Gamecocks healing up during bye week

With the Clemson game only ten days away, the South Carolina football team was back at work Wednesday night at the "Proving Grounds" off of Bluff Road. Even though they will be off this weekend, Coach Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks are already preparing for the rivalry game against Clemson on the 28th.

While the veteran Gamecock players may be getting a chance to heal in the first half of this week, the young players on the Carolina squad were battling it out Wednesday night, perhaps hoping to catch the eye of the coaches and earn more playing time against their bitter in-state rivals.

"Pretty good practice, the guy's spirits were pretty good," said Spurrier. "We had a little ‘Monday Night Football' here on Wednesday, Reid McCollum threw some good balls and Andrew Clifford threw some good ones. Some of our young receivers made some nice grabs. Defensively, they had some good plays here and there also. It's a chance to let some of these younger guys play some."

The rest earned during the bye week may be most important for healing a battered Gamecock defense. Defensive ends Cliff Matthews and Devin Taylor are working their way back to being full speed, and the Head Ball Coach said he expects his big playmaker Matthews at 100 percent next Saturday.

"He should be close to full speed, I think," stated Spurrier. "Devin's back practicing, so he'll be ready to play."

Right now the starting defensive ends are Clifton Geathers and Melvin Ingram, who made the transition from defensive tackle before the Florida game. Spurrier said that Ingram will likely stay at end for Clemson.

The Gamecock offense will also need its full complement of playmakers while facing a Clemson defense that has intercepted twenty passes so far this year. Spurrier said the key against the Tigers will be spreading the ball around to guys like Tori Gurley and Weslye Saunders, as well as budding superstar Alshon Jeffery.

"We always try to get the ball to everybody more, we just don't do it more," joked Spurrier. "Tori didn't get a pass, you should be asking about him. It's hard to get the ball to everybody, it's a team sport. Hopefully one of these days we'll have about 80 plays a game. We need to get a lot of plays and a lot of points and a lot of yards. We haven't been doing that very well."

For the second straight day, Spurrier was very complimentary of the Clemson defense, led by coordinator Kevin Steele.

"They've got good athletes, well coached, good defensive line, they're a good team," said Spurrier. "They rank in the top 15 or 20 in about every category in the country. So they're a very solid defensive team, and offensive team."

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