Spurrier looking for sharper play against UT

The Gamecocks returned to the "Proving Grounds" on Wednesday night, continuing preparaions for the Tennessee Volunteers and the famed defense of Monte Kiffin. Coach Steve Spurrier was on hand after practice to discuss his matchup with the defensive guru, as well as the progress of his team as they head toward Saturday's showdown.

"It's a beautiful day today compared to yesterday, weather was perfect," noted Spurrier after practice. "Hopefully it'll be that way Saturday over there (in Knoxville)."

Just like the perfect weather in Columbia on Wednesday, the Gamecocks will need a near perfect effort from Stephen Garcia and the entire offense if they hope to have success against Monte Kiffin's defensive unit. Not only is USC facing the famed "Tampa 2" designed by Kiffin, the Gamecocks must also deal with All-American safety Eric Berry.

However, Spurrier downplayed his matchup against the elder Kiffin, and said it will be up to the players which team comes out on top.

"I've coached against him (with) the Redskins," said Spurrier. "Yeah I don't know, I'm looking forward to seeing if our guys can play better, that's what I'm looking forward to doing. We haven't played real sharply lately, so hopefully we can play without penalties and play well. We're going to need to if we're going to have a good chance to beat them."

With only one more full practice remaining before the team travels up to Knoxville, the Gamecocks will have to show some improvement from their practice on Wednesday evening. Spurrier said that his players are close to being ready, but have to be better in order to win.

He stated, "We had a so-so practice. (Stephen's) doing okay, everybody's doing okay. Hopefully we can play a little sharper than we've been playing, and we're going to need to."

Right now, Gamecock fans will just have to ponder the matchup between two of the brightest minds in college football. Whether Monte's defense or Spurrier's offense will come out on top, well we'll just have to wait and see.


- Spurrier said that wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was sent home sick from practice today, but he hoped it was just a one day illness, and expected him back tomorrow.

- Receiver Moe Brown has been cleared to play Saturday against the Vols. Moe was one player who seemed particularly excited at yesterday's press conference for the chance to go up against the man who made the "gas pumping" comments.

- Running backs coach Jay Graham said he will be comfortable in Neyland Stadium on Saturday night, having spent so much time there as a player and graduate assistant. Still, he said he was unsure of what to expect from his first trip back there as a coach.

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