While South Carolina’s coaches and players kill time in their hotel rooms prior to Saturday night’s game against Florida, it will be tempting to check in on the 3:30 p.m. game between Auburn and Georgia.
Tempting for most, at least.
“No interest at all in that game,” Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said. “We have no control over it.”
They do have a stake, though. South Carolina needs No. 7 Auburn, or Kentucky in two weeks, to knock off No. 25 Georgia to give the Gamecocks a chance to win the SEC East championship.
“We know we’re still alive, but we can’t control so much of that,” Spurrier said. “We don’t need to worry about anything except playing our best against Florida here Saturday night. We’ve still got a lot of goals that are out there other than the Eastern Division.”
In order to play in Atlanta on Dec. 7, the Gamecocks need both Georgia and Missouri to lose at least once more this season.
“We can’t win it this week, but we can lose it this week,” senior offensive lineman Ronald Patrick said. “We need to focus on ourselves and go out there and prepare.”
Leading the nation
Michigan’s 17-13 loss to Nebraska on Saturday made South Carolina’s streak of 15 straight home wins the longest active streak in the country. The home winning streak is tied for the longest in school history, matching the 15 won from 1978-80.
“We certainly hope to keep that alive,” Spurrier said. “Our schedule has favored us pretty well that maybe some of the top teams we’ve played recently, like last year, we were on the road against LSU and Florida, both obviously very good teams.”
Spurrier reaction. Coaches around the country have been asked their opinion on the Miami Dolphins hazing scandal that led one offensive lineman to leave the team voluntarily and another to be indefinitely suspended, and Spurrier took his turn addressing the issue Tuesday.
“I never experienced anything in the 10 years I was in the NFL (as a player) -- nothing even close to hazing,” he said. “We didn’t have any of that.” Spurrier eliminated hazing practices at all of his coaching stops, he said, including minor rituals like shaving freshman’s heads.
“We did away with all that. I don’t believe in any of that crap -- none of it,” Spurrier said. “Everybody is on the same team, especially with the freshman eligible now and so forth. We’re all on the same team. Treat everybody the same, that’s what we try to do here.”
South Carolina’s coaches address it “just briefly” with their players each year, Spurrier said.
“We haven’t had any players now who were ever hazed, so it is a non-issue,” he said. “We don’t even really have to talk about it much here. Help out the younger guys, that’s what we tell the older guys -- help them out. If they get lost on campus, can’t find the classroom, help them out. That’s what we try to do.”
The players who sat out last week’s practice to rest bumps and bruises – defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Victor Hampton and running back Mike Davis – all are back at practice, Spurrier said.
Center Cody Waldrop, who was missed seven games due to foot and ankle injuries, “might even be able to play,” Spurrier said.
“Injury wise and healthy wise for our team, we’re probably as healthy as about any team in the country, I guess,” Spurrier said.
South Carolina’s players voted for the season’s permanent captains during their off week, senior defensive end Chaz Sutton, junior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, senior offensive guard A.J. Cann and senior quarterback Connor Shaw. Patrick, defensive back Victor Hampton, spur Sharrod Golightly and wide receiver Bruce Ellington “all received a whole bunch of votes also so we sort of named those guys co-captains,” Spurrier said.
“We’ve got eight guys who have really done a good job, I think, providing leadership throughout the course of the season which hopefully will continue through the remainder of the season,” Spurrier said.