Focused Gamecocks Prep For Vandy

With the state fair lighting up the night sky, the Gamecocks returned to the practice fields on Monday evening after enjoying the weekend off.

It was back to business for the Gamecocks on Monday night, as they began preparations for a much improved Vanderbilt team that is fresh off a road upset of the Georgia Bulldogs this past weekend. Despite the fair being in full swing across the street, the players went through a focused and spirited practice that has Coach Spurrier excited about the second half of the season.

"Everybody came back in good health," Spurrier said. Topping the list of the formerly wounded is Mike West. "Mike West was practicing a little bit tonight," said the Ball Coach. The fastest player on the team, West was expected to provide an explosive option on offense alongside wide receivers Sidney Rice and Kenny McKinley. However, he suffered a hamstring injury before the season started, and has yet to play a significant snap. Also returning to practice were Cory Boyd, Andy Boyd, and Web Brown.

Despite sitting at home in front of their television sets, the Gamecocks had a good weekend on the field. With the loss to Vanderbilt, Georgia dropped to 2-2 in the SEC, and into a tie with Carolina. Florida's loss to Auburn dropped them to 4-1, only one game ahead of Carolina in the loss column. The Gamecocks still need help if they hope to win the SEC East, but they are in much better shape than they were a week ago. They would likely have to win out, a challenging proposition. As Spurrier pointed out, though, "We were a long shot last year" when the team won five straight games to close out the conference schedule. Spurrier is careful not to get ahead of himself, saying, "One game at a time with Vandy, and we'll see where we are after that."

Annually, Gamecock fans and probably many players, sit down at the beginning of the season and look through the schedule, projecting wins and losses. One of those wins is always Vanderbilt. After the Commodores won at Georgia, going to Nashville no longer seems like a sure win. Coach Spurrier promises that the team never took Vanderbilt lightly, and certainly will not now. "We tried our best to be Wofford," he said, "and they almost beat us, so we don't have to worry about taking anybody lightly. We respect everybody we play. We know we have to play well if we're going to win. We're not good enough to just show up and beat anybody."

Kickoff for Saturday's game between South Carolina and Vanderbilt is set for 3 p.m. (EST), and the game will be available on a pay-per-view basis throughout the state of South Carolina.

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