Sunday Conversation: Nathan Pepper, Part Two

"I was recruited under Lou Holtz and I was going to be a Gamecock no matter who was going to be the coach."

Nathan Pepper had started more games than any other returning player on his team going into his senior year at South Carolina, and he always seemed to be swarming the ball or making a game-changing play. As a defensive tackle, Pepper actually scored three career touchdowns, which is almost certainly the most from that position at USC in recent history.

In high school, he was named the AAA Defensive Player of the Year at Greenville High, and he was also named to the South Carolina Shrine Bowl squad before joining the Gamecocks as a freshman in 2005. Pepper currently attends most USC home games, where he joins the team on the sidelines. Nathan was kind enough to help recap this season and his career with an in-depth Q&A with Gamecock Pride.

You can read part one HERE

Gordon: Once at USC, what were your favorite things in general or favorite things to do in Columbia in the little free time you had?

NATHAN: Just hang out with teammates in the dorms and around campus.

Gordon: How important were pre-season workouts and what was your typical daily routine in pre-season/summer?

NATHAN: They are very important, as this is the time when you do all your team building and bonding with your teammates.


6am wake-up
6:30am breakfast
7:45am meeting
9am practice
12pm lunch break
2:30pm meetings
4pm walk through
It all kind of depends on if you have 2-a-days, also.

Gordon: Once in season, did you have a specific individual routine or superstitions you would do the day before or day of a game?

I always had to have my tuna sandwich snack the night before the game, and always had to talk to my Mom the day of the game! Always!

Gordon: What was the single biggest college game you were a part of?
NATHAN: My all-time favorite was Spurrier's first game at Carolina against Florida. I was the long snapper on all the field goals. One of the most fun and most stressful games of my life.

Gordon: What team had the best offensive line?

Alabama and Georgia consistently haad the best o-lines year in and year out.

Gordon: Was it more important to beat a big-time SEC team, or to beat Clemson?

NATHAN: They both have their own importance, but most of the time I was at Carolina we didn't have a major part in the runnings for a title in the SEC, so we would always be looking forward to going and getting a win versus our in-state rivals.

Gordon: What does the rivalry with Clemson mean to you, and is it all hate, or is there a respect?

NATHAN: It's mostly respect between the playersnd all hate between the fans. The players actually just want to play and compete against each other.

Gordon: What are the main reasons for the recent dominance and 5 game winning streak over the Tigers?

NATHAN: We have been consistently getting better and better players every year. That's the biggest difference in my eyes.

Gordon: Did you have friends or other players that you knew well at Clemson, and do you stay in touch?

NATHAN: Yes, I went to high school with Alex Pearson and Corey Lambert.

Gordon: Why would a big time recruit want to play in the ACC or for Clemson?

NATHAN: I don't know why they do it. I wouldn't...

Gordon: How important is it for teams to effectively recruit to their needs and not just go after the top ranked guys regardless of position), like USC has seemed to do so well recently?

NATHAN: It's always important to recruit according to needs because of the obvious reasons. But, to get a highly ranked person is always good, too, because they could be better than the guy that you think is a solid starter on your current team.

Gordon: Since you now coach the defensive line at Greenville High, who is the best player you have seen since you started coaching?

NATHAN: The best bunch I have seen so far has been the guys from Daniel a few seasons ago. Not sure of their names, but they had a d-line that was nasty!!

Gordon: Do you hope to pursue a coaching job at USC one day?

NATHAN: I have 3 young children now, and I'm seeing more benefit to be home with them as much as possible, so a college coaching career is not something I see in my future.

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