Spurrier: "We have to go in there hoping to play our best"
This Saturday, South Carolina travels to Georgia to open the SEC season in hope of starting off strong in their season long quest to become SEC champions. This game is just one of two matchups this Saturday that pit two Top 25 teams against one another.
As huge as this game is for both teams, just imagine what it would be like if Georgia was able to beat Clemson this past Saturday.
Nevertheless, the No. 6 ranked Gamecocks will take on the No. 12 ranked Bulldogs in hopes of winning their fourth-straight game against the Georgia Bulldogs. Steve Spurrier spoke to the media on Tuesday about the game and how big it was but that it doesn't necessarily determine who wins the SEC East division title.
"We have a big one with Georgia," head coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday. "We’ve learned that the winner doesn’t necessarily win the Eastern Division. It does put the winner in pretty good shape. It doesn’t always determine the winner. We have to go in there hoping to play our best. We hope to improve on last week’s game and beat a team that was preseason No. 5."
Spurrier acknowledged that the Bulldogs were likely favored over the Gamecocks but that he hopes South Carolina will play better than last week and expects Georgia to do the same.
This game has had some intense moments over the past decade or so but the hate the Spurrier received while at Florida has really translated over to South Carolina from the Georgia Bulldogs.
"I don’t get near the hate from the Georgia side that I used to get. It’s hard for Georgia to really get mad at South Carolina."
Spurrier went on to mention that Georgia already has enough rivals as it is with teams like Georgia Tech, Florida and Auburn. He also said that, "We still haven’t beaten them enough to circle South Carolina."
South Carolina hopes the recent win streak will be extended to four following this weekend's matchup and the expected return of a few players will be much needed.
"Our team is pretty healthy right now. I think Busta Anderson is going to try to get back playing. Bruce Ellington is 100 percent. Defensively, I think most of our guys are healthy and ready to go."
The health issue was another big talking point since Thursday when it comes to Jadeveon Clowney. South Carolina's defensive end was held with no sacks on Thursday night against North Carolina and finished with just three total tackles on the evening. It was later announced, by Clowney himself, that Clowney had a stomach virus the night before and was unable to eat hardly anything in the pregame meal leading up to the UNC game.
Spurrier was asked about Clowney on Tuesday and had this to say about the preseason All-American:
"Well J.D. is ready to play, I think one thing he learned is that the camera is on him all the time now. It wasn't on him last year, it was on him on the replays after he made sacks, big plays and stuff like that, but every play the camera is on him. So he knows that and hopefully he is ready to go. It was a hot day last week as we all know, and sometimes the heat effects people in different ways, it affected him no questions about it and hopefully we can get him a little bit better prepared physically to go the distance against Georgia."
It's expected to be another warm one on Saturday in Athens with a high around 85 degrees but one should expect a much more energetic Jadeveon Clowney this Saturday.
The Georgia game is one that gets a bit more emphasis from several Gamecock players as a large portion of the team is from the state of Georgia. South Carolina has recruited extremely well in the state and this game is usually a showcase for both teams in a high-profile setting. They were even playing "Georgia on my mind" by Willie Nelson during warmups in practice the other day to help the players get their focus on the Georgia Bulldogs.
"So that's all we are trying to do, get Georgia on our mind, the plays we think that'll give us a chance to beat them. They are a good team, they'll be ready for us, you know they got beat last week so they'll be ready."
Georgia will be ready. South Carolina will be ready. At 4:30 Saturday afternoon on ESPN, will you be ready?