Spurrier: Gamecocks need to play faster

The Gamecocks practiced in full pads on Wednesday in preparation for their SEC opener against the Georgia Bulldogs. The game is scheduled to start at 7:06 pm Saturday evening and will be nationally televised on ESPN2. Coach Steve Spurrier stated that he and the offensive coaches are pushing the players to practice and play faster, something he considers imperative for success against SEC teams.

"We had just an average practice today, nothing special," began Spurrier. "I wish our guys would practice a little faster. We're always yelling at them telling them to move faster and quicker. I wish they'd do it on their own a little bit better."

Spurrier believes that practicing faster would translate into the Gamecocks playing faster in games.

"You know if we practiced real fast on offense and threw and caught the ball precisely, we could probably do it in a game."

When the South Carolina offense takes the field against Georgia's defense, which has held the Gamecocks to less than 16 points in each of the past eight contests, playing quick will be of the utmost importance, according to the Head Ball Coach.

"Georgia's defense is pretty similar to the way they always are. We haven't been able to score too many points against them in the past, so if we want to gain some yards and hit some passes, we better play fast and the ball has got to go fast through the air. Occasionally, we've done that in practice, but not as often as I wish we could."

After having been a part of two Gamecock teams that have played Georgia, receiver Dion LeCorn echoed his coach's comments and claims he's told the young South Carolina receivers they've got to be ready to play at a fast pace.

"I just told the (young receivers) that you've got to play 100 miles an hour. It's an SEC game, we'll be playing at Georgia, and it's just a whole different speed."

Playing faster will be dependent on the play of Stephen Garcia, and the Gamecock starting quarterback has struggled at times with getting rid of the ball on time and allowing the play to develop before he decides to scamper out of the pocket and attempt to gain yards on his own.

"(Garcia) has done a little bit better, but at times he leaves the pocket when he doesn't need to. That's just what he did in high school, and it's just hard to break that bad habit," proclaimed Spurrier.

South Carolina's fifth-year head coach thinks if the redshirt sophomore quarterback can shake off the bad habit he developed in high school, he can have a big game.

"When he does break (the habit), learns to stay in the pocket, and throw to the right receiver he will have a really good game for us. He hasn't done it yet, but we hope it's going to happen really soon."

Giles learns a lot from first game

Perhaps what will be remembered most about Jarvis Giles' first game as a Gamecock will be the carry in which he backtracked and ended up losing six yards, rather than his impressive 24 yard run later in the contest. Giles says he's learning things like that, which he could do high school, don't necessarily work on the big time college football level.

"That was just a high school mistake I made. I could've gotten away with that on Friday nights last year, but in the SEC you just can't do that. You won't see that from me anymore," promised the true freshman running back.

Running backs coach Jay Graham believes that Giles was able to grow up a lot after that mistake, and he is happy the youngster is making progress.

"I said a few words to him and that I can't tell you, but overall I just told him that you can't do that in this level of football. He had to grow up and I think he grew up instantly. With that happening in a big game, on national television, I think he now understands what we want out of him and what we expect to happen."

In regards to Giles keeping his head up and bouncing back to make a big run later in the game, Graham says that big gain speaks volumes about the young tailback's character.

"That says a lot about his attitude and the type of young man he is. You know he's only been here since January and he's still a freshman so things like that happen."

Giles' maturity, Graham added, is well beyond his years, and USC's first-year running backs coach expects that to help the youngster's progression towards becoming a better tailback.

"Jarvis has really matured more than the average freshman and I'm excited about him. I want him to continue to focus on what he has to do, and that's exactly what he's been doing. I can only see him improving from here."

Other than learning about running north and south, Giles believes that he became better acclimated to the college game and now is more comfortable after playing in last Thursday night's opener against N.C. State on national television.

"It was nerve wracking last week playing in my first college football game, and since it was on national television I was pretty nervous," said the Tampa, Florida native. "But now that I've got (the first game) under my belt, I'm just really pumped about our game on Saturday. I feel more comfortable and I know the plays a lot better, so I think I'll be good heading into this game."

LeCorn looks to contribute in first game back from injury

Dion LeCorn was in uniform for the N.C. State last week, but Saturday's game against Georgia will be the first time he'll look to be a contributor this season. The junior receiver declined to say whether or not he's 100% healthy, but rather that his leg is good enough to play on and he's going to give it a go on Saturday.

"It's a high enough percentage to play on," responded LeCorn regarding the status of the leg he broke in the Garnet and Black spring game. "I can run full speed and I'm definitely going to play (against Georgia)."

The Ocala, Florida native hopes his talent and experience can help boost a struggling Gamecock offense against the Bulldogs. LeCorn leads all Gamecock receivers with five career touchdowns catches, and is second to only senior Moe Brown in both receiving yards and receptions.

"It feels good to be back a part of the offense. Hopefully I can finally bring something to the team and play my part after having to sit out for a while," stated LeCorn.

LeCorn was then asked if he was going to try and duplicate the outstanding performance that Oklahoma State All-American receiver Dez Bryant had against the Bulldogs.

"Nah, I'm going to try and do what Dion LeCorn can do against them," he exclaimed with a big smile.


- Spurrier announced that Moe Brown, Jason Barnes, Alshon Jeffery, Dion LeCorn, Tori Gurley, and D.L. Moore are the six primary receivers that the Gamecocks plan to use against the Bulldogs.

- All five running backs will travel with the team to Athens, but Spurrier only expects three will play. Those three are expected to be Brian Maddox, Jarvis Giles, and Kenny Miles.

- Eric Norwood and Cliff Matthews were praised by Spurrier in regards to leading the defensive charge for preparations against Georgia. Defensive tackles Travian Robertson and Nathan Pepper were also given credit by Spurrier.

- Spurrier mentioned the strong performance by linebacker Shaq Wilson after he was forced to replace Rodney Paulk who was lost for the season with an injury. "Shaq's a good player, and he had a great game after Rodney went down. Occasionally he'll take on those 300 lb. linemen, but obviously he's better at running guys. He's just a good tough tackler."

- Spurrier commented on the recent injuries to players such as Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham who decided to forgo the NFL draft and return to college for another season, by saying the following: "We tell all of our players that if they are going to be first round draft picks then they should enter the draft. Some of our guys that left got drafted in the seventh round or signed as free agents. If you're a first rounder then we understand. I think (Southern Cal head Coach) Pete Carroll tells his guys the same thing. But it's a personal decision, and you've got to live with it."

- The team will practice one more time on Thursday before leaving for Georgia on Friday.

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