Spurrier: Swamp won't be a distraction




 
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November 8th, 2006  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Spurrier: Swamp won't be a distraction




PAGE IVEY

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says this week's game against No. 6 Florida is just another chance for the Gamecocks to show they can beat a ranked team and become bowl-eligible.
His old team has a little more riding on the outcome.
Just three teams are ahead of them in the Bowl Championship Series standings and No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2 Michigan play each other in their final game of the season, leaving Florida (8-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) in the running for the national championship game.
The Gators have already clinched the SEC East title.
"Of course, they've got a chance maybe to get in the final game. If they run the table, who knows what could happen," Spurrier said Tuesday. "They're in excellent shape to have a really big year."
South Carolina (5-4, 3-4) is looking for that all-important sixth win to become eligible for a postseason bowl game. Last season, the Gamecocks finished the season strong, beating Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida.
But this year has been a different story.
The Gamecocks briefly had a lead against then-No. 8 Tennessee before the Volunteers put the game away in the fourth quarter, and South Carolina was just six points down and had the ball in the final 6 minutes against No. 11 Arkansas before the last drive ended in an interception.
"They may clobber us or we may play them close or heck, I'm hoping something might happen where we obviously win the game," Spurrier said of playing Florida this year.
Spurrier said one thing this year's game is not about is his returning to the stadium where he has had so much success. Even the stadium's nickname, the Swamp, was a result of Spurrier's time at Florida.
"Actually, it had been suggested by some people earlier. I don't know the guy's name. But it just didn't catch on," Spurrier said of the nickname. "I started using it, it caught on."
At the Swamp, Spurrier's name and his No. 11 from his Heisman Trophy-winning days at Florida are in the Ring of Honor. He went back to Gainesville this year for the ceremony. He also went back to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 1996 national championship team he coached.
Spurrier has told his players about his honors at the stadium so they won't be overwhelmed.
"We'll get there a couple of hours before the game so the players can go out and walk around and so forth," Spurrier said. "That will be the first time a lot of them will have been into the Swamp."
Spurrier spent the first part of this week downplaying to his players the significance of his first trip back to Florida as an opposing head coach.
"They really don't understand what it means to him," redshirt junior running back Cory Boyd said. "I think that's why he's staying away from bringing so much about himself into the picture with him going back."
Instead, the coach has talked about the importance of getting a sixth win and becoming eligible for a bowl, Boyd said.
One thing Spurrier has warned his team about is how tough it is to win at Florida. Boyd remembers how confused the Gamecocks were in their last visit, a 48-14 loss in 2004 in the last season under Lou Holtz. The loss dropped South Carolina to 0-10 all-time at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
"We really stunk up the place," Boyd said. "The fans got into it, got into our heads. We didn't play as a team and it really showed."
While Spurrier hasn't tried to make his return to Florida a big deal, some players still feel it.
"It will be a great gift for us to go there and give him his first win back home in Gainesville," Boyd said.
 


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