Gamecocks Finish Preparations for Hogs

Gamecock Head Coach Lou Holtz commented after Thursday's practice about the importance of Saturday's game at Arkansas. "Everything I read is that this is a big game for Arkansas. This is a key to their season, and all. Someone needs to realize that this is a big game for us too."

-- Holtz is concerned about the forecast Saturday calling for "terrible weather" in Little Rock. "That bothers me. It's supposed to be a heavy downpour. They (Little Rock) had three inches of rain today and it won't be to our advantage at all. But, we can't control that as long as it rains on both sides of the ball."

-- Holtz announced that offensive right tackle Melvin Paige will be available to play after recovering from a sore knee. Holtz said that tackle Jeff Barnes definitely is out for the contest, while tackle Travelle Wharton will travel, but his participation Saturday is questionable. "Travelle came out dressed today and was going to try and do something, but we held him out."

-- Holtz said that quarterback Phil Petty has a pulled muscle in his rib cage, which "bothers him somewhat. We were afraid of appendicitis last night, but he was OK and should be fine by Saturday."

-- Holtz confirmed that the starting offensive line probably will be (from left to right): Shane Hall (LT), Cedric Williams (LG), Larrell Johnson (C), Kevin Rivers (RG) and Paige.

-- Holtz was relieved that cornerback Sheldon Brown's injury in Wednesday's practice was not serious. "He scared me yesterday. It turned out to be more of a stinger than anything else."

-- Holtz remains concerned about defending third downs. "I'm really worried about third down pass defense. We started out Monday and Tuesday with some really good days on pass defense, but today we weren't really sharp."

-- Holtz said defensively Arkansas gives teams a lot of problems with different sets. "I think offensively, we know how we want to attack them, but whether we can effectively remains to be seen."

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