March 28, 2015

Jack Leggett previews weekend series with Wake Forest on SportsTalk (AUDIO)

Jack Leggett joined SportsTalk Thursday night to talk some baseball.

Jack Leggett joined SportsTalk Thursday night to talk some baseball.

Thursday night we welcomed back into SportsTalk Clemson head baseball coach Jack Leggett.

Leggett’s squad just missed out on a sweep of Virginia Tech last weekend, taking the first two of the series from the Hokies before losing Sunday’s finale, 4-3, in 12 innings.

Clemson disposed of Western Carolina with ease Tuesday, 19-2, in Cullowhee.

This weekend the Tigers will welcome Wake Forest to Doug Kingsmore Stadium.  The Demon Deacons have an identical record as the Tigers at 4-5 in conference play thus far in 2015, and are winners of 3 straight games.

Tonight coach Leggett updated his program’s progress recently and previewed the series with Wake.

First pitch for the series opener Friday is set for 6:30 at Clemson.

AUDIO: Jack Legget [8:00]



Gamecock football returns to practice field Thursday afternoon (AUDIO)

USC star receiver Pharoh Cooper addressed reporters following Thursday's practice.

USC star receiver Pharoh Cooper addressed reporters following Thursday’s practice.

Thursday afternoon the USC football team resumed their spring practice schedule at the Proving Grounds in downtown Columbia.

Following practice, Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier made his way over to speak to the media, and immediately made a statement concerning one of his players and a disciplinary matter.  Coach Spurrier continued by issuing a stern warning to his young player.

As far as on the field matters, Spurrier talked about his running back unit, and updated reporters on his plans for this year’s rendition of the Spring Game at Williams-Brice Stadium in a couple of weeks.

Star receiver Pharoh Cooper and running back David Williams spoke to reporters following practice as well.

AUDIO: Steve Spurrier [3:30]

AUDIO: Pharoh Cooper [3:00]

AUDIO: David Williams [1:00]

Here’s the official practice report from USC:

The University of South Carolina football team worked out in helmets and shoulder pads for about two hours Thursday afternoon at the new practice fields. It was the squad’s sixth practice of the spring.

The Gamecocks are slated to practice two more times this week. They will work out Friday at the practice fields, then move into Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday for the first official scrimmage of the spring. Both of those practices are closed, including Saturday’s scrimmage due to the on-going construction around Williams-Brice Stadium.

Head Coach Steve Spurrier indicated that all four quarterbacks would get into Saturday’s scrimmage, but would not necessarily take an equal number of snaps. “(Brendan) Nosovitch is obviously our running guy with a little passing here and there. The other three (Connor Mitch, Perry Orth and Michael Scarnecchia) can run a little bit, but they’re mostly passers,” said Coach Spurrier.

One player who doesn’t expect to get many reps on Saturday is wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, a first-team All-SEC selection from a year ago. Cooper is working hard in an effort to produce the numbers that he put up in 2014. “The whole goal this upcoming year is to do better than what I did last year,” said Cooper. “It’s going to be harder as defenses will key on me a lot more.” Cooper has been working at the “Z” position, the same spot he played last season, but is capable of playing all three wide receiver spots. “If I had to go out there because somebody couldn’t play that position, I could go out there and play if I had to.” A versatile performer who excels with the ball in his hands, Cooper has also been working this spring at the “wildcat” quarterback position and returning punts.

Coach Spurrier has been impressed with the defense through the first six practices. “The defense looked good. They’re disguising (their coverages) and looked pretty good. They seem to be a little quicker and faster than we were last year.”

Defensive end Gerald Dixon was one of several players who did not practice on Thursday. “Gerald got kicked in the shin and went down the other day. He should be ok.” Others who wore yellow “no contact” jerseys included Cedrick Cooper (ankle), Mason Zandi (hamstring), Mike Matulis (knee), Taylor Stallworth (pec muscle), Larenz Bryant (liver), Sherrod Pittman (leg), Brandon Shell (shoulder) and Darin Smalls (knee).

Dexter Wideman was not at practice on Thursday and will not practice again on Friday, as he missed class, according to Coach Spurrier. “No excuses,” said the Head Ball Coach. “If he misses another one, he’s not going to suit up for the first game. Dexter needs to get his tail in class and he’s got no excuses this time.”

The SEC Network was on campus Thursday and will return on Friday, with Tom Luginbill and Booger McFarland on hand to tape some segments for SEC Now’s Spring Football Tour. That show will air Friday, March 27, at 10 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.


USC baseball turns its attention to Georgia (AUDIO)

USC's Chad Holbrook previewed the Georgia series Thursday.

USC’s Chad Holbrook previewed the Georgia series Thursday.

The USC baseball team is back home this weekend for an SEC series against Georgia. The Gamecocks have dropped four of their past five games, but are still 4-2 in SEC play. Georgia is 3-3 in league play. The Bulldogs were swept by Missouri in the opening weekend and swept Tennessee last week.

You can listen to Chad Holbrook’s comment’s below. Here are some other notes:

  • USC will honor the 1975 CWS team that finished has the national runner up. They expect most of that team to be back this weekend, including coach Bobby Richardson. It is the 40th anniversary of that team’s trek to Omaha; they will be honored Saturday.
  • Holbrook said, despite the fact the are scuffling a bit, he doesn’t think they are playing poorly. He mentioned they’ve been in every game, but haven’t made a play here or there to close it out.
  • Holbrook’s Sunday starting pitcher is TBA. He said he wants to see who he has to use in the first two games. They will have an “all hands on deck” approach in the first two games.
  • Taylor Widener has struggled a bit the past few games but is still Holbrook’s guy at the back of the bullpen.
  • Holbrook could shuffle his lineup some to get some struggling guys a break. Marcus Mooney (.172), Connor Bright (.197) and Alex Destino could get a break to help pull out of recent slumps.


AUDIO: Chad Holbrook

Clemson holds first scrimmage of the spring (AUDIO)

Dabo Swinney chats with media after Wednesday's practice.

Dabo Swinney chats with media after Wednesday’s practice.

The Tigers held their first full scrimmage of the spring on Wednesday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. It was the eighth practice of the 15 Dabo Swinney’s team will hold as it prepares for the annual Spring Game on April 11.

Swinney was generally pleased with his team’s performance. The Tigers will have a young squad in 2015, as Clemson must replace 16 starters from last season’s 10-3 team that finished 15th in the final polls. The 2014 senior class left with a school-record 42 wins.

“I saw some good things on both sides of the ball,” said Swinney, who has 61 wins in his seven years at Clemson, the most in ACC history for a coach through his first seven seasons. “When you are a position coach for a scrimmage, you can take pride when your unit has a good day. But, when you are the head coach, if one side of the ball is doing well, it means the other side is not.

“Some players took steps backwards, but others showed improvement. We ran over 100 plays, and it was a day we can get some film on a lot of players in a competitive situation.”

Nick Schuessler is the only returning letterman at quarterback this spring, as Deshaun Watson recovers from a knee injury. Schuessler completed 11-18 passes for 100 yards and two scores on Wednesday.

“Nick has really had an outstanding spring,” Swinney said. “He made a couple of errors in running the offense today, but he has done well overall. It was also good to see Tucker Israel and Kelly Bryant get some work today.” Israel and Bryant are a pair of freshmen who entered Clemson in January.

Swinney said he was pleased with the running backs, his offensive line and the play of tight end Jordan Leggett.

“This is a big year for Jordan, and he was outstanding today. A lot of the running backs did well today, and I think we are going to have a good offensive line from what I have seen so far.”

Leggett caught a scoring pass from Schuessler and had another 21-yard reception to key a drive. Mike Williams also caught a touchdown pass, while Wayne Gallman and C.J. Fuller had rushing touchdowns during the scrimmage that was played under threatening clouds. Germone Hopper had the most receptions with five, while Artavis Scott had four. Fuller had 53 rushing yards to lead the ball carriers.

There were many standouts on defense as well. Linebacker Ben Boulware, the backup to first-team All-ACC linebacker Stephone Anthony last season, led all defenders with four tackles for loss. Shaq Lawson had three sacks, while Jayron Kearse had the only interception on the day.

“I know the defense lost some great players from last year’s senior class, but the young players are competing for those starting positions, and I have been pleased with what I have seen,” Swinney said.

AUDIO: Dabo Swinney [10:00]

AUDIO: Brent Venables [8:00]


Martin puts the wraps on third season with Gamecocks (AUDIO)

Frank Martin feels upbeat about his program

Frank Martin feels upbeat about his program

USC basketball coach Frank Martin viewed this season as an  improvement and a step closer to his program becoming NCAA Tournament worthy in a 40 minute question and  answer session with reporters at the Colonial Life Arena.

Martin cited his team’s winning record with 17 victories, it’s RPI of 91, and their 5 wins vs the top 50 RPI and 6 wins over NCAA Tournament teams as evidence the program is moving forward.

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