Gamecocks enjoy productive Wednesday workout
Before resuming practice on December 15th, the team had a seventeen day layoff between action. Understandably, it took some players an extra day to get back into the swing of things, but Steve Spurrier said the team was looking much better after Wednesday's practice and weight lifting session.
"We were a little bit better today," said Spurrier. "The second day was a little bit better than the first. A little bit better practice, we can practice better though, so we'll keep pushing for that."
Bowl practices are advantageous for many reasons, one of the main ones being that the coaches have a chance to get to see young players getting significant action in practice. With limited practice time during a typical game week, these are players who have an opportunity to display their talent and bid for playing time in the next season.
"(We had a) good little scrimmage after practice today. As long as nobody gets hurt, we'd like to let those guys play. That's how you learn how to play; you've got to scrimmage a little bit, so that was productive for us today."
Spurrier singled out quality play from the quarterbacks including Andrew Clifford and Aramis Hillary.
Along with bowl games, one of the traditions of postseason college football is speculating on what players will leave early for the NFL Draft. The Gamecocks have been struck by this before, with several players seemingly more interested in their draft prospects than the final games of the season. As always, Spurrier said they are encouraging players to stay unless they are projected to be a high pick in the draft.
"We talk about it the same way every year," asserted Spurrier. "We don't emphasize it one year more than another. They know the deal. It's a choice. If they want to come out and get drafted in the seventh round or not drafted at all, that's their choice. If they want to play for South Carolina another year and are happy to be here, then we want them to be here."
Running backs looking to carry success into bowl game
Brian Maddox and Kenny Miles finally combined to form the perfect one-two punch in November's win against the Clemson Tigers. The running backs combined for 35 carries and 158 yards against Carolina's in-state rival, and were a big reason why the Gamecocks made it look easy in a 34-17 win.
Both backs said they looked forward to trying to carry that success into Birmingham on January 2nd.
"We're really ready to get back out there and show the nation what we can do again," said Maddox. "Things just came together as a whole. They blitzed sometimes when they shouldn't have, so we took advantage of that. That's what it came down to."
Like any good running back, Kenny Miles was quick to give credit to his line for opening up running lanes for him during the game.
"The offensive line had a really great game, and there were just a lot of big holes," said Miles. "They just called the right plays at the right time."
- Offensive tackle Quintin Richardson recently had surgery to repair his injured shoulder. He will miss the bowl game, but should be ready to go for spring practice.
- Everything appears to be shaping up academically for the Gamecocks. Coach Spurrier said that he had not heard of any players being ruled ineligible.
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