He Was Almost On The Other Side Of The Field Today

Stephen Sene came very close to being on the other side of the ball today. Two years ago the 6-6 315 pound up-and-coming O-lineman actually had two Virginia schools higher up the list than the Gamecocks ...

"Virginia and Virginia Tech recruited me," the big younster began in the first interview of his college career. "When I visited Virginia it was a great atmospher and all, I mean I really liked it up there and everything. But then when I came here (to South Carolina) I just felt like this was home. I have absolutely no regrets about staying here."

No doubt that Gamecock coaches have no regrets either. The 19 year old red-shirted freshman has made the two deep already and will see plenty of playing time today against the Cavs. So what was it like last week knowing the time had come when this all became live and interactive for Sene?

"I thought it was great just running out on the field. It felt different this year for the first game knowing I could play and knowing I could put everything the coaches have been teaching me to good use," remarked the Dutch Fork product.

The fact that he will get his first real playing time against a team that he at one time was ready to chose during the recruiting process has not escaped Sene. The question is that as the youngest, although one of the biggest, red-shirted freshman on the team - is he ready?

"I am ready to contribute anyway I can - I am ready. Obviously Coach Guge felt I was ready or he wouldn't have put me in there last week, and that gives me confidence knowing that ... when I am heading out on the field I know that the coaches have me ready to go out and contribute."

Stephen is good enough to see time at two different positions already.

"I work a little guard and tackle - but right now I prefer guard. Wherever they put me is fine with me I just like going out there and playing and hitting people," Sene said with a smile. He knows he is good - but he is actually very humble, very likable ... and very very confident. And he does not mind remaking on his unit - the guys he depends on to his right and left and visa versa.

"We're coming together as a unit, we've just got to learn to fill a gap or two in our execution ... what I am trying to say is execute our gameplan a little better and everything will come together. We're young right now and this is really the first time we have worked together like this but we will come together as a unit."

And doe all of the guys know all of the other positions as rumored? Do you know who and where your buddies are supposed to be at all times?

"Yes sir. I'm at 2nd left guard behind Jeff Barnes ... Jabari Levey is at right guard behind Jonathan Alston, Travelle Wharton is at left tackle of course with Kris Mick behind him - then at right tackle there is Na'Shan Goddard and Woodly Telfort is right behind him. At center there is John Strickland and Chad Walker."

We'll take that. So what does Sene think have to say about his strength and weaknesses?

"My strength is as a pass blocker ... any playing time is good for me but pass blocking is basically my speciality."

What about the 2-Gap defense? What will it take to beat it today against Virginia?

"Reading the linebackers ... they are going to flow. We're reading the linebackers and if they try to flow away from us we'll have to make quick decisions to let them go if they are out of the play or go after them if they are trying to get into the play by avoiding us."

As one of the well known brainy players, the 6-6 gentle giant makes everything sound easy when asked ...

"I'm doing well in school, still doing the basic core stuff in my second year - classes are not tough yet."

So you've said you are happy that you stayed close to home and that you are not going to be on the other side of the ball today - is that what you will advise to others from the area when they come to visit?

"Oh yes. It's huge to stay close to home - not too far from anything, things are familiar. You don't have to learn everything about your surroundings and your environment and where things are because you grew up with them and you already know them. I look at like players from teams, from far away, and a lot of times when they first get here they are miserable when they want to come home but they can't - and for me it is just convenient for me to go home. Staying close to home is important."

Today, when the Virginia Cavaliers take the field remember, it could have gone the other way.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories