Transcript from South Carolina senior tight end/fullback Patrick DiMarco's time Monday on the SEC Championship teleconference.
General thoughts on playing in the championship game this Saturday versus Auburn.
PATRICK DIMARCO: We've got a good team. Auburn is number one in the nation, good opponent, definitely a tough one for us. We kind of slipped up there a little bit when we played them earlier in the year and had a few mistakes but we're going to go out there and be ready for them and just have a good week at practice.
Q. Just wondering if you could speak about being a part of the signing class of 2007. A lot of you guys said that you signed with USC to do things that had never been done before at the school, and now you're kind of on the cusp of that. Could you just talk about being a part of that signing class and what you guys have been through?
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PATRICK DIMARCO: All of us in that 2007 class came in here knowing -- knew the potential that South Carolina had and knew the opportunity we had at hand, building a programand everything. And Coach Spurrier always told us our main goal would be to win a SEC championship while we're here. This is our last year, and so we've got to go out and give it our all.
Q. Can you just talk about when the first time you played, just what you remember about Auburn's defense?
PATRICK DIMARCO: They were tough. They were real solid up front. Pretty big. I mean, we didn't run the ball well against them. So they slanted their gaps good, and their defensive backs covered well. Definitely a tough challenge for us. We're going to have to get what we can at times because they're a tough defense.
Q. The South Carolina game is one of several games where Auburn has fallen behind in double digits. Their defense seems to be vastly superior in the second half as compared to how they play in the first half. Did that seem to you as well. If so, did you have any rhyme or reason why they played different in the second half?
PATRICK DIMARCO: They came out really intense in the second half, putting the pressure on us. We tried to move the ball, tried to run the ball, and get the clock going and everything. But we couldn't do it. So we had to return to the pass game and we turned the ball over a couple times in the second half. Their defense made some good plays forcing turnovers. We seem to control theball better and not turn it over, and I think we should be fine.
Q. The championship game, just wonder how much you've watched it in the past. Have you boycotted it in the past, or is it must-see TV for you?
PATRICK DIMARCO: It's must-see TV. It's one of the biggest games of the year, besides the national championship. Usually the team that wins that, goes and either plays for the national championship or one of the really big BCS games. So it's always a good game, always fun to watch. It's an honor this year being able to play in it. We're going to go out there, give it our all. Hopefully come out with a win and hopefully play for a big bowl game.
Q. As you watched it in previous years, did you mentally put yourself in that spot and wonder what it would be like to play?
PATRICK DIMARCO: Definitely. We played usually one or two of those teams that played in the SEC championship. So I kind of just picture our team out there and in that same situation. And it kind of upsets you sometimes knowing that we could be out there playing. But, I mean, it's going to be exciting this year, our first time ever going.
Q. Wanted to ask you about Nick Fairley, the defender for Auburn. You've blocked a lot of guys in your career. Where does he rank on your list of hardest guys to block?
PATRICK DIMARCO: I didn't get to hit him too much because he plays in the interior. But he gave us a lot of trouble. He's really physical, knocks linemen around pretty well. We'll definitely have to scheme around him and definitely have to put some plays in to kind of exploit just his intensity. And we'll have to try to get around him and use his strengths to maybe use it to make them weaknesses. So he's definitely a good player. We'll definitely have to focus on him a lot this week during preparation.
Q. What do you think this means to Coach Spurrier considering all the years he's put in the league?
PATRICK DIMARCO: Means a lot. When he came here I knew he wanted to do something special. This is really special. The first time it's been done at the university. Nine wins playing for the SEC championship. Beating Clemson twice in a row. I mean, it's a big year for us. We just need to keep building on it. An SEC title would be awesome under our belt. Playing in a bowl game would be also awesome. I know he's proud and really excited. I'm excited to see what he has in store for us this week.
Q. Does he seem a little different in the last few weeks, considering how you clinched it two, three weeks ago at Florida? I know South Carolina a lot of times has struggled with their November schedule down the stretch. Does he seem different realizing now that the goal of winning the East has been attained?
PATRICK DIMARCO: Not really. He's still intense. I think he wants us to keep building on our win, not let us up at all. We're kind of peaking right now. We need to keep building on that andkeep the intensity up and keep rolling.