09/29/03 USC Football Practice Report

Columbia, S.C. - Monday's Highlights: The Gamecocks worked out in shorts with no pads Monday afternoon. Head coach Lou Holtz termed the session as productive and that the attitude was upbeat and positive. "I told the players they had until 8 o'clock this morning to dwell on the Tennessee game (23-20 overtime loss this past Saturday night in Knoxville). After that, I told them it was over; to put it behind them; to move on ...

From the way we practiced today, I think we've done that." Coach Holtz said that the Gamecocks played well against the #8 Volunteers. "I think we proved something to ourselves," said Holtz. "Give Tennessee credit. They played well. It wasn't a fluke. It wasn't like they turned the ball over. I was impressed with the poise and demeanor of our team. They stepped on the field believing they were going to win. That's part of what you have to do to take it to the next level. I think we showed that for the most part." Holtz also was encouraged with the performance of quarterback Dondrial Pinkins. "I think Dondrial came of age against Tennessee. He demonstrated a lot of poise and made some excellent reads." Coach Holtz on the play of Demetris Summers, who rushed for 158 yards on 27 carries. "Number 31 did some great things," said Holtz. "That's two weeks in a row. How long will he keep that up? I don't know, but he sure was impressive." Holtz also praised the performance of the offensive line, particularly both tackles Ð Travelle Wharton and Na'Shan Goddard.

Open Date: With USC facing an open date this weekend, Holtz was asked about the timing of having an off weekend. "Sometimes you like to stay in your rhythm," said Holtz, "but I think we will benefit from the open date. I really believe we are going to improve a lot this week during practice. That's our goal. I don't want to put a limit on our expectations. We're still a young team and we're still learning our defense." The Gamecocks will practice Tuesday-Thursday, before breaking on Friday and Saturday. They will return to practice Sunday evening.

This and That: Holtz said that more teams are starting to utilize the type of punt formation that Carolina has employed since last year at mid-season. "It's not a complicated formation but it does take opposing teams a while to adjust to it," said Holtz. "You shouldn't get a punt blocked with it, but we did, and that's something we will correct." On Tennessee punter Dustin Colquitt, who continually backed USC deep into its own territory on Saturday. "It was like he was dropping the ball from out of a helicopter," said Holtz. "Not only was he kicking it 50 yards, he had a five second hang time. I had never seen anything like it. There was no way we could simulate his punts during practice"É Junior college linebacker De'Adrian Coley returned home to Carvers Bay following the tragic death of his sister, who passed away in an auto accident over the weekend É Freshman defensive back Ty Erving was involved in an auto accident on Friday that resulted in him suffering some lacerations and a bruised eye.

Injury update: DE George Gause has a knee sprain and will undergo intensive rehab this week. He is listed as out for the Kentucky game and possibly could return by LSU on Oct. 18. Coach Holtz says he thinks Gause is a quick healer and that he wouldn't be surprised if the junior would be ready for the Thursday night ESPN showdown on Oct. 9 vs. Kentucky. TB Demetris Summers has a sore groin but he should be okay. Summers did practice on Monday. RB Daccus Turman has a back strain and he was limited on Monday. DL Eric Stroman (foot surgery) practiced on a limited basis on Monday and he is expected back for the Kentucky game.

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