Spurrier has little to say about officiating debate

Brown hopes for clearance to play, says there is no hesitation going back on field

semerson@thestate.comOctober 28, 2009 

Steve Spurrier opted to keep his criticism of officials behind the scenes, rather than go to the media as three other SEC coaches have this week.

"Yeah, our referees have struggled a little bit lately," Spurrier said, adding the Gamecocks have turned in "a bunch" of missed calls to the league office. "But when you win the game you don't worry about it too much."

Monday was a busy day for the issue. Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson complained that a USC touchdown should have been reversed on replay. Tennessee's Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen were both reprimanded for publicly criticizing officials.

Spurrier said he was confident that SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Rogers Redding, the supervisor of officials, are "on top of it."

"I think (Redding) does a super job. I'm not sure his referees do as good a job as Rogers does right now," Spurrier said. "They're going through a little difficulty. I don't know the answers to all that, (other than) to say I think they're trying to get it right."

No hesitation. Senior receiver Moe Brown (concussion) said he plans on playing at Tennessee pending medical clearance. He said he has not had a headache since the day after the Alabama game, when he sustained the injury.

Brown also said he did not expect any fear the first time he went over the middle because "we don't design plays to get your head knocked off."

"That's just having trust in the system that you're in. I feel that I'll be at full-speed," Brown said. "I won't really know until I actually get out there on the field. But I'm pretty sure once I get out there and get that first good block in, that first good hit, what have you, I'll be fine."

Butterfingers prevention. Nearly every practice, the defense opens with a turnover drill: The ball is thrown at a player, and once he catches it he and his 10 teammates go forward. It's meant to have the defense conditioned to react quickly to a turnover.

But after watching Eric Norwood and C.C. Whitlock did potential interceptions against Vanderbilt, Spurrier is backing up the drill.

This week quarterback Andrew Clifford, a freshman who is redshirting, has been firing some passes at defenders.

"Maybe some faster balls coming at them," Spurrier said. "We're trying anything to get our guys to catch those picks. Anyway, we're emphasizing it, talking about it and we'll see if it does any good or not."

Help for Shaq. Middle linebacker Rodney Paulk is out for the season with a knee injury, but he remains a factor with the man who replaced him.

Sophomore Shaq Wilson, who leads the Gamecocks with 56 tackles, has made visits to Paulk's house for talks about football.

"He sees things I don't see because he's still watching the games," Wilson said. "We'll go up in the film room and watch, and he'll tell me how to get around those blocks better."

Reach Emerson at (803) 771-8676.

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