Sands happy to be back in SC

New South Carolina running backs coach Everette Sands was on 107.5 The Game's Halftime Show Thursday and the Conway native discussed a number of topics with hosts Jay Philips and Michael Haney. Look inside for Sands' plans to help the Gamecocks' running backs go from good to great.

Many South Carolina fan's first memory of new running backs coach Everette Sands is directly involved with one of the worst days in the Gamecocks' football history.

The former four-time All-Southern Conference performer rushed for over 100 yards for The Citadel in its 38-35 upset victory over the Gamecocks in 1990.

Luckily for South Carolina fans, Sands hopes all of the future memories Gamecock Nation has of him will be positive for them.

Last year, Sands left his post as The Citadels' running backs coach to take the same position at North Carolina State. But the Conway native couldn't turn down the opportunity to coach at his state's flagship university when Steve Spurrier came calling.

"It's great," Sands said Thursday in an interview on 107.5 The Game's Halftime Show. "It's one of those dreams that you have growing up, not necessarily to coach there but to play there. ... It is defnitely a great opourtunity to get back [to the state] and continue my coaching career here at USC."

Sands will inherit a running backs stable that many coaches dream of: Heisman candidate Marcus Lattimore returns from injury, Brandon Wilds will be a year older after a surprise freshman campaign, Shon Carson returns from injury and senior Kenny Miles could be back as well. Not to mention, the nation's No. 10 running back Mike Davis is committed to the Gamecocks and could make an early impact.

Sands believes that running backs have to first learn to be consistently good in order to become great. And he believes that two main things help him to help them take that step.

"One of the things that I've really focused on all of my career is to focus on the little things," he said. "Because I believe that most people have a general idea of what's going on, but those great backs and those great players really concentrate on little details of their assignments.

"And that's something that I'm going to bring here as well. To make sure that my guys are detail-oriented and take that leap from being a very good back to a great back."

The second major focus Sands has is his relationship with all of his players. While the whirlwind start to his time at South Carolina has kept him from getting to know his current group well, he hopes to start that process this weekend.

He believes that he has to be able to trust his backs and his backs have to be able to trust him.

"Getting to know every player -- you can't treat every player the same," he says. "Different things make different players tick. The key is getting to know them and to learn which button to push when to help get the best out of them."

Sands says he's spent his first week on the job meeting with committed players from the 2012 class and prospects from the 2013 class that the Gamecocks are involved with.

Sands, who has recruited the Palmetto State at all of his previous coaching stops, believes keeping the top in-state players at home has been a major reason for the Gamecocks' recent unprecedented success.

And he believes the program is on much better footing than it was when his Citadel team shocked the Gamecocks over 20 years ago.

"It just seems like in the last couple of years, Coach Spurrier was really able to take them over the hump and get them to the elite status," Sands says. "They've been in the top ten teams the last couple of years. I think the sky's the limit."

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