10/02/03 USC Football Practice Report

Columbia, S.C. - * Instead of "Lunch with Lou" it was "breakfast with Lou" on Thursday, as the South Carolina football team arose early and practiced before the sun came up. The Gamecocks, who are open this weekend, hit the practice fields at 5:30 a.m. and went through a spirited 1 hour, 40 minute session without pads. The idea for the early morning practice was to give the coaching staff a little head start in their recruiting and also give the players some extra down time from football ...

The team ate breakfast together and then was off to class. There is no practice Friday or Saturday. The team returns Sunday for an evening workout as preparations continue for the Oct. 9 ESPN Thursday night clash against Kentucky (7:30 p.m., Williams-Brice Stadium).

Comments from head coach Lou Holtz: "Going early like this gives them 2 1/2 days away from football and away from me. This morning was like a Monday practice. We worked on the kicking game and went over the game plan for Kentucky. The players came out in good spirits. The coaches weren't in such a good mood ... I thought we accomplished a lot this week. I thought our offensive and defensive lines got better. I'm a little disappointed with how we're playing the ball on pass defense and that concerns me having to face a quarterback that is so talented like Jared Lorenzen (UK's record-setting quarterback). I think the open date comes at a good time. It gives us good preparation time for Kentucky and also gives us some time to look at the younger players. Cody Wells has caught my eye at safety. Some of our young linebackers, Ryan Brown and Curtis Rice, have looked impressive. Charles Silas has been outstanding. We'll see how well we respond when we play next week."

Injury update: DE George Gause (knee sprain) is still listed as doubtful for Kentucky; WR Troy Williamson (quad strain) is probable; DL Eric Stroman (foot) is probable; LB Ricardo Hurley (ankle) is probable.

Early Birds: Most of the players said they didn't mind getting up early to practice. "It reminded me a lot of winter workouts," said offensive lineman Jeff Barnes. "Once we got out there and moved around some, it wasn't that bad." Jabari Levey, sophomore offensive lineman, said he set his alarm for 4:45 a.m. "I only hit the snooze button once," said Levey, "then I got up." Senior offensive tackle Travelle Wharton said he was going home to Hillcrest Friday afternoon to watch his younger brother, Kayshawn, play his high school game. Some of the younger players were going home, but the majority of the upperclassmen indicated they were staying around Columbia this weekend. The coaches will go out recruiting on Friday and have Saturday off.

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