"We're a couple of days away from kicking off the '09 season. We have a good group of players here. We think we're ready to play with a lot of spirit and a lot of fight. We have a lot of new players that will play important roles in whatever success we have this year.
"Eric Norwood is our all-conference returnee. Other than that we do have a lot of players that have played a bit. Cliff Matthews and Nathan Pepper have been here a while. We have some older guys on the offensive line in Garret Anderson and Lemuel Jeanpierre."
On Stephen Garcia's preparation:
"We've had a lot of preparation time. Gaining experience is what it comes down to now. Stephen Garcia has made strides. He's practiced a lot better the past week. We think he's a lot better prepared, so we'll find out this week. We have confidence that Stephen will play well."
On improving from last season:
"We haven't played yet so we have to play (and see). We're not talking big. We need to earn our way as we go. This is a new team. We have five new assistant coaches. Attitudes have been very good and summer workouts were the best they've been. Academically we had the best GPA ever last semester. We think we're headed in the right direction, but we'll find out when we kick it off Thursday night."
On being the underdog: "I've been the underdog many times. I want our players to know this is a very good team we're playing. People go by the score of last year's game, but really you cant. N.C. State became a much better team as the season progressed. Hopefully that's what we'll do is become a stronger team as the season progresses."
On team chemistry: "It's important in any team sport. They all have to get along and pull for each other. We're unknown and we have to prove it. Hopefully our guys on the bench will cheer for their teammates Thursday night and show a lot of team spirit."
On opening the season Thursday night on ESPN: "We have to thank Dave Brown of ESPN Sports for putting us on first. When I first got here Dave said if you let us put you on Thursday, we'll let you be the first game of the college football season. We try to use it in recruiting. We tell the guys you can have the first game on national television of college football. I heard people around the country say (they're) excited to see South Carolina play that first game and see what we look like."
On the running game: "Hopefully it will be more productive but hopefully our quarterbacks will take care of the ball much better. We can't win games with a lot of turnovers. We'll try to play smart and run the ball. All the good teams run the ball. Even if they throw it well they still run, so we hope to be a much-improved running team."
On key to success this year: "It's called taking care of the ball, running and passing and mixing it up, but also putting Stephen Garcia in position where he knows what to do. We don't want him running all over the place. It all starts with the offensive line and the ability to run the ball and help with pass protection. We're looking for a lot more mix than in previous years."
On running backs:
"All of them have been hurt except for Jarvis Giles and our little guy Bryce Sherman. Bryce has been over (to the scout team) most of the time, but he comes with the regular guys also. We want to give everyone a chance in the real games as much as we can, and after that we want to find out which one the best is. Brian Maddox is scheduled to start, and after that Jarvis and Kenny Miles will get some shots also. We'll get Eric Baker and Bryce in there also, but you can't get five on the field (through the course of a game). It's hard to do that."