Pre-LSU Tuesday USC Football Practice Report

Columbia, S.C. - * South Carolina took advantage of the fall break from classes Tuesday, with a film session and walk-though instruction session in the morning followed by a full-scale practice in the afternoon. The weather forced the Gamecocks indoors for the walkthrough, but by 3 p.m., the rain had subsided and partly sunny skies provided the backdrop to the afternoon practice ...

* The Gamecocks enter this Saturday's game against #10 LSU at less than full strength. OT Travelle Wharton is questionable with an ankle sprain; DE George Gause is doubtful with a knee sprain; S Jamacia Jackson is doubtful with a low back strain; C John Strickland is probable with a knee bruise; S Rodriques Wilson is probable with a turf toe; CB Ted Crawford is probable with a pulled groin.

* Coach Lou Holtz said he is uncertain if Wharton will be available for the LSU game. "I know Travelle wants to play," said Holtz. "If he was 140 pounds, his ankle could hold up, but he's 305. I could play on his ankle, but he certainly couldn't play on mine."

* Coach Holtz said that he hopes the Gamecocks can be more productive at the wide receiver position, particularly at the split end position. "We haven't been productive enough there. We're thinking about looking at Matthew Thomas at the split end position. He's been our most productive receiver."

* When asked about LSU coach Nick Saban, Coach Holtz said: "He's an excellent coach. I've followed his career over the years and he's had success wherever he's been. His teams play hard and play physical. Their defensive scheme is complicated and diverse."

* Coach Holtz said he believes LSU's defense, which ranks among the top in virtually all of the SEC categories, is playing exceptionally well right now. "I'd say at this stage, they (LSU) are better defensively than Tennessee was. They have excellent speed. Many of their players would be outstanding track athletes."

* Coach Holtz said that senior tight end Hart Turner had settled into his position the past few weeks. "Hart struggled early on," said Holtz. "You've got to remember, though, that we didn't throw to him much at all for the first three years. He looked like a converted offensive lineman at the beginning of the year. He was a good prospect from day one. The defensive coaches really wanted him to play defensive end."

* South Carolina and LSU will meet Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium on ESPN2. Kickoff is set for 7:45 p.m.

* Bowl scouts scheduled to be in attendance Saturday include the Nokia Sugar Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and the Capital One Bowl.

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