September 20, 2014

Gamecocks hit the road for conference matchup against Vanderbilt (AUDIO)

Jordan Diggs and T.J. Gurley make a play. Gurley had a second half interception.

The Gamecock defense has been preparing for Vanderbilt’s multiple quarterbacks.

Story by Daniel Schwartz

The defense stepped up in a big way when USC pulled off the upset against Georgia last weekend in Williams-Brice Stadium. This weekend the Gamecocks head to Nashville for their first conference road trip of the season to face the Vanderbilt Commodores.

While the first three opponents the Gamecocks have faced this season had established starting quarterbacks leading their offenses, Vanderbilt plans to use a rotation of signal callers to expand their play-calling ability. Defensive Coordinator Lorenzo Ward said Thursday after practice that the defense has been preparing all week for a multiple quarterback system and that they have seen tape on all four that Vanderbilt may use.

Coach Ward also said that there may be some lineup changes in the defensive backfield with Brison Williams back at safety and Rico McWilliams and Al Harris Jr. manning the cornerback positions.

Senior short snapper Ryland Culbertson left practice early on Wednesday and was present on Thursday in a yellow non-contact jersey as well as a neckbrace. There is not yet any official word regarding his status for the game on Saturday, nor on who would assume his crucial role on field goals and extra points. Culbertson is in the midst of his second season of full-time short snapping duties.

#14 South Carolina (2-1) takes on conference foe Vanderbilt (1-2) on Saturday September, 20 at 7:30pm at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, TN.

AUDIO: Lorenzo Ward [2:14]

USC baseball coach Chad Holbrook previews fall practice (AUDIO)

Kyle Martin led USC last season with a .336 average

Kyle Martin led USC last season with a .336 average

The USC baseball team will open its fall practice this weekend.  The team will scrimmage Friday thru Sunday and those scrimmages are open to the public.

The Gamecocks lost in their regional in Columbia last season to Maryland failing to make it to a Super Regional for the first time since 2009.  Still, they won 44 games and return several starters like Kyle Martin, Max Schrock and Marcus Mooney.

Weekend pitchers Wil Crowe and Jack Wynkoop also return but the Gamecocks have to replace their closer, catcher and centerfielder.

Head coach Chad Holbrook addressed these and other issues during his fall preview presser today.

AUDIO: Chad Holbrook fall preview [24:12]


USC finishes the heavy work for Vanderbilt (AUDIO)

Gamecocks looking for more high times at Vandy

Gamecocks looking for more high times at Vandy

The South Carolina Gamecocks continued their preparations for Saturday’s SEC Eastern Division battle with the Vanderbilt Commodores on Wednesday afternoon.

The No. 14/16 Gamecocks (2-1, 1-1 SEC) and unranked Commodores (1-2, 0-1 SEC) will meet at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville. The contest will be televised nationally on the SEC Network with Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer in the booth and Maria Taylor on the sidelines.

Defensive tackle J.T. Surratt returned to practice on Wednesday after sitting out Tuesday’s practice with a sore back. Offensive guard Cody Waldrop did not practice on Wednesday as he remains sidelined with a right knee injury.

The Gamecocks will be playing their first road game of the season this weekend.   They  will return to the practice fields on Thursday afternoon before traveling to Nashville on Friday.

AUDIO: Dylan Thompson on his confidence level after Georgia game [4:26]

USC defense not getting too cocky after win over Georgia (AUDIO)

USC still has a lot of work to do on defense.

USC still has a lot of work to do on defense.

The South Carolina Gamecocks worked out at the Bluff Road practice fields on Tuesday afternoon. The No. 14/16 Gamecocks (2-1, 1-1 SEC) are preparing for Saturday’s SEC Eastern Division battle with the Vanderbilt Commodores (1-2, 0-1 SEC).

Two starters, offensive guard Cody Waldrop (knee) and defensive tackle J.T. Surratt (back) were held out of practice on Tuesday with injuries.

“We’re getting better,” said linebackers coach Kirk Botkin after Tuesday’s practice. “We’re not there yet. We need a little more consistency, but we’re getting better. Every game brings new challenges. You have to come out here and work, pay your dues, work on tackling and work on taking good angles. As long as you’re doing that I think good things will happen.”

Botkin indicated that his starting group of linebackers is not set in stone. “We’re still maybe tinkering. It depends on how you play and how you practice. We play a lot of guys,” noted Botkin.

Like the linebackers, the defensive backs have shown some improvement from week one to week three. “Each week we’ve been taking small steps in the right direction,” said defensive backs coach Grady Brown. “The only problem is in this league you need to take big steps in a positive direction. That’s what we’re focusing on. Each week we’ve played a little bit better, but a little bit is not going to get it. We need to make a jump.”

Coach Brown is not focused on which quarterback Vanderbilt may play on Saturday. “With where we are as a secondary, I’m not sure that we can be overly concerned with who’s playing at quarterback. We need to be concerned about taking care of our assignments, not having assignments bust, being able to line up properly, executing the proper technique.”

Like Botkin, Brown’s secondary is not set in stone. “We’re just trying to get the best players on the field at that particular time, depending upon down and distance, depending upon what the offense is trying to do. We’re just trying to put the best players on the field that can help us win and get us off the field on third down and get to third down for that matter,” said Brown.

Game time Saturday from Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and the contest will be televised nationally on the SEC Network with Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer in the booth and Maria Taylor on the sidelines.

AUDIO: Deke Adams [1:45]

AUDIO: Kirk Botkin [1:42]

AUDIO: Skai Moore [2:36]

AUDIO: Grady Brown [4:18]


Talking Tuesday: Spurrier does best to generate excitement for Vandy (AUDIO)

Steve Spurrier says they got breaks against Georgia liked this  missed 4th quarter field goal

Steve Spurrier says they got breaks against Georgia liked this missed 4th quarter field goal

No doubt the USC football team is still dealing with the hangover from the big win over Georgia.  The job for Steve Spurrier and his assistants this week is to get their players to buy in to their argument that Vanderbilt can defeat them Saturday night in Nashville if they don’t play at a high level.

The Commodores are coming off their first win of the season over Massachusetts, and Spurrier remembers that two seasons ago his team had to go to the wStill have to get defensive players in better position and they have to coach better. Still searching to get better results.ire to pull out a victory over the Commodores.  So, Tuesday he did his best to talk up Vandy while also driving home the point that his team, despite the Georgia win, still has issues and needs a lot of work.

Some of Spurrier’s key comments:

  • Vandy plays tough. Players are smart. Different environment for team in Nashville after three home games.
  • “If we think we’re a pretty good team because we beat Georgia with some pretty good breaks, we’re fooling ourselves.”
  • Receivers caught about everything. It was Rory Anderson’s week to catch a lot of passes.
  • Mike Davis was running around at practice last night and is going to be fine.
  • Had to calm Thompson down the other night, in fact he felt they were celebrating too much after Wilds’ TD in 4th quarter.
  • Vanderbilt lost a lot of seniors from last year and is playing a lot of young guys on defense.
  • Not sure what they would do at quarterback if Thompson got hurt, rotate around with Cooper, Mitch and Orth.

AUDIO: Steve Spurrier previews Vanderbilt [15:48]

A win would give Spurrier 202 as an SEC coach and would move him past Vince Dooley into 2nd place on that list.

USC leads the series 19-4 including 10-2 in Nashville.  Spurrier is 19-2 against the Commodores.

USC won 17-13 in Nashville two years ago despite two turnovers on their first three plays from scrimmage.

USC is 12-5 in their last 17 true road games.