COLUMBIA -- Steve Spurrier has professed that he's all about erasing and rewriting large chunks of South Carolina's football history.
Some recent chapters could use work as the Gamecocks inch toward Florida State and the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.
For starters, there's South Carolina's not-so-hot performance in last weekend's SEC championship game against Auburn -- in the same building as the approaching bowl.
"We didn't play our best the last time in that Georgia Dome and we're going to see if we can try to compete and look like a first-class team the way we were most of this season," Spurrier said, referring to Auburn's 56-17 victory. "We're looking forward to coming back in there and showing how to play football like we did here at South Carolina the entire season."
Then there's the idea that the Gamecocks -- 9-4 and a win from a school-record-tying 10th victory -- haven't exactly brought their 'A' game to bowls the past couple of years.
The 31-10 loss to Iowa in the Outback Bowl and the 20-7 loss to Connecticut in the Papajohns.com Bowl were two of the worst showings in Spurrier's USC tenure. Showing is a dicey word to use, though, since it implies actually appearing.
Spurrier's views on the game are even sharper than that. He harped on the Papajohns.com Bowl struggles even into the 2010 season, more than half a year later. The performance in frigid Birmingham, Ala., stuck with him.
With all that in mind, Spurrier again vowed Friday that South Carolina would tweak some things in its bowl preparation schedule.
What, exactly? Spurrier brought his poker face, it seemed, to the Chick-fil-A Bowl news conference.
"I don't want to get into all the details," he said, "but we'll do things a little different than what we've done in the past around here.
"Obviously, whatever the heck we've done hasn't worked well the last two years. I don't know why. We'll do some things different."
It's strange, Spurrier noted Friday, that a team plays 13 of 14 weeks through the fall -- and then has a month before the final game. It's the way it is for winning teams, sure, but there are inherent challenges to press the correct buttons in that downtime. The Gamecocks have malfunctioned, by and large, winning one bowl in Spurrier's five seasons.
South Carolina's players have had this week off, to tend to their final exams. The Gamecocks begin on-campus bowl practices Thursday. Their first practice at Georgia State, in Atlanta, is the day after Christmas.
Spurrier said he'll tailor the practice schedule to be useful, but mindful of the fact that USC has already played 13 games.
As he's consistently said, Spurrier insists he coaches every game the same -- even the ones that end in blowouts. Even the bowls that end in lopsided decisions.
"It was important last year," Spurrier said. "Some of you guys said I don't think it's important. I know how important it is.
"You say, 'Why didn't you get the guys to play?' Why didn't I get them to play against Auburn? We got the SEC championship on the line. We just got clobbered. I don't have the answer. Why didn't we play well against Arkansas?
"I don't always have the answers. I can tell you I coach them all the same. I coach them all the same. Sometimes guys have good games and sometimes we don't. But we'll try to do some things different to try and get the attention of our guys a little bit better."
Considering a jump?
Spurrier said redshirt sophomore receiver Tori Gurley and redshirt junior guard Rok Watkins are the two Gamecocks who have filed for the NFL's Draft Advisory Board to evaluate where they'd be taken in April's draft.
Neither is expected to be an early-round pick.
"If you're not projected as a first-rounder, you shouldn't go out," Spurrier said, consistent of his message at USC. "But some of our players in the past think, 'I'm gonna be a first- or second-rounder.' Then when they get drafted in the seventh round, like Clifton Geathers. He should have come back. He wanted to go.
"If they want to go, we can't stop them. A lot of times, players don't listen to coaches. They think, 'I'm going to be an early pick.' There's nothing we can do to keep them here. We just try to educate them. But if they don't want to stay, that's OK with us, too."
Spurrier continued to say he's good for another "three to five years" at South Carolina.
"We believe we've got an up-and-coming team here," Spurrier said. "Like I said, all this year, I don't think this is the best team we're going to field. I think we can field a stronger team in the future."
Spurrier referred, specifically, to underclassmen Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery as a sign of the future being bright.
Notice about comments:
The Post and Courier is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point.