Mike Davis is angry. Nick Jones is worried everyone will think this is the same old South Carolina football team.
Steve Spurrier just wants them looking forward.
Thats why we have to be careful when we send players into the media room, the Gamecocks coach said Tuesday. This is a game where we just need to play football.
Thats not how it feels to South Carolinas players, Davis said as the players spoke for the first time since last weeks 41-30 loss to Georgia. The No. 13 Gamecocks (1-1) play Vanderbilt (1-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium.
I think we are all looking at it as a statement game, said Davis, a sophomore tailback who is fourth in the SEC in rushing with 132 yards per game. Everybody is angry, and we want to take it out on someone else. No one is chill. No one is laid back. No one is laughing about it. Some people took it as an embarrassment. We have a lot of people who are angry.
Instead of allowing their emotion to rise and fall based on outcomes, the Gamecocks should approach every game the same, with a desire to play as well as they possibly can, Spurrier said.
Every game we play is important, he said. We only play 12 regular season games a year. These guys lift weights, run and train year around, basically. I think they have one month a year off. We know how important they all are. We have to have some fun playing this game. The way you have fun is you play your assignment, play with a lot of effort and make some plays. Were going to see if we cant do that.
Were going to play all of them, hopefully, the best we can.
The Gamecocks dont think they did that against the No. 9 Bulldogs.
It was kind of humbling for us because everybody knows the hype we had, but all our goals are still out there, junior wide receiver Nick Jones said. Everybody thinks its the old, normal USC. We want to prove everybody wrong.
In a way, Jones wants to prove himself wrong.
I felt like this season was going to be the one for us. It still can be the one for us, but I really wanted to go undefeated this year because people always rule Carolina out, Jones said. They still are going to rule us out, but were going to prove them wrong.
The first chance to do that comes against a Commodore team that lost to Ole Miss 39-35 in the season-opener and then rebounded with a 38-3 win against Austin Peay.
As coaches, we all know you have to have the ability to forget what happened last week, whether its good or bad, Spurrier said. Move on and try to improve as the season goes. This team should improve with all the youngsters we have playing, especially on defense. They should improve. If we can coach worth a flip, well get better and better as we go.