Steve Spurrier doesn’t like the way his defense is playing. He’s not in love with his passing game, either.
How about South Carolina’s intangibles?
“Intangibles? Not very good right now. Not very good,” Spurrier said. “I wish we had a little bit more senior leadership. I wish we had some guys a little bit more accountable to each other right now.”
The Gamecocks are 3-0 and ranked No. 12 in the country, but their head coach is still waiting for more.
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“We keep thinking it’s all going to come together,” Spurrier said. “It hasn’t quite yet. We have hopes and beliefs that we can start playing better football.”
South Carolina plays Vanderbilt on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks are second in the SEC in scoring (41.7 points per game) but would be only eighth without the 21 points the defense has scored. The defense is next-to-last in points allowed (33.3).
“Hopefully, we start playing better,” Spurrier said. “Until you do, that’s all hope. We keep reading about all these NFL guys we’ve got on defense and we’re not stopping people. Statistically, we’re near the bottom in about everything. We need to go do it on the field. We need to have a really good defensive game this week. Offensively, we’re sputtering around.”
The Gamecocks are going to get more players into the game Saturday and may be changing the starting lineup in several spots against the Commodores, Spurrier indicated. However, he declined to be more specific.
“I’m not going to tell you about them right now,” he said. “It might hurt somebody’s feelings. We don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings around here. We’ll wait ‘til the game starts.”
BACK AT HOME
Junior DeVonte Holloman is glad he has been moved back to safety permanently, he said.
“It’s where I’ve been playing most of my life,” he said. “Playing spur was a different experience for me. Being back at safety is where I am comfortable.”
Holloman also indicated he’s not a big fan of the coaches’ decision to cut back on the defensive playbook. Spurrier and assistant head coach for defense Ellis Johnson have mentioned several times that the Gamecocks have simplified the defense to cut down on mental mistakes.
“There are fewer calls,” Holloman said. “We have a lot of guys back so simplifying the playbook doesn’t have to happen. We have a bunch of guys with experience. We just have to go out and play hard and do what we are supposed to do. I don’t think simplifying the playbook does our defense any justice. The more we can throw at a quarterback and an offense the better off we’ll be.”
Center T.J. Johnson promised the Gamecocks will not take Vanderbilt lightly.
“Vanderbilt is 3-0 this year, and it’s a ring game for us,” he said. “This game is as important as any game. We can’t take Vandy lightly at all. Watching film on their defense, I think they look just as good as anybody we have played.”
A “ring game” is any game that can help the Gamecocks reach their goal of winning the program’s first overall SEC championship, Johnson explained.
In light of the school’s ongoing investigation, Johnson and running back Marcus Lattimore both said it’s difficult to stay on the right side of the NCAA rulebook all the time.
“There are so many different rules and regulations that you have to abide by, but we have a great compliance team around here to tell us what we can and can’t do,” Johnson said.
Lattimore doesn’t know all the NCAA rules, he acknowledged.
“There are a lot of people out here trying to give you stuff,” he said. “Some people take it some people don’t.”
Wide receiver D.L. Moore (shoulder, ankle) practiced Monday night and will play against Vanderbilt. He missed the Navy game due to injury.