Two postgame incidents last weekend have caused a controversy around the tradition of football coaches shaking hands at midfield following a game.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier hopes they don’t tarnish what he considers an important ritual. He feels so strongly, in fact, he approached reporters after Wednesday’s practice to defend the handshake.
“It amazes me that these other coaches think you ought to do away with it,” Spurrier said. “I disagree whole-heartedly. I think it’s the right thing to do. If we can’t shake hands and say good game ”
Georgia and Vanderbilt made national news last week when Commodores head coach James Franklin and Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham got into a shouting match after the game. In the NFL, San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh and Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz had words after a particularly boisterous handshake.
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“We should certainly continue, that’s not that hard to do. And the players should shake hands,” Spurrier said. “All of our players shake hands with our opponents every week. Our guys do a super job. When it’s over, it’s over. Try to knock the crap out of each other during the games, when it’s over, shake hands and move on.
“If you like the other guy you say, ‘Good luck the rest of the season.’ If you don’t want them to have too good a luck, you just say, ‘Good game, see you next year,’ something like that.”
Spurrier has never had a major incident during a postgame hand shake, he said.
“Eh, not too bad,” he said. “We’d say some stuff during the week, not after the game, not really. Of course, we haven’t beaten anybody here bad enough to get them mad at us.”
Spurrier was given the opportunity this week to dismiss the notion that LSU and Alabama, the nation’s top two teams, are making the SEC a two-team league in which the SEC East winner has no chance to win the SEC title game. He did not exactly do that.
“They are definitely the two best,” he said. “Fortunately we don’t play either one of them, and Georgia doesn’t play either one of them. That’s why us and Georgia were preseason picks by almost everybody.”
The Gamecocks are ninth in the SEC in third down defense, allowing a 40 percent conversion rate.
“Our defense is playing well, but we are giving up 40 percent on third downs, just like we did last year,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “That’s not good. We should do better than that. We have to get better on third down defense and get those guys off the field.”
Only Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Auburn allow a greater third down conversion rate.
“We just have to buckle down,” safety D.J. Swearinger said. “It’s some of the little things that we have to get better at. It’s very frustrating to be out there giving your all and they convert another third down, but we just have to come together and clean up some things. We’ll be all right.”
Senior Marty Markett will regain his starting spot at cornerback after playing behind C.C. Whitlock last week. Whitlock started last week because Markett was unable to practice during the week due to a concussion. Markett is practicing his week.
“You don’t lose your starting job because you get injured,” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said.
Injured running back Marcus Lattimore won’t go on the team’s two remaining road trips. Teams sometimes take injured players on road trips if those players are team leaders like Lattimore, but Lattimore will be wearing a leg brace and using crutches for much of the next month after tearing his ACL against Mississippi State.
“I don’t think you take players who are on crutches. It’s hard for them to get around,” Spurrier said. “If he had a bad shoulder or something like that that would be a little different.”
Defensive line coach Brad Lawing and offensive line coach Shawn Elliott have had discussions about sharing junior Byron Jerideau for the remainder of the season. Jerideau played two snaps on the defensive line and at least one on the offensive line against Mississippi State.