J. Lindsey To Miss Season Opener
"We were about an hour late getting out, but we got a little bit done," said Steve Spurrier. "We'll do a little bit more than usual on Friday. We don't play until Saturday night so we've got plenty of time to rest up."
The status of defensive end Jordin Lindsey was finally resolved on Thursday, albeit only temporarily. The Gamecocks are still waiting to hear if the NCAA will clear Lindsey to play, so he will not dress on Saturday.
"Lindsey's not going to suit up this week," said Spurrier. "His appeal will not be finalized, so he's not suiting up. He's out this game."
Lindsey was listed at second on the depth chart. His absence means other players will have to fill the void. Spurrier said several players, including freshmen Cliff Matthews and Clifton Geathers would see action in Lindsey's place. Spurrier acknowledged being disappointed the defense will be without one of its seniors, but, perhaps because the decision was not a surprise, he was not to hard on Lindsey.
"We're always disappointed when one doesn't make it academically," Spurrier said. "It doesn't happen very often around here. He's got no one but himself to blame, so we can't sit around and feel sorry for him."
In the first game of the season, there is a lot of guesswork about what a team will try to do. With that in mind, Spurrier is not totally sure what he will see from Louisiana-Lafayette's defense. He does, however, have one expectation of the Ragin' Cajuns.
"I expect them to try to win the game," he said. "I expect them to try to do anything within the rules to win the game. That's what we're going to do to."
It is asking a lot for a college football team to be firing on all cylinders for its first game of the year. There is only so much that can be simulated on the practice fields. Starting slow has plagued Carolina since Spurrier arrived, although it has not cost the Gamecocks a win in the two season openers under the Head Ball Coach. Spurrier refused to make a prediction on whether the Gamecocks would have a better start this year.
"I don't know," he said. "We'll have to play and find out if it's real ragged or real good. We'll just have to go play."
All eyes have been on the freshmen wide receivers during camp, as everyone's waited on them to separate themselves. None of the young guns have particularly stood out, though, and only Chris Culliver cracked the two-deep, at kick returner. After injuring his knee in the opening practice, Joseph Hills was penciled in for a redshirt early on. On Thursday, Spurrier added another player to that list. He said that the plan currently is to redshirt Dion Lecorn, although it is not guaranteed.
"He got sick during preseason, so he got behind those other freshman receivers," Spurrier explained. "Right now he's not planned to play too much."
Steve Spurrier Call-in-show Notes
Spurrier held his weekly call-in-show on Thursday night, answering a number of questions from fans regarding USC's much anticipated season opener against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday night.
One of the main topics of discussion, as always, was the status of USC's offensive line heading into the season opener. However, Spurrier, who has criticized the line at times in pre-season camp, said confidently, "We are better on the offensive line this year." He went on to praise the offensive line for being the most dedicated unit on the team throughout summer workouts.
Spurrier specifically noted the play of converted defensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre, who is currently pushing senior James Thompson for the starting right guard spot. When referencing the progress of Jeanpierre this pre-season, Spurrier stated, "I've got a feeling he's going to end up playing a whole lot (this season)."
The Head Ball Coach drew the loudest applause of the night when mentioning a recent conversation that he had with freshman signal-caller Stephen Garcia about redshirting this season. When recalling that conversation, Spurrier said he told Garcia, "I'm planning on being here five years from now. So why don't you just redshirt?" The enthusiastic crowd in attendance at the on-site broadcast erupted with cheers, acknowledging Spurrier's long term commitment to the South Carolina football program.
Spurrier noted that true freshman receivers Matt Clements, Jason Barnes, Chris Culliver and Mark Barnes will all see the field this year, but he seemed especially optimistic about USC's improvement at the tight end position since last season. "We've got more tight ends than we've ever had," said Spurrier. "Andy Boyd is our starter. He's our best blocker, (and) Jared Cook and Weslye Saunders have gone in there and made a bunch of catches this preseason."
"We've upgraded our tight end position tremendously, and hopefully that will translate to more production offensively."
Continuing with the offensive theme, Spurrier gave his veteran backfield tandem of Cory Boyd and Mike Davis the ultimate compliment, saying, "I think we've got, as a twosome, the best two running backs in the country."
- Kickoff for Saturday's game is set for 7:05 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis throughout the state of South Carolina.
- Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 6:45 p.m. on Saturday to hear a "special message" during the pre-game festivities.
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