Coach recaps spring practices in SEC teleconference Wednesday
Coach Steve Spurrier has never overemphasized the importance of spring practice.
As a quarterback at Florida, Spurrier only participated in spring drills once. Before one season, a sprained ankle kept him sidelined. Another year, a teammate fell on his leg, forcing him to wear a cast for three weeks.
Spurrier addressed reporters in an SEC teleconference Wednesday, fielding questions about topics from his two-quarterback system to conference scheduling rules.
The coach said he was not concerned senior quarterback Connor Shaw was sidelined throughout the spring, noting he was confident a two-quarterback system could be effective for the Gamecocks this fall. Shaw is expected to be ready by June 1 to participate in summer practice.
“You can win with two,” Spurrier said. “Hopefully it’s not a case of, ‘Uh oh, he messed up, put [the other guy] in.’”
As an example, Spurrier referenced the 2000 season, when he coached at Florida and quarterbacks Jesse Palmer and Rex Grossman led the Gators to a conference title.
When asked what decisions he had made about tailbacks after spring practice, Spurrier said sophomore Mike Davis and redshirt sophomore Brandon Wilds separated themselves as the two who will have the most carries.
“Whoever starts, it’s still up in the air,” Spurrier said. “Mike had some good runs, and Brandon had some good ones, too. But they’ll play. They’re both ready to play.”
The coach was noncommittal on the topic of scheduling changes, saying a nine-game SEC schedule could eventually happen but would be tough on South Carolina, Florida and Georgia because they play in-state ACC rivals during the final week of the season.
After being told LSU coach Les Miles opposed annual cross-divisional games, Spurrier responded that while they weren’t necessarily fair, unfairness is a reality in recruiting.
“Heck, that’s just sort of the way it is,” Spurrier said. “Coaches don’t make the rules. We just try to coach the best we can. Nobody said it’s supposed to be fair anyway.”
South Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak against its cross-divisional rival, Arkansas, with a 38-20 win at Williams-Brice Stadium in the fall. But with the addition of two teams to the SEC prior to last season, Texas A&M will be USC’s new permanent opponent.
When the topic of the Heisman Trophy came up, Spurrier pointed out that “it’s hard for a defensive player to do a whole lot.” He said he voted for junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney last year, but he believes it would be difficult for a defensive player to win the award.
“When you have a couple of guys blocking one guy, it’s hard for him to take over a ball game,” Spurrier said.
Since all of USC’s linebackers were seniors last season, developing young defensive players was a major focus of spring practice. Spurrier was confident that goal was accomplished.
“We should have a lot of good players ready to play that haven’t played much, and we’re looking forward to see what we can do in 2013,” Spurrier said.