Gamecocks open spring practice with spirited work

The University of South Carolina opened its 2003 spring football camp Friday with a spirited two hour, 45 minute workout in shorts and helmets. Friday's workout marked the first of 15 practices for the Gamecocks this spring. The annual Spring Game is set for April 12 at 1 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium ...

"We went for a long time today, because we were in shorts and we had a lot of work to do," said head coach Lou Holtz, who begins his fifth season at Carolina and his 32nd year overall as a head coach. "Defensively, I really liked our attitude today. We must improve our third down defense. Offensively, Dondrial Pinkins made some good reads at quarterback. Mike Rathe is showing an understanding of the offense. Things were positive out there today."

¥ Coach Holtz said that he wants the Gamecocks to take it to another level this spring. "The preparation during the off-season has been very good," said Coach Holtz. "I am as enthusiastic as I've ever been for the start of spring practice. In fact, I am wore out after today's practice. I can't remember being on my feet as long as I was at today's practice. Our focus is totally on football. It's fun to be out there with this team. It was a good first day."

¥ Coach Holtz will be working with the safeties on defense this season. "I've coached the secondary most of my life," said Holtz. "It will be like having an extra pair of eyes out there. It was exhilirating to be out there on the field today. It was enjoyable."

¥ Coach Holtz said that along the offensive line, the five who were running with the first unit Friday included: Travelle Wharton and Na'shan Goddard at tackles; John Strickland at center; and Jonathan Alston and Chad Walker at guards. "These are the five players who had the best winter program; who have done the things necessary to be successful and who have done the best job in the classroom this semester," said Coach Holtz. "That doesn't necessarily mean they will be our starters. They just deserved to be in the starting lineup on the first day, based upon what they achieved during the off season."

¥ Coach Holtz said that redshirt freshman Chris White must still be granted a medical waiver before he will be cleared to practice. White injured his neck during preseason camp last August and has been limited to just conditioning drills since then.

¥ Coach Holtz said that safeties Jamacia Jackson and Rod Wilson looked good on Friday, as Isaac Stackhouse. "Their attitude was really upbeat," said Holtz. "I liked the way they interacted with one another."

¥ The Gamecocks return to the practice field Saturday. The practice is closed to the public. The media may attend the first 30 minutes beginning at 2:20 p.m.

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