Spurrier: Fans will like stadium improvements

Coach Steve Spurrier was in the Vista Thursday night, taking calls and commenting on his team's final preparations for Florida Atlantic this weekend. The Head Ball Coach commented on his team's excitement at returning home, special events taking place this weekend, and the status of several injured or suspended Gamecocks.

While it is no surprise that the Gamecocks should be excited about returning to Williams-Brice Stadium for the home opener, Spurrier said his team's enthusiasm is at an exceptionally high level this week. Commenting on the excitement of his players, Spurrier said, "To be playing in front of 80,000 Gamecocks should be (a huge) thrill for our players."

Not only will Gamecock fans be buzzing to see their team take the field in person, Spurrier also said fans will be pleased to see many improvements to the stadium. Spurrier noted that many former Gamecock greats will be honored with tributes around the stadium, and there will be a special ceremony at halftime.

"(Some improvements will be) names of record-holders: Todd Ellis, Steve Taneyhill, Kenny (McKinley), Sidney (Rice), JD Fuller, Eric Norwood, and Andrew Provence," he said. "We're going to honor some of all our all-time great Gamecocks at halftime," Spurrier elaborated. "It should be, hopefully, a very fun night."

Spurrier stated the improvements will be so drastic that many fans won't recognize the stadium.

Several fans have expressed their disappointment over the loss to Georgia, but Spurrier promised that better things are ahead for his team, hopefully starting this weekend against Florida Atlantic.

"We've had pretty good practice this week, we've tried to talk about playing twelve games this year the very best we can," Spurrier said. "(We) didn't play well enough, coach well enough, to win the game. That's all you can say about it."

Spurrier also emphasized the fact that the Gamecocks still have to change perceptions about their program, and work towards attracting national attention to South Carolina football.

"We've had this idea of a 'New Carolina.' We're going to play full speed the entire game, and see what happens," Spurrier proclaimed.

All in all, Spurrier said this is still a program in transition, but with the full cooperation of the players and coaches, a "New Carolina" is well on its way to becoming a reality.


- Defensive Tackle Melvin Ingram sprained his ankle in practice Tuesday, but will be okay for the game, according to Spurrier.

- Defensive end Cliff Matthews and safety Darian Stewart have neck stingers. Spurrier said that Matthews will play, while Stewart will be a game-time decision.

- Freshman wide receiver Alshon Jeffery missed Thursday's practice with a cold, but should be okay to play on Saturday night.

- Spurrier is still hopeful to get a play or two with Stephon Gilmore in the Wildcat package against Florida Atlantic.

- As far as suspended defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye is concerned, he has been practicing with the scout team, and will be ready to go next week against Ole Miss.

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