Opening Statement Let me start by saying that a very, very talented team, very well coached, I have tremendous respect for Coach [Steve] Spurrier and what he's done in his career. I thought our defense played extremely well. I think they played good enough to win. They held [Marcus] Lattimore to 85 yards on 20 carries, they picked off [Stephen] Garcia four times. I think for the most part they contained Alshon Jeffery for most of the game, but he did make big plays at critical times, and I thought the touchdown on the screen play Lattimore had at the end of the half was a big play. Offensively, we got manhandled up front. Their athleticism up front was obvious. We struggled with that all night. We got way to many hits on our quarterback, Larry Smith. We've got to start protecting him, and we've got to protect the football. The other thing that showed up tonight, we've got to be able to run the ball consistently. We got a long ways to go, we got a lot of work to do, no different than what I've been saying each week and we faced a talented team tonight and it showed.
On not being able to get anything going in the third quarter It was no different than any of the other quarters. We've got to be able to play well for four quarters, and we've got to be consistent on offense. The same issues we have in the third quarter were the ones we had in the first quarter. We've got to be more consistent and we've got a long way to go, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The other area I think I want to speak up about is special teams, I think we've been playing solid all year long but we've got to make some big plays. We've got to block some kicks, we've got to return some kicks, we've got to do some things like that. We're going to have to find some ways to make plays and create momentum.
On conservative play calling It was no more conservative than it's been any other week. We got into a situation where we couldn't protect and we couldn't block in the running game. It's hard to call a game if you can't protect and you can't run the ball.
On South Carolina's defense's speed and strength It was a combination of both, that's a big, talented, physical defensive line. Clearly, clearly the best defensive line we've faced this year.
On the South Carolina defensive line They were very disruptive this game. They played very hard and were very intense throughout the game. They brought their "A"-game today. They are a gifted group that is very athletic, big, and powerful. They caused a lot of problems for our offense, and we could never really get in a groove.
On how to move forward from this We just need to put this behind us. We have a bye week coming up and that will help us move forward from this and prepare for our next opponent.
On South Carolina's play and what the team prepared for No, they did exactly what we expected them to do, we just didn't execute. We weren't moving our feet well enough. We weren't playing physical enough. We weren't playing hard enough and smart enough.
On being frustrated It was really frustrating. We were trying to stay positive and to keep having faith, and that's what we're going to keep doing. We are going to keep believing.
SOUTH CAROLINA QUOTES
Head Coach Steve Spurrier
Opening statement Our defense came to play tonight. That was by far our best game of the year. Basically had a shutout and really limited Vandy to not much at all. Obviously, our defense was the big reason we won the game. Our offense sputtered around most the game, had a bunch of penalties after some big plays here and there. Glad we had good defense tonight, because the offense did very little. A lot of bad plays, interceptions . . . Stephen (Garcia) had a tough night. Marcus (Lattimore) didn't get much, got 85 yards, had one big run. We hit the screen pass and hit that one jump ball. But we can't hit much right now. Got to have hopes we can hit something in the future. We'll see how it goes this week in practice and try to get some guys ready to play. I'm really disappointed in all of the downfield penalties, the holding penalties by the offensive line, receivers after some good gains. Really, really a poorly coached offense tonight out there representing the Gamecocks. Apologize to Gamecock fans for such a putrid offensive performance, but we won the game. And I'm really proud of our defensive team. They all played super. We had a good solid plan, and the guys executed it well. They had fun playing football tonight, so that was encouraging."
On whether there's a QB controversy We've never had a controversy. I'm not going to say anything about Stephen. Stephen is trying the best he can. That's all as a coach that you can ask a person to do. We came out throwing a bit early and hit a few here and there. He just missed a guy going down the middle, just didn't look for a guy. He's doing the best he can, and that's all we can ever say for any of our players. It was a tough night for Marcus too. They stuffed him up pretty dog gone good in there. He made some great two-yard runs. We didn't block very well; Coach Elliot is upset with his offensive line. I think Vandy's defensive line got the best of us. We couldn't knock them backwards a lick. It was two pretty good defenses playing, and 0-for-2 on fourth-and-inches. Fortunately, we had a great defense tonight.
On what defense worked on to make it so effective We gave Coach (Ellis) Johnson one (the game ball). I think we only had one bad call there at the end, and I think he just wanted to look at it to see what would happen. Other than that, we just played solid, sound defense, put the guys in position and let them play. They played well, tackled well. Vandy's not a great offense; we knew that coming in. But to hold them to five first downs and 77 yards, and that last pass was about 30. That was a super defensive game, no matter who we're playing. All the coaches had an excellent game plan. (Jadeveon) Clowney got a game ball. He caused the fumble that Antonio (Allen) scooped up and fumbled to Melvin (Ingram). Melvin made a nice recovery in the end zone, got his hands on it, did it the way we coach it up. That's why we do that fumble recovery drill. It paid off right there. A lot of times, guys dive on it and scoot it out of the end zone. If that were to have occurred, that would have been their ball on the 20-yard line. That was a huge play in the game, the way our offense was sputtering around. We'll regroup, see if we can get some ball plays ready for Auburn next week. We're winning and not playing at the top of our game. Hopefully, we have the top of our game. We still have some games to play to see if we can get to a high level of performance.
On Melvin Ingram Melvin was on the spot there, no question about it, on the fumble recovery. He seems to be around the ball. And Antonio was around the ball. Gee, those two guys combined for that play. It's sort of neat, because they're the ones making the plays all year.
On the third-down conversion differences I was amazed we made 10. I didn't feel like we made that many, but we did somehow or another. And one out of 14, that really helps our third-down conversion percentage. We were giving up 52 percent coming into this game. That's going to leap us into the top of the SEC in a bunch of defensive categories.
On Marcus's workload on the night He wasn't making a lot of yards when he was carrying. He did have 20 carries and just one touchdown. And he still averaged 3.8 (yards per carry) on a tough night with nowhere to go. They got the best of us up front.
Assistant Head Coach Ellis Johnson
On facing a more traditional offense The only one that has been more unconventional has been Navy. I thought our players were physical for the whole 60 minutes for the first time this year and they played with a little bit more confidence. I don't think that had anything to do with what Vanderbilt did or didn't run though.
On the defensive game plan I thought we did a good job with our plan and making sure we were sound against some of their more unorthodox formations. Some of the plays they run, you don't know what they're trying to do to you. They have done some really good things in their first three games that have given them some chunk plays, or what we call breakaways. I thought we had a good plan for that. Besides that we went with a lot of our base defense. When you get to a quarterback with four people effectively, it makes calling a game pretty simple.
Stephen Garcia - Senior - Quarterback
On if it was a frustrating win Not really. A win is a win. If we would have lost, than, yes, I would have been very frustrated. But a win is a win.
On if he had a problem connecting on deep passes It's a combination of things. The coverage's they are running, the defense is sticking with our guys. Sometimes protection is breaking down. Sometimes I under-throw it or over-throw it. It's just a combination of things really, and we will definitely figure it out.
Melvin Ingram - Senior - Defensive End
On if he is having fun this season I love football. God put it here, and I love to play so why not have fun while you do it.
On him having more TD's than the receivers I really don't dwell on that. I really feel like my touchdowns, are the entire defense's touchdowns. It's not just mine. I feel like if it weren't for my teammates, then I wouldn't have any of those touchdowns.
Jadeveon Clowney - Freshman - Defensive End
On if he is getting close to intercepting a ball I'm just holding my assignment. I've got quarterback, and I wanted to go for the pitch, but if the quarterback were to fake it and go up the field, it would be my fault. So I just have to hold my assignment.
On getting his first game ball I just play. I just play my best. If I get a game ball, then I get one. If I don't, I don't. If I play well, then that's all that matters.
Marcus Lattimore - Sophomore - Running Back
On the game tonight They did some good things up front. They did a lot of twists, things we haven't seen in the first three games. They weren't foreign to us, but it was a tough game with tough yards.
On if he's getting worn down Not at all. My body is fine after a couple days. I get good rest. I get in the hot tub and the cold tub then I'm ready on Saturday.
Alshon Jeffrey - Junior - Wide Receiver
On not being thrown the ball as much It's not frustrating to me because whatever play is called, we're going to run with it. I'll take a win any day. I'm a team player.
On reaching second place in South Carolina career receiving history tonight It's a great accomplishment. I'd like to thank my teammates and my coaches for helping me get here. I'm not big on that, I just care about the win.