COLUMBIA -- No better way to illustrate a 180-degree viewpoint change than Steve Spurrier wearing his visor backward Saturday night as he finished discussing South Carolina's 24-21 victory over Navy. After two weeks of criticizing his team following close wins, USC's football coach said he was "embracing" the Navy nailbiter.
On Sunday, Spurrier reversed course a bit, if not his headgear.
Most of the rest of the SEC East has improved, Spurrier said, including 3-0 Vanderbilt, due at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday (7 p.m., ESPN2).
South Carolina is 3-0 but fell in the Associated Press Top 25 poll from No. 10 to 12.
"If our guys think we're hot stuff, all we have to do is look at our statistics just to sort of tell us what we've been doing, and what we've been doing is just scraping by every (game) we've played just about," Spurrier said. "If we're going to have a good year, we better improve."
Vanderbilt under first-year head coach James Franklin leads the nation with 10 interceptions, two more than any other team. After watching the Commodores defense on tape, Spurrier said Vanderbilt players were "hustling" and "having fun" and playing with "a lot of pride."
South Carolina has allowed 372 yards per game (72nd among major college teams).
"I'm thinking we can play a little faster, a little more sound. I keep believe we're better than all the stats tell us what we're doing," Spurrier said. "So we're going to keep trying to see if we can play better."
The schedule is cooperating. Vanderbilt is the second of four straight home games, with Auburn and Kentucky to follow.
Stephen Garcia had his best passing game of the season Saturday night, completing 18 of 25 for 204 yards with one interception, but that's not saying much.
The redshirt senior has thrown more interceptions (three) than touchdown passes (two).
South Carolina against Navy leaned almost completely on tailback Marcus Lattimore and his career-high 246 yards rushing.
"I keep thinking that we're capable of throwing the ball up and down the field," Spurrier said, "but it's not getting there for whatever reason. It is what it is, as they say. So as a play-caller you have to call plays to win the game and the best way to win the game right now is try to hand it to Marcus and call some good safe passes and make sure something bad isn't going to happen."
Garcia missed on a post pass to Ace Sanders early in the game. On a positive note, he spread the ball around to receivers not named Alshon Jeffery. Seven Gamecocks caught passes against Navy.
Backup spur linebacker Damario Jeffery remains limited with a sprained ankle. Backup defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles missed the Navy game with a concussion but will practice tonight, Spurrier said.