South Carolina interim coach Shawn Elliott has not exactly flourished since taking over for Steve Spurrier last month.
A 1-4 record overshadows the three-game stretch in which the Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt and were competitive against Texas A&M and Tennessee.
Losing has taken a toll on Elliott, but it hasn’t discouraged him a bit.
“Let me tell you every move I’ve made personally to propel our football team, I think I’ve done it,” Elliott said during South Carolina’s weekly press conference Tuesday. “For me to have some sleepless nights — it hasn’t happened. Wins certainly haven’t come, but I’ve done each and everything I think is best. Our players respect what I’ve done and try to do. … I wouldn’t say it’s very difficult.”
That competitive three-game stretch against SEC opponents certainly seems like a long time ago. Florida dominated South Carolina at home before the team fell, 23-22, at the hands of The Citadel on Saturday.
Four losses in a row has deflated the football team, but not Elliott or his family. What happens on the football field and what happens at home remain separate entities, Elliott said.
“They come to two ball games a year. They’re not all that concerned with daddy and what’s going on at work,” he said. “The other day, my son said ‘I’m sorry.’ He said ‘I always thought I was good luck at games’ because I won. I told him ‘You don’t have to worry about it. We only lost one. You are good luck.’”
“It’s been tougher on my wife and children, but they’ve done a great job and still lead the same old life,” Elliott added.
Elliott is expected to be one of a handful of candidates to be in the mix for the full-time coaching job, which athletic director Ray Tanner said he hopes to be filled in early December.
Elliott still considers himself a possibility despite the team’s recent woes.
“I don’t know about having a shot, but I’m going to approach it like I have a shot and that’s what I’m going to tell myself in the back of my mind,” he said. “I don’t give up. I’m not someone who quits. They’re going to have to kick me out of here before I just give up on anything.”
Elliott has one last opportunity to bulk up his resume. On Saturday, his Gamecocks host No. 1 Clemson at Williams-Brice Stadium for rivalry week.
While the 3-8 Gamecocks are certainly underdogs, Elliott doesn’t believe a win over Clemson would be all too surprising.
Asked if his message to the team was that South Carolina could “shock the world” with a win, Elliott adamantly shot it down.
“Shock the world? No, it’s certainly not (my message),” he said. “They’re the No. 1 team in the country. It would probably be a shock to a lot of people, but not the world. We’re going to go out and play and be better, do what we can control the best we can against a good football team. Let’s go shock the world? That’s like saying you guys don’t have a chance to win this football game. You don’t sell that message to the team.”