Gamecocks Begin Preparations For Vols

The Gamecocks returned to the practice fields on Monday night for the first time since scoring their fifth straight SEC road win against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday afternoon. Coach Steve Spurrier stated that in preparation for the other team from the state of Tennessee, the scout team broke out orange practice jerseys this evening.

"We try to wear the jersey of the other team," Spurrier explained. "That's the Tennessee big orange; they're coming to town." The Volunteers are playing as well as any team in the SEC, and will be Carolina's stiffest test so far this season. Spurrier said there is a simple reason for why this year's team is playing so much better than the team that suffered its first ever home loss to the Gamecocks last year. "They're getting more points." Spurrier gushed with praise for the Volunteer offense, but also mentioned their talented defense. "Their offense is so much better than last year it's not even funny. I think they're leading the conference in scoring and passing and a bunch of stuff. Their defense has always been very good."

Spurrier has a well-known history with Tennessee, and has frequently been a thorn in the side of Coach Phil Fulmer. When asked if he particularly enjoyed playing against Tennessee, Spurrier was coy, saying, "I like playing in big games. If you keep winning, the games get bigger. If you lose, they're not very big. It's a huge game for us and Tennessee."

Both Carolina and Tennessee remain in the hunt for the SEC East title. However, the Volunteers appear to be more of a threat to claim the title than the Gamecocks. Carolina would have to win out, which would include wins over two top ten teams. Spurrier acknowledged that USC still has a lot to prove. "The five victories, we realize, have not been against anybody with a winning record. We haven't beaten a top team. We played one close [Auburn], and played the other one pretty close, but the score didn't show it [Georgia]. I believe every game stands on its own merit; how you prepare that week, how you play, so we'll see what happens."

As GamecockAnthem first reported Sunday night, ESPN College Gameday will be broadcast from Columbia on Saturday morning, recognizing the South Carolina - Tennessee match up as the premier college football game in America this weekend. This will mark the fourth time in five years that Gameday has broadcast from Columbia, and the second straight week they will broadcast from the Palmetto State. Spurrier is glad for the attention. "It's always good to get some good national attention here in Columbia. Hopefully our team's ready to play our best home game of the year, or our best game of the year. If we do that, we think we have a chance."

Spurrier went on to say that mistakes could decide the game. "If we play with a lot of turnovers and errors, and squander opportunities, we won't have much of a chance. We're going to try to play our best and see what happens." Part of the Gamecocks playing their best is relying on their defense. "Our defense is playing well; I think we're second in the conference in scoring defense. We've got to play well defensively if we're going to have a good record." Twins Casper and Jasper Brinkley are leading the way defensively, and Casper was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance against Vanderbilt. "He did have an excellent game," Spurrier said, "and it's nice to see he's recognized."

Notes: During the game against Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks shuffled their offensive line. Jamon Meredith moved from right tackle to left tackle, and Justin Sorensen replaced him at right tackle. Spurrier said they would likely start with that same lineup, including Seth Edwards at right guard.

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