Spurrier: "We talk about trying to be fundamentally sound"
South Carolina has had two 18-point leads in the fourth quarter in their last two victories over Vanderbilt and Central Florida.
Somehow or another, both teams were able to erase those leads and make the games much more interesting and nearly detrimental to the Gamecocks season thus far.
South Carolina was unable to finish off their opponents and it's something Coach Steve Spurrier spoke about during Tuesday's press conference.
"Obviously, we have a lot of improving to do trying to hold leads," Spurrier said on Tuesday. "Seems like we struggle holding 18-point leads in the fourth quarter. We are very, very fortunate to have won the last two ball games, very fortunate that we are not sitting here in the dumps because we could have lost the last two games."
In these two games against Vanderbilt and Central Florida, South Carolina had an interception in the end zone against Vanderbilt as they were driving to bring the game to within three points and had to recover an onside kick with under two minutes left against Central Florida to seal off those two victories.
Spurrier knows he's fortunate to have won these last two games but knows that he and the rest of the coaching staff will need to do a whole lot of coaching moving forward.
"We have a lot of coaching to do around here. It’s obvious we’ve got a lot of coaching to do. This is a big game for us to see if we can be more fundamentally sound than we have been this year and look like a good team."
The Gamecocks will get the chance against a Kentucky team that is in the middle of rebuilding under first-year coach Mark Stoops. The Wildcats are 1-3 on the season with the lone win coming against Miami of Ohio. The Wildcats will play their third-straight ranked opponent in South Carolina this weekend and Spurrier knows it's been somewhat of a struggle early for Kentucky this season.
"OK, we are looking forward to playing Kentucky again. Play ‘em every year, Eastern Division opponent. They have struggled a bit this year. Got a new coach, Mark Stoops, who I think eventually is going to do an excellent job there at Kentucky, but they have struggled a little bit offensively. Their defense has played well most of the year, struggled occasionally but they have been tough and will come in here and give us all we can handle I am sure."
On offense, Kentucky is averaging just 21.8 points per game but is averaging a respectable 410.8 yards per game of total offense. They've turned the ball over six times this season and are only converting 23-percent of their third-down conversions.
In order for the Gamecock defense to step up and show better effort, Spurrier is hoping that players like Jadeveon Clowney and Victor Hampton will step up. Last week after the UCF game, both players kind of called out some of their fellow teammates for their play and Spurrier was not okay with that at all.
"I think they said some guys need to pick it up," Spurrier said. "They are two of them that need to pick them up, too. Unless someone plays a perfect game or someone coaches a perfect game, they just need to worry about their position."
This weekend will give Hampton, Clowney and others the opportunity to pick up their play. The coaches will work on coaching better and the Gamecocks will hopefully play more fundamentally sound to see if they can get into position to put a team away.
"We have some coaching to do if we are going to turn around this season. We have been on the verge of really blowing a couple games, and we know that, us coaches know that. We are going to try to coach a whole bunch better and see if we can’t be fundamentally sound if we get in position to put a team away."