South Carolina has moved up to #9 in both major football polls the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. When asked about the top 10 ranking, USC head coach Lou Holtz said: "They forgot to put a three in front of the nine. I think college football has digressed if we¹re ranked 9th in the country. We¹re not a top 10 team. People are not afraid to play us. I don't want to take anything away from our players, because they have worked hard, their attitude has been marvelous and they are team-oriented. But, we are not an excellent football team by any means."
Coach Holtz commented that up to three of USC's offensive tackles could miss this Saturday's game against the Razorbacks due to injuries. "We're devastated at offensive tackle right now," said Holtz. "We're only playing three tackles for the most part and all three are injured, including two that probably won't play. That¹s not the kind of situation you want to have when you go to Little Rock to play. That's what we had facing us two years ago and they dismantled us (48-14)." Starting left tackle Travelle Wharton has an ankle sprain and could be doubtful. Starting right tackle Melvin Paige has soreness in his knee and could be doubtful, while Jeff Barnes, who swings between both positions, could be out with a shoulder strain. Coach Holtz said that Shane Hall and Watts Sanderson could be pressed into starting duty.
When asked about his team's success in the area of turnover margin (USC leads the SEC at +8), Coach Holtz said: "We're doing a good job of recovering our own fumbles. I really don't like to talk about turnovers, because they can come at any time. Sometimes you can't account for them. That's why I don¹t like to talk about them."
Commenting again on USC's national ranking, which is the program's highest since 1988, when the Gamecocks were ranked #8 for one week, Coach Holtz said: "I guess it¹s good for the fans and the state. It would mean much, much more if it was the final ranking. If I had my preference, I wouldn't want to be in the top 25 now."
When asked to assess his team's performance, Coach Holtz said: "When I look at great football teams, I see teams that are dominant on offense, dominant on defense and dominant in the kicking game. We are not dominant in any of those areas. We haven't made that many mistakes, and that¹s what has saved us. We can't get off the field defensively on third down. First and 20 is nothing for our opponents. I realize we are 5-0, but we are not dominant in any phase of the game. Great teams are dominant."