|COLLEGE FOOTBALL PACKAGE: South Carolina's ball coach clarifies remarks|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 21 November 2007 15:12|
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier backtracked for the second time this week, telling his players Wednesday he made a mistake when he told reporters his team's ``attitude stinks'' earlier this week.|
``I said something in the press conference Tuesday that I didn't say correctly,'' Spurrier said. ``I meant to say that our effort level is what stinks.''
``I said our attitude stinks, but the attitude of our guys is pretty good ... I said it wrong and I told our team that I was mistaken,'' Spurrier clarified after practice Wednesday.
Spurrier's latest revision on his comments came a day after he said he overestimated what the Gamecocks could do when he said before the season started that they could compete for a Southeastern Conference title.
In the same news conference Tuesday, Spurrier was asked by a reporter if it were difficult to ``change the culture'' at South Carolina, a phrase used regularly by Spurrier's Gamecock predecessor, Lou Holtz.
Spurrier began by saying that to him, it's about changing attitudes.
``Our attitude stinks right now,'' he said Tuesday. ``Our attitude is pretty sorry right now. I've mentioned that. As a team, we don't perform at a real high intense level.''
South Carolina defensive back Chris Hampton on Tuesday disagreed with Spurrier's assessment. ``I don't think the attitude is all that bad, really,'' he said. ``I think we know some of our goals are gone, but we're still fortunate to be playing and playing as long as we can.''
Gamecocks quarterback Blake Mitchell didn't think Spurrier's comments on the team's attitude had any effect.
``Like he said, he misspoke and he apologized,'' Mitchell said. ``But I don't know if any of the guys knew that he had said it. I don't know how many of them actually read what people write.''
The Gamecocks (6-5) will try to break a four-game losing streak when they take on rival No. 21 Clemson (8-2) on Saturday.
South Carolina was ranked sixth in the country after winning six of its first seven games. However, the Gamecocks have lost to Vanderbilt (17-6), Tennessee (27-24 OT), Arkansas (48-36) and Florida (51-31) to tie the longest losing streak Spurrier's ever had in college.
Spurrier said South Carolina's players showed good effort at Wednesday's practice. ``Guys were flying around, had good spirits,'' he said. ``I like the way they were enjoying practice and having a good attitude.''
OLE MISS PLAYMAKER: Diminutive wide receiver Dexter McCluster can be dangerous with the ball in his hands.
McCluster showed last Saturday against top-ranked LSU that he can bring the crowd to its feet without the ball, too.
McCluster delivered the biggest hit in a game full of heavy contact when he slammed Tigers defensive back Chad Jones with a block that helped quarterback Brent Schaeffer turn the corner on a 16-yard scramble in the second quarter.
The crowd cheered repeatedly to replays of the 5-foot-9, 165-pound sophomore leveling Jones, who is 6-3 and 218 pounds.
McCluster continually stung the Tigers in the game. He finished with five catches for 73 yards and two rushes for 38 yards.
He became Schaeffer's primary target in the fourth quarter as the Rebels tried to rally before eventually losing 41-24. He caught a 17-yard pass to move Ole Miss to midfield on the Rebels' penultimate drive with the game still in reach, then on the next play Schaeffer again saw McCluster open deep.
That's when LSU stung back. McCluster made the 18-yard catch but was leveled by Curtis Taylor, a 6-3, 200-pound free safety.
McCluster did not return, but coach Ed Orgeron expects him back Saturday at Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl. McCluster missed 10 straight games in this season and last to a shoulder injury.
``Dexter has been playing with an (undisclosed) injury the last four games of the season, and most guys would be out,'' Orgeron said Monday. ``He gets banged up a little, but he is tough. He was out at practice today, and he will not skip a beat. He is one of the toughest players on our team.''
OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN: Florida senior safety Tony Joiner could be reinstated as a team captain before Saturday's home finale against rival Florida State.
Joiner was stripped of his captaincy following his Oct. 2 arrest on a felony burglary charge. The charge was dropped three days later, clearing the way for Joiner to play in Florida's 28-24 loss at LSU.
But coach Urban Meyer's punishment for Joiner stuck. Meyer felt Joiner shouldn't have been out so late at night. It didn't matter that he was trying to get his girlfriend's car out of a towing impound lot.
Joiner had to do a few early morning workout sessions, but the toughest penalty was losing his leadership status.
``That was the worst thing in the world, to be stripped of my captaincy and just knowing how hard I worked to get where I was and to lose it on a boneheaded mistake and a boneheaded decision,'' Joiner said. ``It was tough for me.''
But with Joiner facing his final home game Saturday, when the 12th-ranked Gators (8-3) host the Seminoles (7-4), Meyer said he could be reinstated for ``Senior Day.''
``There's a chance,'' Meyer said, adding that Joiner helped keep Florida together following back-to-back losses to Auburn and LSU. ``His best two games were the two after those losses.''
HONORS: Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick, LSU safety Craig Steltz and Tennessee returner Dennis Rogan won SEC players of the week.
AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Gainesville, Fla., and Associated Press Writer Chris Talbott in Jackson, Miss., contributed to this report.
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