Sanders focusing on the little things

Freshman Ace Sanders has a lot on his plate. In addition to living up to the rising expectations of Gamecock fans as he continues to perform well in fall camp, the young receiver says he is trying to learn to play with the perfect precision Steve Spurrier expects from his offense. However, the Bradenton, Fla. native says that he is making strides toward being an effective wide receiver.

Throughout the first weeks of practice, there has been one name that has consistently been discussed as a newcomer of potential impact: Ace Sanders. The diminutive, but explosive wideout made a habit of abusing USC defensive backs in drills early on, and has continued his strong play into the scrimmages the Gamecocks have held so far.

Even with his success early on, Sanders says he is pleasantly surprised at what the coaches have thrown at him during his first fall camp.

"I mean we've got some talent at wide receiver, so yeah I'm kind of surprised that they expect that out of me," said Sanders. "I'm a little surprised. It's like a welcome surprise, just jump in, and it's like, let's go."

Coming from high school football to play in the SEC is a huge challenge for any player, much less one who is expected to contribute right away. But Sanders says that after the initial fears of playing at such a high level, it has simply become a game again for him.

"At first you're scared, but once you get your feet it wet, it's just like playing football all over again," said Sanders. "Just getting used to it, taking some licks, and that's about it. Just football. Just bigger, faster players, that's all. There's just some stuff you have to adapt to, (and) I'm up to the challenge."

But coming from high school football to South Carolina has meant an adjustment period, even for a player that possesses as many physical talents as Sanders.

"Yeah, it's no more east and west here, you have to get up the field, you've got to turn around, find them and just go," said Sanders. "You just have to get up the field. Everybody wasn't as talented (in high school), every position wasn't top class players so that was a big transition for me, getting north and south."

One thing that has the young wide receiver excited is South Carolina's transition to more of a spread attack, similar to the offense that Sanders ran at Manatee High School in Bradenton.

"Yeah we ran it all through high school so I'm used to it," said Sanders. "It's just a matter of learning the plays, other than that I like the spread. Some of (the plays) get a little confusing, but there's a certain part you have to watch, so just pay attention to the little details, and that's what gets me, the smaller details. Other than that, I've been catching on, so it's been going real well."

But going up against a talented and experienced defense has been a challenge, even with the familiarity Sanders possesses with the offense. But he also said that knowing your assignments in a game environment is a big key towards making sure you get to stay in the game.

"It's difficult at first, because college coverages, they disguise so much stuff, they throw much stuff at you, you've just got to pay attention to once certain person, just watch what he's doing because if you run the wrong route and the ball gets thrown that's an easy way to get de-cleated," said Sanders. "You've just got to pay attention to what's going on."

It is obvious from hearing him speak that Sanders is very excited to play for a coach who has been regarded as one of the brightest offensive minds in the history of college football.

The young freshman no doubt has been impressed with the coaching he has received thus far, and will continue to sharpen his game under the tutelage of both Steve Spurrier and Steve Spurrier Jr. in preparation of the opener against Southern Miss.

"It's perfect coaching to me, it makes sense once you think about it," said Sanders. "The perfect spot, throw it to the open area, the receivers supposed to be there. The two quarterbacks and all the receivers, we're all just clicking perfectly. (We) just have to get the timing down and get to certain places."

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