Gamecocks ready to kick off season

On Monday night, the South Carolina football team began to finish up their preparations for Thursday night's season opener against Southern Miss. Brian Maddox, Kyle Nunn, and Alshon Jeffery stopped by after practice to talk about how practices have been and how ready they are for Thursday night.

Maddox, a 5-11 senior from Anderson, was often the number two back behind Kenny Miles last season. Maddox only rushed for 307 yards last season, but led all backs with 6 touchdowns. Maddox is not sure what's going to happen Thursday night, but he knows the backs are going to get plenty of opportunities to carry the ball.

"I'm not sure yet," Maddox said of who will start at running back against the Golden Eagles. "I don't think none of us are sure until game day. All of us are going to get some quality carries."

"We were doing pretty good tonight - more crisp I would say," Maddox said of tonight's practice. "It has to be because tomorrow is fine-tune day."

Nunn, a 6-5 Junior from Sumter, is looking to nail down one of the starting tackle spots this season. The 304-pound lineman played in 10 of 13 games last season battling with Jarriel King at left tackle. Nunn did start 7 of the final 9 games of the season.

"They got me working at left tackle," Nunn said of this week in practice. "I've been working with the ones but it's up to the coaches to who starts."

Nunn says that depth at the tackle position has been a big issue throughout fall camp.

"We've all been rotating at tackle," Nunn said of himself, King, and Hutch Eckerson. "I've been working right and left tackle cause we're short on tackles."

Nunn knows that Gamecock fans have been worried about the play of the offensive line coming into the season, but he says he's happy with the progress the offensive line has made throughout fall camp.

"Offensive line has been going pretty good," Nunn said. "We have a lot to work on, but we're getting better and better every day. Things are starting to click a little better."

Jeffery, who led the Gamecocks in receiving yards with 763 yards and also led in touchdown receptions with 6, knows that he's going to be the focal point of defenses. He also knows that if he draws double-teams one of the other talented receivers will be left in a one-on-one situation, something that will play into the Gamecocks' hands.

"The young receivers have been great," Jeffery said. "Talent-wise, I think we got one of the best receiver corps in the nation."

That still hasn't stopped Jeffery from working hard to get even better. Jeffery is often the last player to leave the practice fields and tonight was no exception as he stayed on the field working on catching the ball.

"I'm trying to get myself prepared to be the best receiver," Jeffery said.

Maddox, Nunn, and Jeffery know that the Gamecocks will be in a unique situation once again this season: opening up the college football season on national television.

"It's great to know that we're the first game of college football and we can go out and show what South Carolina football is all about," Maddox said.

"We always like playing in front of the whole nation. We'll play just as hard if we're playing in front of the whole nation or we're just playing for our fans," Nunn said.

"We're gonna put on a good show Thursday," Jeffery said.

Let the show begin.

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