What We are Hearing...

Some insider quick hits on the mood of the team, today's schedule, some injury updates, and what to expect out of the South Carolina Gamecocks later this evening in Columbia.

Today's Schedule
The team is scheduled to have meetings this morning from around 10-12. This includes a quick walk through. After the walk through, the team is scheduled to have a lunch buffet around noon. The team will then leave for Williams-Brice Stadium around 2 o'clock. Coach Bowden refers to the time from 2 to the 7 o'clock kickoff as "the waiting game."

"I'd rather play this game early, because after we have lunch, all you can do is really sit around and wait," Bowden said in a brief encounter with reporters Friday while getting off the team bus.

The Mood of the Team
The mood of the team from the Ramada Hotel in Columbia is very positive. The players have been extremely focused on the task at hand- and that is beating the South Carolina Gamecocks. Most of the team is expecting a tough, hard-nosed, physical battle this evening.

Confidence is at an all time high.

Every player we talked to this week indicated that this game couldn't be played at a better time during the season. "We are on a roll right now," said Curtis Baham. "We seem to be peaking at the right time and things are starting to go our way on both sides of the ball."

At the same time, no one is really underestimating the importance of this game.

"This game is like a season within itself," said Tommy Sharpe. "There's no way you lose this game and say that you had a successful season. For the seniors, this is a game that they'll remember their entire life."

What to Expect
Defensively, expect a gameplan that is eerily similar to the last two weeks. In other words, make the opposing team's quarterback beat you.

Oddly enough, the talk out of South Carolina's camp is that the Gamecocks will try and attack the Clemson secondary this evening. Don't be suprised to see Dondrial Pinkins test the Clemson defensive backfield, namely Tye Hill and Justin Miller, with the deep ball early and often. Remember, Troy Williamson had some success last year with two big plays of 70 and 43 yards.

The Gamecocks have also had some success when they are pinned back near their own goal line. In every situation like that this season, Lou Holtz has tested the opposing team with the deep ball. On two occasions, his team has walked away with scores from over 90 yards away.

On offense, the Clemson coaching staff believes they can have success running the football against the South Carolina defense. The Gamecocks have had trouble defending the run this season and could be vulnerable against a Clemson offensive line that is starting to gel.

It goes without saying that the Gamecocks will also be tested with the pass. South Carolina's defensive backfield is squarely focused on Derrick Hamilton for this game.

Should Clemson have any success early in the ground game, look for the Tigers to exploit the South Carolina secondary creeping towards the line of scrimmage later on.

Injury Updates
Good news on the injury front- all indications are that Airese Currie will be a factor in this football game. Currie will be tested in warm ups with some contact, and assuming all goes well, his presence alone should stretch the South Carolina defense.

"We'll see how he does during pregame," Bowden said early Friday evening. "You'd like to see how he responds with some limited contact before you throw him out there."

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