Gamecock Continue Preparations For Arkansas

The Gamecocks went through a normal midweek practice on Wednesday evening, as they continued preparations for Saturday's match up with the 12th ranked Arkansas Razorbacks. The biggest news of the day was that injured quarterback Syvelle Newton returned to practice.

Newton suffered a mild concussion during the second quarter of last week's game against Tennessee. He experienced headaches in the days following the game, but Carolina's medical staff cleared him to resume practice Wednesday. "Syvelle had a good day today," Coach Steve Spurrier said. "He was pitching the ball around and running, and he looked 100% ready to go."

The Gamecocks will get their fourth chance this year to knock off a team ranked in the Top 15. They are 0-3 thus far, despite having come within a single score in two of those games. Spurrier admitted that there is some frustration over coming close, but failing to get the win. "Yeah, it's frustrating when you're close. We lost a couple that we coulda, woulda, [won], … but we didn't win." The Gamecocks should not be feeling sorry for themselves, though. "Like I told the guys today, we're 5-3," Spurrier explained. "We might could have been better, but 5-3 is not all that terrible. There are a lot of teams out there 2-6, 1-7, 4-4 or whatever. We're doing ok. We're still in the building process around here, but we're still in position to have a very good season." Furthermore, the close games provide a learning experience for the young Gamecocks. "You try to learn from them," Spurrier explained. "You look back as coaches, and wish we'd called this or that."

After a dismal performance by the special teams against Tennessee, Carolina will make a few changes for this week's contest. More starters could play on the coverage units, but the most visable change could come with the returners. Spurrier said some new players would get consideration this week. "Sidney may go back there on punt returns. He's very capable there. Mike West may go back there on kickoff return." Another player who could factor in the mix is Bobby Wallace. "I wish we could get Bobby out there more," said Spurrier. "He needs to play somewhere. He was back there for a while." Spurrier then scanned the practice fields and joked, "I don't know why Coach Chatham didn't put him back there. That's a good idea; I think I'll ask Coach Chatham."

Earlier on Wednesday, the SEC told USC that it could no longer play the rooster crow on third downs. As one would expect, Coach Spurrier was largely unconcerned with the ruling. At one point he had to ask when exactly the crow is played. "If I'm wearing the headset I can't hear much at all," he explained. He did offer his opinion on the matter, saying, "You can't do artificial. We don't do the cock crow to create noise to upset the other team. Usually that's when they crack down on artificial noisemakers. The band plays in between plays everywhere we go. Even at home, the opponent's band plays all the time."

The team will conclude preparations for Arkansas with a workout on Thursday afternoon.

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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