Gamecocks Begin Bowl Preparations

The Gamecocks began preparations for the Liberty Bowl on Saturday with a pair of practices. After the second session finished up, coach Steve Spurrier spoke with the media about what the next two weeks have in store.



Like many teams across the country, the coaches have to look over the roster to find out which players are still around. Transfers, academic shortcomings, and the occasional bolt to the NFL can quickly reshape a roster. So far, the Gamecocks appear to be in good shape academically. However, players have been lost to the other two threats. Quarterback Cade Thompson has decided to transfer, and has left the team while he looks for a new school. Coach Spurrier noted that Carolina is just one of many programs every year that sees a quarterback leave after the season.

"Quarterbacks transfer," he said. "You sign three or four quarterbacks and maybe there's a better opportunity for those players to go play somewhere else. That's what they should do; they should enjoy college football. If they get stuck behind one or two guys, then they should transfer. I think that's about the only position that should. Quarterback is a unique position. If you get behind a couple [players], you may never get a chance to play."

The other player leaving the team is junior defensive tackle Stanley Doughty. Doughty announced his intentions to enter the NFL draft late in the season, and has made the decision official. With those intentions in mind, Doughty is no longer practicing with the team and will not make the trip to Memphis.

Spurrier confirmed that several underclassmen players have filed paperwork with the NFL to gauge their draft status. However, he refused to identify the players who had requested information. He did claim that Jasper Brinkley is not one of the players who filed paperwork. Some scouts have considered Brinkley the best NFL prospect on the team. The NFL allows players to request information about where they would likely be picked if they were to enter the draft without giving up remaining college eligibility.

The Gamecocks have a relatively brief bowl practice schedule compared to some teams. Spurrier explained that he is concerned with over-practicing. "Sometimes you can practice too much. Clemson had a week off before our game and we were in the indoor facility for two days," he said, noting how much more practice Clemson had before the game they eventually lost. "Two weeks of practice is plenty to get ready."

Spurrier also weighed in on some of the recent talk, some by Spurrier himself, about the seniors not playing hard enough in the Independence Bowl last year. "No one is blaming last year's seniors on us getting beat in Shreveport," he stressed. "We all got beat; the whole team got beat. Nobody's blaming any one group. We were all bad: coaches, players, managers, trainers. We didn't do very well, and we're going to try to do better this year in the bowl game."


Notes:

- Cory Boyd wore a yellow no-contact jersey. He is still nursing a broken hand, and is being held out of contact until it heals. Spurrier said Boyd would be ready for the Liberty Bowl.

- Spurrier congratulated Eric Norwood for receiving several freshman honors recently. "We're proud of Eric. He's played pretty well this year. We expect him to play better in the future."

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