The Big Spur provides a run-down of the best quotes from the post-game presser after last night's win over rival Clemson. A few thoughts on what our players and coaches had to say:
--As Spurrier noted, one of the stories of this game was that we managed to keep the chains moving despite Clemson stuffing conventional running plays. Spurrier did a great job of being patient and taking what he was given. When Clemson sold out to stop Mike Davis, Spurrier went to the QB draw and wildcat to get the ground yards we needed, with a few well-executed passing plays thrown in to keep the defense guessing. He didn't panic and start forcing the ball downfield every play, as we've seen him do sometimes. Great coaching job by Spurrier.
--Spurrier called Connor Shaw the best QB in school history. Obviously, there have been other guys who were more so prototypical QBs, but you have to give credit where credit is due. Shaw is our winningest QB. He won ball games for us with his measured style of play, and while he'll be remembered as a guy whose greatest strength was not putting the defense in bad situations, he did become a more dynamic player who could lead an elite offense by his senior year. I agree with Spurrier; to take nothing away from other great USC QBs, most of whom didn't play on teams with as much talent as this one, Connor has a great case for the title of greatest Gamecocks QB. He was the difference in this game, most likely. Made the plays when he needed to and didn't turn the ball over like Tajh Boyd.
--Spurrier sang Pharoh Cooper's praises. Kid's going to be exciting to watch over the next few years. Loved the wildcat wrinkle, particularly when it became apparent that the errant first pass was an aberration. I really liked how we lined up with Shaw at QB and then Shaw and Cooper switched places. Thought it made the formation harder to defend.
--Spurrier also praised the linebacking corps. While it was a weak point early in the season, and while Roderick McDowell did get his yards in this game, you have to like our future at the position. Skai Moore is going to have a great career here.
--Spurrier commented on how loud the fans were. Watching from home, it certainly looked like a great atmosphere, similar to last year's UGA game, which is the best Williams-Brice atmosphere I've experienced live. ESPN's coverage put us in a good light by showing the 2001 entrance, and the fans did their part. The atmosphere likely made an impression on recruits, both those watching from the stands, and those watching from home. Don't forget that no current high-school player has ever seen Clemson beat Carolina as an adolescent, and what was happening when the kids were 11 likely isn't as important to them. 2008 was a long time ago, 2003 even more so.
--Clowney on the freshmen linebackers: "I just told our freshmen linebackers that they've been coming along good this season and that they stepped up. They have played a big part in this game and did a good job. We had two interceptions from two freshmen. You don't get that a lot." You'll also notice that Spurrier said that Clowney encouraged him to give the game balls to the linebackers. Clowney has grown into a leader, and you can sense that he's passing the baton to the guys who will lead the defense next year.
--Clowney on coming to Carolina: "I could have gone anywhere in the country, and I chose to come to South Carolina. It's been the best decision of my life probably...I'm going to miss the crowd. There's no crowd in the country better than South Carolina. They cheered me on all season long when everyone was talking bad about me. The crowd had my back, and every time I came out on the field they cheered me on. I am every excited to be a part of this program." I'll just let that one speak for itself.
--A quick word on Dabo Swinney's comments: While I don't want to give him too much credit because heaven knows what he's saying on the recruiting trail, I'll give him a little credit for eating his humble pie. He took the blame for the loss and gave us the credit for the win. He also had some kind words to say about Shaw, and sought Shaw out on the field after the game to commend him. Good for Dabo.