Gamecocks Turn Focus To Arkansas

After Saturday's disappointing loss to Tennessee, the Gamecocks returned to the practice fields on Monday evening to begin preparatons for this weekend's crucial match up against #12 ranked Arkansas. However, they practiced without two key members of the team, as Syvelle Newton and Chris White both missed practice after suffering mild concussions on Saturday night.

"Syvelle had a little concussion so he took the night off," Spurrier explained. "He should be back tomorrow." Spurrier said that Newton was still experiencing headaches on Monday, so the training staff held him out of practice. Newton actually played much of the game with the concussion, and acquitted himself well. "He got hit in the second quarter, actually. He was all right. At halftime they checked him out, and he was okay. It was mostly a headache. He was a little queasy at halftime, but he was okay. We had Blake ready to go."

With Newton out, Blake Mitchell and Tommy Beecher alternated snaps during practice. Center Chris White, who briefly left the game Saturday, also sat out practice. "Chris had a concussion during the game," Spurrier said. "We held [him] out today. They [White and Newton] should be fine tomorrow."

Turning his focus to Arkansas, Spurrier raved about Razorback cornerback Chris Houston. The junior can allegedly bench press 400 pounds. "He's a tough young kid," said Spurrier. "I like watching him play. He's an aggressive player. He loves to play football. I wish we had more guys who act like they love to play. We have a few that really like to play, but not near enough right now."

On the other side of the ball, Carolina has to figure out how to stop the explosive Razorback rushing attack. The Hogs' rushing duo, featuring sophomores Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, is as explosive and talented as any pair in the country. When Spurrier was asked if he was concerned about trying to stop Arkansas' rushing game, he looked back in disbelief. "Concerns?" he said sarcastically. "They're the best running team in the conference. We'll try to tackle them the best we can, and get everybody up in there. Try to make them throw some."

Spurrier saved his harsh words for the fans. He was disappointed that many fans threw bottles onto the field following a fourth quarter pass to Sidney Rice on which he was held, but no flag was thrown. "They shouldn't do that," Spurrier mused. "I don't know why they wanted to do that, but hopefully we won't do that again. We never need to do that." Spurrier acknowledged that a flag probably should have been thrown, but refused to make a big deal over it. "Maybe the ref missed that one. They called about two or three interferences where we ended up catching the ball also. I didn't see their guys do anything so it's hard for me to start complaining at that point too much. Maybe they missed that one, but that was just one of many plays that cost us. Most of the plays that cost us were self-inflicted. We don't need to blame the refs about anything."

Spurrier's weekly press conference will be held on Tuesday afternoon, and the team will return to the practice fields for a workout on Tuesday night.

Saturday's game will be televised nationally by ESPN. Kickoff is set for 7:45 p.m. (EST) Saturday will mark the sixth time this season that the Gamecocks have been televised by either ESPN or ESPN 2.

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