Oct. 24, 2009
Head Coach Bobby Johnson
It was a very close game, very hard fought. I was proud of our players in coming down here in a tough situation and playing very well. We had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter, which is the opportunity we wanted, but we just did not make it happen in that last drive. Give credit to South Carolina. They did some good things and [made] passes when they had to. That was the difference in the game as far as our defense is concerned. But I thought that they played well, played hard and got after it very well.
On the matchup with South Carolina
You never know, and to tell you the truth, we have never played against some of those receivers they have out there and that offensive line. We felt like we could run the ball against them, and we needed to do that and keep the ball away from them. Some of the stuff we wanted to do worked and some of it didn't, and that is pretty much the story of every ball game.
On Punter Brett Upson
He did a great job, and we did a great job covering. We knocked it back [inside the 1-yard line] one time that put them in a tough situation. We let them get out of one situation, and that led to the final touchdown. We had them on the 3-yard line or whatever, and they ended up scoring on that drive.
On South Carolina's receivers
They have a good group, a big physical group. I have seen them on film but have never seen them in person. They have capabilities that smaller receivers don't have. They have a good group of receivers.
On the outcome of the game
We could have won. It was hard fought. They played well; we played well. We got the ball down to the 25-yard line or so with two minutes to go in the game and a first down, so we thought we had a pretty good chance to win.
On special teams playing a big role in the game
Special teams is always huge, the big games are won. Special teams makes or breaks those games. Field position is the key to close games like this.
Turning the game into a good year personally
I had a rough first game and an average games against LSU, and ever since then I've focused on the smaller things at practice to make myself better so that I can help our team out.
On South Carolina's 99-yard drive in fourth quarter
We can't give up the big play. We had them pinned and where we wanted them. But I give all the credit to the Carolina receiver who had a good play on the ball. We know better than that as a defense and that really hurt us.
On the pressure they put on Garcia
It was good enough. We could have started a little earlier. We were worried about their screens and their draw sets because they know we are a pressure defense so we kind of tried to play into their draws. They never really got those off so we reverted back to our old pressure and started to put some good pressure on them.
Matching up well with South Carolina
We are real familiar with each other as programs and as teams. I feel like we match up fairly well, but I feel like we had the advantage in bringing the pressure on the quarterback and things like that but it just didn't work out our way.
On losing the lead in the fourth quarter
We need to learn how to finish games. We had them pushed back a couple times but let them go and get big plays. We have to eliminate the big plays because that is what hurt us tonight.
Thoughts on South Carolina quarterback Garcia
We did a good job against him, but those couple big plays really hurt us. If we could have stopped the big plays it would have been a whole different ball game.
We should have won. We came in with a good game plan and practiced hard this week. We came in feeling good, started the game with some intensity but we just couldn't finish it.
Head Coach Steve Spurrier
Our defense played well we just didn't get any turnovers. Their punter was really good. I'm proud of the guys. We outscored them in the second half. It was a good win for us. It wasn't pretty, but it was a tough team. It was a good victory for us, and we're proud of our players. We didn't play great, but we won the game.
Tori (Gurley) made a heck of a catch. In fact, we gave Tori the game ball. That was a good catch in the midfield and of course Alshon's (Jeffery) catch, that was one of the best plays we've had this year. Stephen (Garcia) hit him perfectly on a third and long, and that ended up being a big play.
Vanderbilt had a lot of yards, but they didn't get a lot of points. Neither team had a turnover. When was the last time you saw a game like that? It was a lot of punting, and (Spencer) Lanning punted well.
On Cliff Matthews' injury
He got a little stinger, but he seemed to be ok in the locker room, which is good news.
On Vanderbilt's kick off return
I don't think we've had anyone run all the way back since I've been here, and we've had two this year. So we have to work on that.
On Alshon Jeffery
What I like about Alshon is that he'll come over and suggest plays. Sidney (Rice) used to do that. Alshon has a feel for the game. He knows the offense very well now.
We had to punt eight times, I feel like we were getting stuffed and stuffed and struggled making fourth downs. We had 70 plays, and they had 71. We had some big passes, and they didn't. That's probably the difference right there.
We've won five conference games at home in a row. I like that. We got six wins, and we're bowl eligible. That's the best thing about the win. We're very fortunate.
On the Offense’s performance
I think we did all right. There were a few plays I wish we had back. We have to play much better to beat Tennessee, though. We have to play a lot better.
On Vanderbilt’s performance
They’re a very disciplined team. They fight hard until the end, and we knew that going in. But a win is a win, and we’ll take it.
On Alshon Jeffery
He is arguably one of he best receivers in the SEC, if not the country. It’s going to be great playing with him the next couple of years. He’s been learning a lot, and he’s been trying a lot harder in practice. It’s working out for him.
On Jeffery’s catch
We ran it earlier in the game, and we had an illegal formation. We worked on it all week at practice. I thought I overthrew it at first but he got right under it and caught it.
On value of the win
This win is huge. We’re 6-2 now. We had a chance to be undefeated if we’d played better, but we’re only going to get better. The future is really bright for us. As our team grows and our confidence grows, I think we’ll take more chances.
On playing Tennessee next week
It’s going to be a hard game, and it’s in Knoxville. We’re going to have to practice really well this week and get mentally prepared for it.
On being bowl eligible
It’s not a relief yet. Being bowl eligible is a goal, but we’re just trying to finish out the season to get to the highest bowl possible. It’s a great feeling to be bowl eligible, but we’re not even close to being done yet.
On the performance of the offense and outlook for the rest of the season
As a receiving corp, we all want to go out and double what we did tonight so that we can all be successful as a team. Right now we’re going into the second half of the season, and we just want to finish strong.
About the pass from the 1-yard line
All week long, Coach (Spurrier) has been telling us to be ready to make a play. It came up we were on the 1-yard line, and coach said we just wanted to go deep. As a receiver, I did everything that I had to do, but Stephen (Garcia) just made a great throw. I give all the credit to him because the throw was as great as the catch.
How did it work out that you were in for that play?
Alshon (Jeffery) and I have been alternating since the Kentucky game, and it was my series to go in. When Coach (Spurrier) found out that I was in, I found out that he wasn’t too happy about it. But after the catch was made, we were best friends again. I was just happy I had a chance to make a play for the team. We all want to win. That’s why we’re here.
On the 99-yard drive
The mood at first was to just get the ball out of the end zone as far as possible. Once we started clicking, we started moving the ball down the field. Everybody started to bond together.
On close wins
It kind of gives us that confidence that as long as we stay in the game, we have a chance. We’re starting to feel that we are a lot more conditioned than we were last year.
On his role in the offense
I’m just trying to go out and do what my team needs me to do. We’re just looking at what the defense is doing and just trying to make adjustments.
On the touchdown
We ran the play twice. The first time I was wide open, and I just dropped it. The second time I was wide open again, and (Stephen Garcia) just threw a perfect ball. Once I caught it, I knew I was going to score.
On the comfort level
I’m just working hard in practice and just knowing to do, and listening to our coaches. Moe Brown is working with me every day, and he tells me to just go out and work hard. He’s a great leader. It doesn’t matter if he is or isn’t playing. He’s always telling me to just make plays.
Thoughts on the game
We had a good win, and we’re going to celebrate it the rest of the night. Then we’ll move on.
On depending on the defense at the end of games
That’s something we preach about – finishing in big games. It’s especially important when it comes down to the wire like it did tonight. Whatever it takes for us to win, we’ll do.
On the play of the defense
I think we’re playing pretty good right now. There’s still room for improvement, but we need to just keep playing hard and get better each week.
D. L. Moore
On scoring first touchdown as a Gamecock
It was a great grab. I happened to bobble it about three or four times, but I got my foot in. I would like to thank (Stephen) Garcia because it was a great throw. When he threw it up, I actually thought it was going to a different receiver. Through the things we talk about in practice, I knew the ball was coming to me. When it hit my hand, I kept my eyes on it the whole time and brought it in.
On lessons learned from close games
We are learning a lot. We just have to pick things up in the second half. We need to be a second-half team. We just are glad to win this game.
On his development as a receiver
I’ve developed a lot. In the beginning, going at it every day got me better on defense. Then I got to try offense and passing with them and getting my wide receiver techniques together and bringing it to the game.
Thoughts on Moe Brown.
He has a big impact. He was everywhere, talking to the positions he doesn’t even play. You have to love that about Moe. I’ve learned a lot from Moe. He has taught me things, and he’s going to be a great coach some day.
On his play tonight
The ball was coming my way tonight, and I was just making tackles. It’s all about heart. When you play football, it’s all about heart. I’m not that big, but I have the work ethic.
On the 4th-and-long play in last drive for Vanderbilt
We just got great pressure on the play that was caught, and the quarterback made a decision.