Columbia, S.C. — Steve Spurrier is ready to put aside the outside “enemies” and concentrate on South Carolina’s opponents on the field.
Spurrier, in his 11th season at South Carolina, spent time this summer criticizing those who believe his team is in decline after several seasons near the top of the Southeastern Conference.
“They’re talking negatively about me and South Carolina,” he said. “I’m sick of it.”
Spurrier, 70, knows the most definitive way to answer back is on the football field.
He acknowledged a step back last year in going 7-6 after three consecutive 11-win seasons. In his view, however, the slide stops here — no matter what others outside the program believe.
The rebuild starts on defense, where Spurrier brought in old buddy Jon Hoke to co-coordinate a group that squandered three double-digit leads in the fourth quarter.
Hoke, Spurrier’s defensive coordinator his last three seasons at Florida, has switched South Carolina to a more traditional 4-3 alignment from the 4-2-5 schemes it has been running.
Just as important are the new junior college additions to the front seven like defensive ends Marquavius Lewis and Dante Sawyer and tackle Ulric Jones, who have made an impact the first two weeks of camp.
“We’re going to go out there and build a championship defense,” Hoke said.
In a weekend scrimmage, South Carolina quarterbacks were chased down by linemen and the secondary — also led by Hoke, a NFL defensive backs coach with Houston and Chicago the previous 13 years — had three interceptions.
“We should be more improved,” Spurrier said.
BYU tight end Steven Richards (knee) is out for remainder of the season.
... North Carolina says linebacker Tyrell Tomlin is no longer enrolled. He is academically ineligible.
... Missouri is banged up at receiver — J’Mon Moore (sprained left shoulder); projected starter DeSean Blair (sprained left ankle); and Jonathon Johnson (sprained ankle) is out indefinitely.