Spurrier's Sunday teleconference: The Ball Coach on Clowney, Finebaum, and Shaq Roland

Wesley Hitt

In his weekly teleconference, Steve Spurrier sounded off on a number of topics, including Jadeveon Clowney, Paul Finebaum, and injuries suffered in Fayetteville.

On Ray Tanner's criticism of Paul Finebaum's comments about Jadeveon Clowney:

He felt like that's something he needed to say. And if I was the athletic director, I'd probably feel the same way. We're not professional athletes here in the college ranks, and I don't think you should talk about the college kids the way maybe you do about the pro athletes. It's certainly unmerited. Jadeveon Clowney's done so much for our university.

On Clowney's level of play against Arkansas:

Had a good game yesterday. Gosh, we only had 37 plays. I think he played 27 of them. But he was active. He was flying around. I think he was in on three tackles and made one unassisted. They were sorta running away from him, and I think they only attempted 13 passes. So he didn't have much of a chance yesterday. But he was flying around and doing everything we were asking him to do. And I really believe he's going to be that way the rest of the year.

On the status of Shaq Roland's suspsension:

Shaq Roland is cleared and back on the team. Yes, he has [been practicing during the suspension]... We don't worry about who's starting. The media, the fans seem to worry about who's starting. I'm not sure if he'll start, but he'll be ready to play.

On injuries suffered by Ronald Patrick and Skai Moore in the Arkansas game:

We came out of the game pretty much injury-free, I think. Ronald Patrick is probably a little bit more severe with a high ankle sprain than Skai Moore with a slight concussion. It was not a helmet-to-helmet. He sorta bumped into Phillip Dukes as Phillip was sprinting toward the ball carrier and sorta caught him upside the head with his hip area. So hopefully it was nothing more than a bonk on the head and not a real concussion, we're hoping. But we'll do all the tests and hold him out of practice for five days and make sure he's cleared to go... They're probably both listed as doubtful right now. As the week progresses, we'll see how they come around.

On potential replacements for Ronald Patrick at the right guard spot:

[If Patrick is unable to go] I'm not sure if it would be Na'Ty Rodgers, Brock Stadnik -- that would be something to have two brothers playing side-by-side. When was the last time that happened at South Carolina, does anybody know? Yeah, [the Lindsey twins] were on the field at the same time. Cody Waldrop could be back, we hope. He's nursing an ankle sprain. Cody could play some guard. There's a lot of possibilities there.

On the play of his quarterback and whether or not Connor Shaw should be getting more national recognition:

Connor Shaw had an exceptional game. When you look at his statistics on the year, they're pretty much fantastic with no interceptions, a whole buncha touchdown passes, and yards per attempt, and all that kinda stuff. He's got to be amongst the best in the country in pass efficiency. We are where we are because he's played well.

I think he's a little bit better passer than maybe he was his maybe his first year, second year. And of course last year he hurt his foot against Tennessee, which was of course the sixth or seventh game in there somehwere. He really was hurt a bit. He's very healthy now. He feels good... He's doing an excellent job of getting all he can and getting down and avoiding those big hits. But yeah, I'd say his passing has improved. And he's healthy, so he can run a little better also.

He certainly should [be getting more publicity]. I think it's up to you guys to maybe push his name out there a little bit. I mean, we can only do so much here. The biggest thing he's done is he's 22-4 as starter... and I think we're 36-10 since he got on campus.

On the play of the defense against Arkansas:

Good game for us yesterday, no question about it. We got our young guys in there at the end, but we couldn't line up. Arkansas did a little shift with a tight end and a wing guy, and our linebacker called for our guys to shift the other way. It was sorta sad watching it. So we got outflanked and they ran up and down the field a couple of times... But hopefully we can teach our guys to line up and use a little common sense. When they've got a whole bunch of guys on one side of the field, we've got to go with them and not the opposite side. Other than that, the defense played well. We had a bunch of three and outs, and which was certainly important...

Skai Moore did have an excellent game. He led the team in tackles with six, and we think he's developing into a really, really good linebacker.

Our defense has done a lot of good things here lately. I know we've looked bad here toward the end of the Vandy, Kentucky, and UCF games, but that's the only time we've really looked bad. So hopefully we can get that out of our system and just play consistently through the end of the game.

On the offense's performance against Arkansas:

Our offense played well pretty much the entire game with a few little boo-boos here and there. Had another fumble down there on the 10 or 12 yard line. And our punt return team kept pushing in the back about every time we punted. So hopefully we can correct some of our errors and get ready to play Tennessee this week.

Mike Davis had another excellent game. I wish we'd quit fumbling down there near the 10 or 12 yard line. But what happened there? I don't think Connor caught the snap cleanly. I think it might have been bobbled snap or bobbled handoff.  It could have been a combination on that fumble. Fortunately, that didn't come back to hurt us.

Mike can make some yards when nothing's there...We're hoping our receivers can block down field a little bit better than we did yesterday. The offensive line did open some nice holes -- some real nice holes yesterday. When you open a nice one, you have dreams that he can go all the way because he's already proven that he can go 75 and they can't catch him. So we've got to get our receivers blocking a little bit better than they did yesterday.

Shon Carson came in and had fifteen carries yesterday. He took care of the ball and ran pretty well. So Shon Carson had his best game, probably, as a Gamecock.

On whether or not the Gamecocks are optimistic about a return to Atlanta for something other than the Chick-fil-a bowl:

We've mentioned just briefly that we're still in the hunt for whatever we're in until we're not. We haven't given up hope, but we don't sit around talking about winning the East. We just try to talk about beating the next opponent. Sometimes you can look pretty foolish talking about SECs and things like that and end up losing three or four in a row. But we know where we are, and we know there's a chance if we can play pretty close to how we played this past week. This was by far our best game. Now, can we take that game to Knoxville? I don't know. If we can, that will give us hope that we can take it to the next game and the next game and so forth. But we do know teams can improve a whole bunch as the season progresses, and I hope that's going to happen to our team.

On the SEC East being up for grabs between four teams:

The East is maybe a little stronger than we used to be. Georgia did beat LSU, and LSU is maybe right there with Alabama and A&M and so forth. But we'll have to play it all out before the end of the year says whether the East is stronger than the West. But, as coaches, we don't worry about all that.

Finally, after a prolonged silence, Spurrier asked a question of his own:

Nobody's going to ask about me going back to Tennessee? We usually talk about that a little bit... It is a special thrill. When I was a kid, we used to go to Shields-Watkins Field and watch Tennessee play. So it is a special thrill.

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