The University of South Carolina football team held the first practice of its bowl mini-camp on Tuesday at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds.” The Gamecocks (6-6, 3-5 SEC) are preparing for the Saturday, December 27, Duck Commander Independence Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes (6-6, 3-5 ACC). Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and the contest will be televised nationally on ABC.
Defensive line coach Deke Adams knows his unit will be challenged to slow down the Miami running attack, led by Duke Johnson. “He’s a phenomenal player,” said Adams of Johnson. “He’s fast, he’s physical, he can make cuts on the dime. He’s just a dynamic player. We’ve got to maintain our gaps up front and give our linebackers a chance to run and we’ve got to tackle.”
Adams feels good about the attitude of the team as it starts bowl practice. “There are no quitters in this group,” said the defensive line coach. “The guys have showed up. They’ve worked hard. Everybody is disappointed in the outcome of how things have happened this year, but these kids are coming out here working and trying to get better every day.”
Adams says he tunes out the negativity surrounding the program. “I don’t deal with it,” said Adams. “I come out here every day to coach football and coach these kids. What’s being said outside doesn’t bother me. We’re going to do our jobs. We’re all professionals. We’re going to stay focused on our task at hand and get ready for Duke Johnson and Miami.
“That’s the business,” continued Adams of the rumors that have circulated. “Some of the salaries of some of the guys that are getting jobs now make it that type of business. It is what it is. We know what it is when we get it in. I still wouldn’t rather be doing anything right now than coaching football.”
In other news, redshirt freshman fullback Gerald Turner is no longer on the squad and is expected to transfer. Senior offensive guard A.J. Cann can add Sports Illustrated’s second-team All-America honors to his list of postseason accolades.
The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. All practices in Columbia are closed.