Steve Spurrier speaks on October 23, 2012.
Columbia, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier says it feels good for his team to be back home--and it's time they started playing smart and to their potential again.
Spurrier spoke Tuesday as part of his weekly address to reporters and previewing the upcoming game against Tennessee.
After starting the season with six wins, the team's lost their last two games, each of them a showdown against a top 10 conference team on the road.
"We need to regroup and get our season rolling the way it was several weeks ago," Spurrier said.
While it's technically still possible that the Gamecocks could win the East, Spurrier concedes that isn't very likely, but he said that doesn't mean there aren't things to play for.
"We've got to accept the fact that we're not going to win the SEC this year, but we've got a lot of other goals," Spurrier said.
One of those goals would be winning all their home games, a feat last accomplished by the 1984 "Black Magic" Gamecock team.
Spurrier also isn't convinced the tough schedule that saw them play top 10 teams three straight weeks can be blamed.
"If we were strong enough, and tough enough, and mentally tough enough, we could have handled it," he said.
The Gamecocks winning offensive formula (running + ball control + smart passing) hasn't been there in recent weeks, Spurrier said, and he hopes to better utilize running back Marcus Lattimore.
The junior All-American candidate rushed just three times against Florida, his lowest number of attempts this season. Spurrier says once the team got behind, the coaches chose to rest Lattimore as the team tried to pass more to win that contest.
And of course, some questioned if there would be a change in the man passing the ball, after Spurrier benched starter Connor Shaw for backup Dylan Thompson during the Florida loss. Spurrier said Shaw hasn't performed as well recently, but he'll get the start this week versus the Vols, and will play the entire game.
"This is his game," Spurrier said. "If he skunks it up in the first half, he'll get a chance to skunk it up in the second half."
Thompson has been sick this week, but Spurrier says they expect him back to practice soon.
And don't look for any changes on special teams. Spurrier says the same players who were making spectacular plays a few weeks ago were the same ones who fumbled on Saturday.
"Got to give those Florida guys credit, they knocked it out," Spurrier said. "Hopefully we can learn from that. We're not going to fire all our return guys."
USC kicks off against Tennesee Saturday at noon at Williams-Brice Stadium.