Earlier this week, South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier took some time to chat with 95.7 The Game. The ol' ball coach talked briefly about his time with the 49ers back in the 60s and early 70s, but spent most of the time discussing two Gamecocks on the 49ers: running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Bruce Ellington. You can listen to the interview HERE. I was going to embed it in the post, but it's an auto-play set-up, and nobody likes auto-play.
Spurrier called Lattimore one of his all-time favorite players. And remember, this is a guy that loved Danny Wuerffel so much he thought he could win in the NFL with him! He talked about Lattimore's work ethic, and how his drive made the entire team better.
Spurrier then said Ellington was another guy who worked incredibly hard, and would always have the necessary conditioning. He talked about how they used him all over the field, and felt he could do a little bit of everything. I suppose we have to take the ol' ball coach with a grain of salt, but it's still nice to hear positive things.
Spurrier was particularly happy both Lattimore and Ellington were able to join the 49ers. He talked about how great the organization is, and how great a coach Jim Harbaugh is. He also didn't mind the fact that they were a team he followed from time-to-time given his past with them.
Ellington has addressed the media twice since the 49ers selected him. On Thursday, he was part of the rookie contingent that met with the media for an open session. Bay Area Sports Guy put together a transcript of that. Ellington also spoke with the media on a conference call after he was drafted. I meant to post this transcript earlier in the week, but the week kind of got away from me. So, it's a full morning of Bruce Ellington chatter! Here's the transcript:
Did you have much contact with the 49ers leading up to this?
“I talked to them at the Combine, but not much after that.”
What have they told you about how you can fit in here?
“They just told me to come in and be ready to compete. I think I’m going to be ready to do that. I love to compete. So, I’m just going to come in and do what they ask me to do and play hard and just come in ready to work.”
What do you think of the guys you’re going to be surrounded with? Obviously WR Michael Crabtree, WR Anquan Boldin, they just picked up WR Stevie Johnson, WR Brandon Lloyd’s here, WR Quinton Patton. What do you know about those guys?
“They’re just going to help me get better because I know those guys can play, and I’m just going to learn from them. Learn the playbook, get with them and let them teach me some things, watch what they do and just become a better player by watching them.”
How much experience do you have returning punts?
“I have a little bit of experience doing it. I did it in college. I did it a little bit in high school. So, I’m going to be comfortable doing it. I’m ready to come in and do whatever the coaches ask me to do, kick return, punt return, kickoff, punt, whatever it is I’m going to be ready to do.”
Just looking at the stats, it looked like you’d only returned three punts in your college career. Is that accurate?
“Yes, sir. That’s accurate. [South Carolina WR] Ace Sanders, he was our punt returner when I was playing there. So, you know how he is at that punt returner. He’s real good at it. So, I was a backup.”
Are you comfortable handling punts?
At what point in your college career did you decide, I’m going to be a football player and not a basketball player? And was that difficult for you? Was basketball your first love in terms of sports?
“I feel it was pretty difficult because I just love to compete and I love playing both sports. Leaving one is different, but I think that football is what I want to do. It’s what I feel that comfortable doing. And I’d say about my second year coming in playing football, I finally realized that football is what I wanted to do. So, I took advantage of it and think I did pretty good.”
How does being a point guard help you at receiver?
“It has helped me. You want to compete. You want to be the best player on the court. You want to lead, help lead and just want to be a team player. Because being the point guard, you’ve got to lead everybody that’s around you. So, I think that’s going to help a lot when I get to the NFL.”
What about the vision aspect of it? Is that helpful at playing receiver?
“It helps a lot. I’m a small guy. So, going up against in basketball these 6’9” guys, 6’8” guys, it helps you to see all the people around you talking, the vision part is good playing basketball.”
Did you get a chance to watch a lot of your cousin’s games against the 49ers last year?
“Yes, sir. I got to watch a little bit of it.”
And what were your impressions of the 49ers from what you saw on TV?
“I love the 49ers. They’re a great team. I’m just ready to come in and help build the program even better than what it is now.”
What’s your relationship with RB Marcus Lattimore like?
“It’s good. Marcus is a team player and while I was there, he was kind of one of the guys who came to me and told me to come out and play football, come out and help the team. So, we have a good relationship. It’s going to make it even better when I get up there.”
Was CB Chris Culliver there at all? Did you guys cross paths when he was at South Carolina? Or was he gone before you got there?
“He was there my freshman year and I got a chance to work out with him a couple times.”
Did you burn him in practices?
“I actually didn’t get to go against him in practice.”
Because you’ve split your time between two sports, do you feel like you’ve got a lot of growth potential as a football player?
“Yes, sir. I feel like I have a lot of growth. Because I’ve only played for three years, so I feel like there’s a lot more things that I can put in my game and become a better player.”
When you say you only played it for three years, you played in high school though, right?
“I played quarterback in high school. I played quarterback, running back and DB.”