Inclement Weather Forces Gamecocks Indoors

On Wednesday, while most South Carolina fans were busy preparing for Thanksgiving, Coach Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks were hard at work preparing for the upcoming showdown against Clemson.

The winter weather that invaded Columbia the past two days did not prevent Carolina from going through a productive practice on Wednesday afternoon. The team practiced in the indoor facility, where they could focus on the game plan instead of the rain. "The weather was terrible, as everybody knows, so we got some pretty good work in the indoor (facility)," Spurrier said. "I think our players enjoyed going in there, especially in this inclement weather. This is probably the worst two days in a row since I've been here."

Practicing in the indoor facility forces the coaches to adjust how they run practice. While they have two full fields to work with at the Proving Grounds, they only have about half of one field inside. Spurrier said the lack of space is not as much of a problem as some might think. "We've got almost 60 yards," he said, "so we were throwing it around, running plays. We'd take just the offense for an hour and then the defense for an hour. It worked out very well, [with] very little standing around."

Come Saturday, the game could be decided in the trenches. Carolina struggled on offense at the beginning of the season, but has played much better recently. Much of the improvement can be attributed to the offensive line, which has made tremendous strides. However, they may face their toughest challenge this weekend in Clemson's defensive end, Gaines Adams. Tackle Justin Sorensen is not sure exactly what to expect from the All-America candidate. "I played those guys in Florida, and they were pretty good," Sorensen said, "but apparently Gaines Adams is supposed to be even better. I guess I've never played anyone quite as good as him."

The same group will start along the offensive line for the fifth consecutive game, and Sorensen thinks that gives the Gamecocks an advantage. "It helps a lot, I think. I think it's big because the person you're playing with has to have some chemistry and be able to pass off [rushers]. You've got to be able to work with each other," he explained. "When you're switching who you're working with every week it's a little different. We've been together for a long time, and we all feel like we know what each other's going to do."

The defensive line also got some good news Wednesday. Stanley Doughty, who was suspended for the past due weekds due to attitude problems, will dress out on Saturday. Doughty will likely play against Clemson, and Spurrier guarantees it will make a difference for the Gamecocks. "We'll have a bigger team than we suited up the last game," he said. "He's a little heavier than he was the last time he suited up, but he's with us. Stanley's trying; he's trying to help us in there. Hopefully he can make a few plays here and there for us." There have been rumors that Doughty intends to transfer after the season, but Spurrier said Doughty actually intends to test the NFL Draft. "He's talking about going pro. If he does we'll certainly wish him good luck."

Saturday's match up between South Carolina and Clemson will be the 104th meeting on the gridiron between the two Palmetto State schools. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (EST), and the game will be nationally televised by ESPN.

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