USC continues preparations for S.C. State

The Gamecocks continued preparations for this weekend's home matchup against S.C. State on Wednesday afternoon, practicing under rainy skies and enjoying the cooler temperatures. Read inside for an in depth report on Wednesday's workout.


Steve Spurrier said the rain was a welcome relief from the heat that normally shows up.

"It was a little bit of a drizzly day," he said. "It felt pretty good. The guys appreciated the cool weather a little bit."

The concern for the Gamecocks this week is guarding against a letdown, but Spurrier promised that there would be no overlooking South Carolina State.

"South Carolina State, I know they're looking forward to it, and we are too," he said. "A lot of times we don't talk a whole lot about the opponent. We didn't talk a whole lot about our first game against Louisiana-Lafayette, and we didn't really talk a lot about Georgia. We just talk about what's necessary to try to win the game. The only thing we can control is how we play. That's really our attitude. We're trying to play every week a little better than the last week. Good teams do that. We're going to try to be a good team. So we should play better than we played against Georgia, simple as that. We should play better the next week than this week and so forth. That's what we try to do."

Spurrier went on to say that he reminds his team that every game counts the same in the standings.

"They all count the same. At the end of the year they say what your record is," he said. "This is one of twelve games, so we'll play as hard as we can. We've got our starters ready to play the whole game."

Monday evening, Spurrier said that two defensive linemen, Kenrick Ellis and Terrance Campbell, would be making the switch to the offensive line. After further consideration, only one of the pair has made the switch. Campbell did make the transition, and is currently a backup guard, while Ellis remains on the defensive side of the ball.

"Kenrick is still working with the defense, and hopefully he can get in [the game] there," Spurrier said. "He looks pretty doggone good in practice. He's too valuable on defense, I think, right now."

There were several updates on injured players Wednesday. Running back Bobby Wallace, who has been out with a shoulder injury, was at practice without a sling, meaning he could be close to returning. However, Spurrier said the coaching staff could decide to redshirt Wallace, rather than use him for only half a season.

"Right now Cory [Boyd] and Mike [Davis] are very healthy, and Brian Maddox is playing well," he explained. "There might be a chance we can hold Bobby [out] this year."

Backup quarterback Chris Smelley will miss his second consecutive game with a shoulder sprain. He was expected to resume throwing this week in practice, but his shoulder is healing slower than expected. Wide receiver Chris Culliver was expected to return to practice Wednesday, but his injured ankle is also healing slowly. Spurrier initially said Culliver would be out this weekend, but later revised that assessment, saying a decision would be made closer to game time.


Cook excited to be back in action

Strong safety Emanuel Cook was a surprise contributor against Georgia. Just two weeks removed from having his appendix removed, and with a single day of practice under his belt, Cook was cleared Saturday morning to play.

"It felt good to be back with the team, to get a couple of hits in, and get comfortable again," he said, while admitting he did not really have a chance to be involved in the game planning for Georgia.

The lack of preparation may have made it even more impressive that he played linebacker, not safety, on several snaps. Cook does not expect to make a habit of playing linebacker, saying it was just a situational requirement for Georgia. He estimated that he played 12 plays, but promised he would play "much more" this weekend. When he was asked if he had any lingering soreness from the surgery, he said the lack of practice was worse.

"Everywhere else was sore except for my stomach," he said. "I feel pretty good. I was fine."

The playing time came as a surprise to many of his friends from back home in Miami. He received a number of supportive phone calls following the game, although he also heard a lot about the Miami Hurricanes' blowout loss at Oklahoma.

"Miami didn't recruit me, so [my friends] are kind of happy [Miami lost]," he said.

Cook is still facing charges over his gun possession incident, and said he is not supposed to comment on the situation. He gives the impression that the football field is a haven for him right now. When asked if he had learned anything from his ordeal, which has been characterized by Spurrier as a "wrong place at the wrong time" situation, Cook was succinct.

"Be in the right place at the right time," he said. "Stop being around people you [don't] need to be around, and bring unnecessary attention."


Notes:

- When Spurrier was told an S.C. State player had claimed he will get four sacks on the Gamecocks this weekend, the Head Ball Coach replied, "Well, he probably watched those Georgia guys go through us pretty quickly."

- Garrett Anderson, Lemuel Jeanpierre, and Gurminder Thind will continue to rotate at the two offensive guard positions.


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