Steve Spurrier is going back home again this weekend. The Johnson City, TN native takes the Gamecocks back to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville where he will be seeking his fourth straight win over his home state rivals.
Spurrier reminisced some Tuesday at his weekly news conference about his first game as a fan in Knoxville (1956) and his first game there as a head coach (with Duke in 1982, a 25-24 victory).
Of course, Spurrier is more interested in the here and now. His Gamecocks are very much in the mix in the SEC East after last Saturday’s developments, and they are favored by 6 to keep the Vols winless in league play.
There are some injury concerns. WR Bruce Ellington and OL Ronald Patrick and Cody Waldrop are dealing with foot injuries and DB Chaz Elder suffered a concussion at Arkansas. Spurrier does expect LB Skai Moore to be able to play after suffering a concussion last week.
Spurrier added that WR Shaq Roland will be back from his suspension but will not start.
More notes from Spurrier Tuesday:
- Tennessee plays more man to man and their DBs cover as well as anybody they’ve seen.
- Connor Shaw is playing at a very high level.
- Not sure who will play right guard if Patrick can’t go. Several options on the table.
- Shaw’s passing has really improved this season because his foot is healthy and he’s played a lot more.
- Offensive line play has been good and they some good holes at Arkansas. Downfield blocking not all that good last week.
- Still trying to correct some things they didn’t do well on defense last week.
- There’s good competition among receivers and one is always ready to go in to replace one that makes a mistake.
- Likes that nobody has made a big deal out of USC being back in the coaches’ top 10.
Tennessee leads the all-time series 22-7-2 including one 12 game winning streak. The Vols had last weekend off after losing an overtime game at home to Georgia the weekend before.
Former Northwestern star Justin Worley is Tennessee’s starting quarterback. This season he’s completing 56% of his passes for 940 yards, 9 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Rajon Neal is the leading rusher with 630 yards. And freshman Marquez North is the leading receiver with 18 catches.