USC Football Practice Report - Tuesday 29 Oct 2002

It certainly wasn't the sharpest of practices for South Carolina Tuesday, as the Gamecocks continued preparations for their showdown against #25 Tennessee this Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. Head coach Lou Holtz said the longer the team practiced, the worse things got. ''I was convinced walking off the practice field, that practice was every bit as bad as I thought it was,'' said Holtz. ''I'm positive of that.'' Coach Holtz said that the passing game ...

... wasn't crisp and the execution of the offense was poor. "You need to have a sound practice on Tuesday and we didn't," said Holtz. "I'm going to look at the film tonight and find out why."

* Senior tailback/wide receiver Ryan Brewer continued rehab on his sprained left ankle Tuesday. Brewer spent more than an hour in the training room Tuesday morning. He is still on crutches and his foot is in a walking boot. Brewer is out for this week's game against Tennessee and a timetable for his return is undetermined at this time. Also expected to miss this Saturday's game is defensive end Jason Capers, who suffered an ankle sprain against Kentucky on Oct. 12 and did not play against LSU. Linebacker Lenny Williams strained his neck lifting weights, but he is expected to play Saturday against the Vols.

* Saturday's game against Tennessee will be televised nationally by CBS. Kickoff will be at 3:34 p.m. The game is a sell out.

* Here are some comments from Coach Lou Holtz from his teleconference interview Tuesday with the Tennessee media:

Q. Tennessee and>South Carolina have played some real close games the last couple of years, and this year looks to be another tough battle. What are your thoughts on the game this weekend?

A. "The last two years they have been very, very competitive games, but Tennessee has always made the plays at the end to win the game and we haven't. I really don't think we are as good this year as we have been the last two years because we lost so many seniors. We are just not real consistent at some different positions. We have had an open date and we have worked hard, and I like the attitude of the players. But whether were good enough or not, I don't know."

Q. What types of things does Corey Jenkins do for your offense?

A. "Corey is just a tough, physical football player and good competitor. He has a strong arm and exceptionally accurate for what you would think about a non-quarterback, because he is really a strong safety playing quarterback. He doesn't have enough experience at the quarterback position. He doesn't always read defenses well, but I think he has made a lot of progress in that respect. He is very, very competitive and a good leader. He has really done a very nice job for us."

Q. How do you look at your team as it prepares to head into these final four games?

A."It is very difficult but we know that when we are in the Southeastern Conference. We don't look any further than playing the University of Tennessee, because when you play Tennessee you may have a different team. You win and have no injuries, you have one football team; you lose and lose six players, you come out of it with a different football team. So each and every week in college football, I think you have a different team, mentally, physically and every which way. So we don't look at it in a four game schedule. We look at it as this is this game and see what happens and when it is over let's see where we are and who is eligible to play."

Q. What are your thoughts on Tennessee, which is a little different team than what you have seen in the last couple of years?

A."Coach Fulmer can address that better than I can. I think this is the same Tennessee team that I have seen over the years. Let's start with defense. They lost Henderson, Overstreet and Haynesworth off last year's team, but their defensive line is playing exceptionally well. Their linebackers are all the same. They are not the biggest people in the world, but they run exceptionally well and they tackle well. Three of their secondary people are back from last year.

"You look at their offensive line and they are as good as they have ever had. Look at Munoz, and their center who is outstanding. You look at Witten, their tight end. Then you have Clausen, who I think, is the best quarterback in the conference. I think he is completing 66 percent of his passes and has great peripheral vision. At wide receiver, you have Washington, who is a very talented receiver. So, then their kicking game is number one and their net punting is number four. You can always count on Tennessee to have a great kicking game.

"What they have done is lost some difficult games. They lose to the University of>Georgia and I honestly believe after watching that film they would not have lost to Georgia if they had Casey Clausen at quarterback. They lost to the University of>Alabama as I have mentioned. You look at the other game they lost was to the University of>Florida and that was in a driving downpour. I don't see a different Tennessee team. I see the same Tennessee team that I have seen in the four years that I have been here."

Q. What has been the most pleasing thing for you on your South Carolina team?

A."I think the way we have come together. We have 19 players who play an extensive amount who were not here in the winter program and weren't here in spring practice. They weren't even here for the summer program. So when you have a lot of people that don't know one another and don't understand how we coach and how we try to do things here. You come out of high school and you can get by with certain things and all of a sudden in college you can't. And players don't know what to expect from a teammate that hasn't been through the winter programs and summer programs and all of these other things. To watch this football team come together and to bond I think is the most encouraging thing."

Q. Has there been anything disappointing to you at this point?

A."I thought we would play a little bit better on defense, particularly on third down. Opponents are completing 44.6 percent of their third down conversions, whereas the University of Tennessee is 29 percent on third down defense.

"I think we have had 19 turnovers and I think only one team in the SEC has had more than that. Our quarterback has had about half of those. That has been disappointing."

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