reach the SEC Championship Game the past two years, if there’s any hope of that reversing this year, USC isn’t talking about it. Not the way it played Saturday.

“We’re not into that,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re just sort of back down to Earth. We’re not a very good team right now. We don’t have to worry about any kind of divisions, SEC championships. We’re worried about going to a bowl game right now, that’s what we need to worry about, winning seven games, eight games, if we can. We need to try to beat Vandy this week.”

Spurrier didn’t go into details of how USC planned to readjust its defense, but he promised changes. “I can’t spill all the beans, tell Vandy what we’re going to try to do, but I will say we’re going to try to be fundamentally sound, and if we do that, we’ve got a chance,” he said. “If we don’t, then we have no chance.”

Vanderbilt (1-1, 0-1 SEC) comes to Columbia at 7 p.m. with the same record as USC. The Commodores lost to Ole Miss but thrashed Austin Peay 38-3 on Saturday.

Spurrier praised Vandy’s defense, saying it might be the best USC will face this year, and the Commodores’ offense, with wideout Jordan Matthews, is no slouch. While losing their first game hurt, the Commodores feel they can equal or top last season’s nine-win total, and beating USC when it’s down would be the springboard it needs.

But the Gamecocks are down, not out. Spurrier said that the Gamecocks’ focus is on letting the other teams have the attention.

USC just needs to play well.

“We let all that talk go to those other guys, right now,” he said. “We have zero conference wins, and the way we performed yesterday, it doesn’t look real pretty for us unless we change our ways around here.”

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