[Premium site article. Portions of this article are in the free Football Skuttle-Butt section] During his Tuesday press conference, Coach Sherrill talked about South Carolina, the opening ceremonies prior to the game, whether his team was ready to play last weekend, injuries and even said MSU fans would need to use their voices and not their cowbells due to the heavy security and metal detectors that will be present at the game.

[How he feels about having played just one game in a little less than three weeks]
"We have been here a long time and I am concerned about how well we will be able to start over."

[Comments about South Carolina]
"We are playing a very good football team, a very old football team. Anytime you have 12 seniors and 8 juniors starting, a lot of them red-shirts, you have players who have been around and have played a lot of football. Their quarterback is a red-shirt senior who has played a lot of football. I remember years ago when he came off the bench as a red-shirt freshman to play against us.

"They have skilled people who made plays against good teams last year. Their running backs, quarterback, receiver are all back.

"Their defense was one of the best in the league last year. They still do an outstanding job. Their defense is very difficult because they are going to give you a lot of looks. They are going to bring a lot of people from different directions.

"In the kicking game, they have two excellent returners. Number 22 on kickoffs is probably as good as you can have. Certainly, number 21 on punts makes a lot happen on punt returns."

[MSU, health-wise]
"Health-wise, we are as healthy as we can be at this time. We still have some nicks, bumps and bruises, but that is going to happen."

[Practice this week]
"(Tuesday's practice) is like a Thursday practice for us. We do not stay out very long on the Thursday practice. We will be out there for 13 periods, which is an hour and five minutes. We will not practice (Wednesday)."

[Talking about MSU fans bringing cowbells to the game]
"Due to the metal detectors and the searches that they will do, we are going to have to use our voices instead of the cowbells."

[Discussing whether the team was ready to play last week]
"They were not ready to play last week. You could tell there was something missing. The focus to play wasn't there."

[Talking about USC's receivers]
"They can jump and go after the football."

[Ray Ray Bivines update]
"Ray Ray will play. I am anxious to see him on the field. He will return punts."

[His opinion of USC head football coach Lou Holtz]
"Lou is an outstanding football coach. We have been playing against each other all the way back into the 80's when he was at Arkansas. He knows football. He knows how to motivate football players. He has some outstanding coaches around here. Charlie Strong was on my staff at Texas A&M. He is a really good football coach. (Lou) hiring his son was a great move because he has been a very big asset to him."

[Discussing MSU being at home and USC playing at State]
"Anytime you play at home you have an advantage. In this league (playing at home) is a drastic advantage."

[Talking about the pre-game ceremonies that will honor the victims of the terrorist attacks]
"At 6:30 they are going to unravel the American flag. Both teams will do that with the ROTC. While they are unraveling the flag, they will be singing God Bless America. After that, they will have the American Anthem. That will take between 8 and 10 minutes."

[Commented on having the players involved in the ceremony]
"It is something they need to be involved in. I feel fortunate that we are going to be involved in this (ceremony). None of us have any idea what (the people in the attack) went through and are still going through. This ceremony gives you some chance to be involved."

[Discussing USC running back Derek Watson]
"He is big and very hard to bring down. He is very intelligent. When he is hot, he will hurt you. Hopefully, we will not let him do that (against us)."

[Discussing the possibility of rescheduling the BYU game]
"We are trying to (reschedule) it December 1st. I feel confident that we will play it. I feel that it will be a national televised game. CBS will take (the Dec. 1st) Florida-Tennessee. ESPN or ABC will take our game. To help BYU, they feel they should play it. Hopefully, we do get to play it. Moving the game back (to Dec. 1st) is ok. What this is going to do is change (the SEC Championship Game ticket sales). Normally, in the East, the winner of the Florida-Tennessee game, because that game is so early in the season, was in the driver's seat. Now, with that game at the end, the East does not have the advantage in (SEC Championship Game) ticket sales. Hopefully by then, the West will have been decided. If so, for the first time, the West will have the advantage in ticket sales."

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

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