Holtz Concerned About Offensive Line

Following Tuesday's practice, USC head coach Lou Holtz said it is going to be difficult to try to revamp the Gamecocks' offensive line, which has been hit hard by injuries from last week's game. "We're trying to rebuild our offensive line and you don't like having to do that at mid-season," said Holtz.

"It's frustrating for everyone. To lose three offensive tackles in one game is unheard of. We're trying to revamp it, but it's going to be difficult." Starting left tackle Travelle Wharton is doubtful with an ankle sprain; starting right tackle Melvin Paige is questionable with a sore knee and backup tackle Jeff Barnes is out with a shoulder strain.

Other injuries to report from Tuesday: starting cornerback Andre Goodman dislocated his thumb but is listed as probable; wide receiver Willis Ham is questionable with a hip pointer.

Coach Holtz said the defense worked on improving its play on third down and also on defending the pass. "We addressed third and long," said Holtz. "That has been an area that we haven't defended well. We haven't been able to get our defense off of the field. We've got to improve there."

Coach Holtz said that Arkansas, USC's opponent this Saturday in Little Rock (CBS-TV, 3:30 p.m. kickoff, eastern time), provides a variety of looks on defense. "Arkansas can give you some complicated looks on defense; that's one reason they are so good," said Holtz. "They'll make you have bad plays on offense."

Coach Holtz wasn't pleased with the kicking game on Tuesday. "We made more mistakes in the kicking game today than we normally do," said Holtz. "The kind of mistakes that we haven't been making."

Coach Holtz, who was the highly successful head coach at Arkansas from 1977-83, said he always thought playing in Little Rock proved to be a tougher environment than playing in Fayetteville. "The stadium at Little Rock is more enclosed and there's not much separation between the field and the stands," said Holtz. "People from all over the state come to the game there. I always thought it was much harder to play in Little Rock (for Arkansas' opponents) than in Fayetteville."

Arkansas coach Houston Nutt is 10-0 in games played at Little Rock. Said Coach Holtz: "Houston Nutt is a very, very good football coach. He has done a marvelous job with his team this year. They are very much improved from the beginning of the season."


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