Gamecocks continue preparations for Clemson

The Gamecocks hit the practice fields on Wednesday afternoon in continued preparation for this weekend's showdown against arch-rival Clemson. They had another strong practice, and Head Coach Steve Spurrier appears optimistic about Saturday's game. Read inside for a full report on Wednesday's workout.


Before he talked about the day's practice, Spurrier sought to clarify something he said in his press conference on Tuesday. In that press conference, Spurrier said that the Gamecocks' attitude "stinks." Spurrier said he was talking about effort, not mentality, and he wanted to correct that.

"We were associating attitude with the level of play of our team, and I meant to say that our effort level at times stinks," he said. "It came out 'our attitude stinks,' but the attitude of our guys is pretty good. It could be a little better, but the overall attitude is good. We don't have problems with our guys. Our effort level needs to improve. That would have been a better word than ‘stinks.' Our effort level needs to improve, there's no question about that. I said it wrong and I told our team I was mistaken."

The obvious question, then, is whether Carolina has shown good effort in practice this week. In fact, Spurrier said that he was very pleased with the effort level on Wednesday.

"The effort level today was pretty good," said Spurrier. "Guys were flying around, and had good spirits. I like the way they were enjoying practice."

Spurrier did announce a trio of lineup changes for Saturday. All three are on the defensive side of the ball, where the Gamecocks are looking to reclaim their early season success. Cornerbacks Stoney Woodson and Addison Williams and defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis will all start for the Gamecocks on Saturday night.

"Kenrick Ellis is going to get a start at one of the tackles," Spurrier confirmed. "He'll replace Marque [Hall], and Ladi [Ajiboye] will be the other tackle. He's getting off blocks and playing with effort in there. That's why he's getting the start."

At one point, a reporter suggested to Spurrier that he might have an issue getting his players to believe they had something left to play for. Spurrier laughed at the idea, and reminded everyone just what is on the line Saturday.

"Shoot, we've got a bowl game, seven wins... we've got a lot on the line," he said. "We've got everything to play for."

Then, for emphasis, he reminded reporters that he had said proudly that when Carolina beat North Carolina for its sixth win, there was no party in Five Points to celebrate becoming bowl eligible.

"I assure you in the future when we get six wins we're going to go do cartwheels down in Five Points," he joked. "We maybe got a little overconfident that six was easy to get to. We've had our chances. We haven't played very well, and we're going to try to play our best one of the year. We're going to need to to have a chance against Clemson."

He then added that he has not felt the need to emphasize what a win could do for USC's bowl hopes.

"We don't talk about that; we're talking about trying to play better," Spurrier said. "That's the only thing we need to worry about. All that other stuff will take care of itself."


Boyd gearing up for final home game at USC

Senior running back Cory Boyd will be playing against Clemson for the final time this weekend. On top of that, the game will be his final contest at Williams-Brice Stadium, and possibly the final game of his college career. He talked Wednesday about what it would mean if he could end his career with a win.

"It would mean a lot for the Carolina fans and our teammates and the young guys that really don't know the tradition of it," he said. He added that he is not interested in hearing about the Gamecocks' poor record against their rivals. "All I remember is the one from last year. The rest of them I don't pay too much attention to."

Along with all the other seniors, Boyd will be honored before the game. He admitted that it will be an emotional moment for him, although he is not quite sure how he will react.

"I can say I'm going to be the tough guy, and I'm not going to cry, and not going to show any emotion," said Boyd. "Once you get out there you really get to the point where you realize that it may be your last. I can't speak for how I'm going to feel later."

At one point, a reporter asked Boyd if he liked Clemson. Boyd asked quizzically, "Who?" Pressed on the matter, he laughed and said again, "Who?"

"I'm just ready to go out there and beat those... I don't know them other guys. I don't even want to say their names."

A bit later, while discussing the game, Boyd accidentally said the word "Clemson." As soon as it left his mouth, he paused, disgusted at himself for uttering the forbidden word.

Like Spurrier, Boyd admitted that there is a lot riding on this game. If Carolina wins, it would be the first time they have notched consecutive wins over the Tigers since 1969-1970. It would also give them seven wins and guarantee a bowl bid for the Gamecocks. All that pressure could potentially overwhelm the Gamecocks.

"We try not to think about it," Boyd said. "We're just going to take it one game at a time. It's not something we need to sit and put too much pressure on. We know what we've got to do, and we know our season slipped away at times. We're in the same position we were in last year, and that's the best part about it. We really haven't taken any steps back. Once we started losing, a lot of people negated the fact that we're still a young team. We've got a lot to learn. We could still end the season with an 8-5 record."


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