On the day when N.C. State defensive end Willie Young returned fire with a couple of verbal jabs toward South Carolina, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier took aim at his player who delivered the opening salvo.
Speaking to reporters Monday in Raleigh, Young dismissed Spurrier’s reputation as an offensive guru, expressed little concern over USC quarterback Stephen Garcia’s running ability and responded to Gamecocks tight end Weslye Saunders’ boast about taking an unsportsmanlike penalty if he scores against the Wolfpack.
“He just talked himself into the biggest MA (missed assignment) possible. I’ll just put it like that. That leads to nothing but mistakes,” Young told the (Raleigh) News & Observer. “I think he’s trying to draw attention to himself. … Because I know, me and my goons, we ain’t seeing it.”
Spurrier also had a few words for Saunders.
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“Weslye mentioned about celebrating. That was certainly something we don’t encourage our guys to talk about,” Spurrier said. “So if it’s time to throw a touchdown, we may try to throw to somebody besides Weslye. We figure they’ll be covering Weslye real tightly.”
As for Garcia, Young said: “Until he hurts us, I'm not worried about him. Until he starts to hurt us, he can stand back there and juke and jive all he wants to.”
Said Spurrier: “Once the ball’s kicked off, all the talk usually on either side doesn’t mean too much at all.”
Spurrier had an answer for receiver Jason Barnes, who told reporters Saturday coaches never gave him a reason why he fell behind Tori Gurley on the depth chart.
“The reason Tori passed him up is because Tori practiced better than Jason,” Spurrier said. “I guess (Barnes) didn’t hear that when I said, ‘You’re practicing better than him. Get ahead.’ So anyway, we got all that straightened out. The guys that practice the best usually are the guys that are starters.”
Barnes, a redshirt sophomore from Charlotte, will start if the Gamecocks open in a three-receiver set. Gurley and senior Moe Brown are the top two receivers.
Practice counts, part II
Spurrier said USC keeps close tabs on the NCAA rule limiting in-season practices to 20 hours a week. The NCAA is investigating Michigan after players accused second-year coach Rich Rodriguez of surpassing the limit.
“We follow it pretty closely. All you have to do is interview our players, and they’ll tell you whatever’s going on,” Spurrier said. “But we’ve got our own problems here. We’re just trying to get 11 on the field and block and tackle and throw and catch a little bit.”
Receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. was the principal offensive play-caller during the preseason scrimmages, but said it remains a group effort. “We’ll all put it together. We all have input. We all do a lot,” said Spurrier Jr., who will coach from the press box. “But I’m getting it all together the best I can.” …
Spurrier Jr. said at least eight receivers would make the trip, including freshmen DeMario Bennett and Alshon Jeffery. … Oft-injured offensive lineman Kevin Young is out indefinitely with a sprained knee, but will not need surgery.