College Sports

Spurrier comes up with way to one-up Richt

COLUMBIA -- Steve Spurrier had his own opinion of Georgia's in-game celebration, telling it as only Steve Spurrier could.

"I think if (Florida coach) Urban Meyer had known they were going to do it, send out one of his guys, get a fight started (with) all them guys on the field," Spurrier said, drawing laughs from his audience. "Leave the bench in a fight and you're out the next game. Georgia would have been in trouble."

The Bulldogs, who'd lost 15 of their last 17 games with the Gators, began last week's renewal of "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" with a quick touchdown. It was followed by half of Georgia's bench rushing onto the field to celebrate, although there were still three and a half quarters to play and the team was hit with two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Georgia coach Mark Richt later revealed he told his team to overly celebrate, although in an apology to the SEC office, he said he didn't think it would get to that extent. The normally low-key coach did something right -- the Bulldogs won 42-30.

Some called the move low-class and some called it a stroke of genius. Spurrier said it wasn't against the rules, as long as Richt was willing to take the penalties, and followed it with his opinion on what Meyer should have done.

"Get one of your down-the-line guys that's not going to play, get out there and start wrestling with a guy, now you've got a fight and they're all out the next week," he grinned, drawing more guffaws from the crowd. "That's the way to take advantage."

The next question was if Spurrier might try the tactic for the No. 23 Gamecocks, who are seeking a confidence-booster after losing two straight. If the situation came up, would Spurrier send his son, backup receiver Scott Spurrier, in to mix it up?

"Well, we've got a lot of guys we can have suspended a game," the coach quipped.

• THE PATRIOT WAY: With the joking aside, Spurrier was steamed during one part of his weekly press conference. Not surprisingly, it was when he recalled the mistakes USC committed in its 27-24 overtime loss at Tennessee last week.

"I was just telling our guys in here the other day, 'Do you think New England would ever rough the punter?,'" Spurrier said. "'Do you think that's part of the game plan like it is ours?'"

Spurrier watched the undefeated Patriots maul Washington and was impressed by the discipline shown. Not only did New England not rough the punter -- when USC's Cliff Matthews did it against the Vols, it wiped out good field position in the first quarter and improved the Gamecocks' total to three roughing penalties this year -- but the Patriots were scrambling after every loose ball.

That was another sore spot against the Vols, and one that had a lot more to do with the loss than Ryan Succop missing the tying field goal in overtime. On Tennessee's final drive that eventually forced overtime, the Vols fumbled twice and USC couldn't get either one, despite Addison Williams having one right in his grasp and no one picking up the ball when Casper Brinkley forced Erik Ainge to fumble.

"I really am, I'm embarassed we can't fall on a fumble," Spurrier said. "Freddie Brown fumbles, we've got two guys that can't tackle the guy. We should have got the guy down at midfield."

Spurrier relaxed after that, saying he told himself he wasn't going to get mad. His anger still resonated among is players, though.

"He asked us if we really want to be champions, look at the guys that do it for a living," linebacker Marvin Sapp said. "They're pros, the best of the pros, and really, they're just capitalizing on other team's mistakes. If we keep improving, we can become that elite team that everyone's expecting and everyone's anticipating."

• WILDCAT PACKAGE: The Tennessee loss featured a potential future offensive package. On one play in the first quarter, quarterback Chris Smelley switched out to slot receiver and wideout Kenny McKinley took the snap.

McKinley handed off to Cory Boyd, but considering McKinley's a former high school quarterback and showed off his arm twice during the Vanderbilt game -- an incompletion to Weslye Saunders and a kick-return lateral -- some are wondering if McKinley could line up at QB more in the future.

"Yeah, we probably need to keep doing that a little bit more," Spurrier said.

• BANGED-UP: The only severe injury for Saturday's game at Arkansas is defensive back Brandon Isaac, who re-aggravated his tender shoulder and smacked his head against the Vols. Isaac's been cleared of head trauma but his shoulder, which has bothered him the past month, is another question.

"Can he sort of strap it up and play?" Spurrier asked. "Our trainers say it's not going to get any worse. Obviously, it's difficult for him to tackle."

Isaac will probably still play although he will most likely need surgery after the season.

McKinley, Captain Munnerlyn and Melvin Ingram are all expected to play after suffering cramps at Tennessee.

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday

• Where: Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Ark.

• TV: ESPN2 (cable channel 28 in Rock Hill)

• Tickets: Sold out

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