*Written by student assistant Kim Barrett
After practice Tuesday Coach Ward, Coach Lawing and D.J. Swearinger talked to the media about their victory over a tough Tennessee offense and the upcoming bye weekend.
The Gamecocks overcame Tennessee, 38-35, but the players are not shy about recognizing their mistakes. D.J. Swearinger praised Tennessee's quarterback, great receivers, and their ability to find the Gamecocks' holes and weaknesses.
Because of missed assignments during the Tennessee game, the Gamecocks know what they have to work on during the next two weeks. Swearinger stated, "Some plays we folded and didn't get the job done. We got to clean it up so we can get it right."
Coaches and players are taking advantage of the bye week to work on weaknesses that have hindered the team in previous games. When asked what things the team is working on, Coach Ward shared, "We got to do better man coverage, better zone coverage, and do a better job of disguising what we do."
Several key players, including Kelcy Quarles, Akeem Auguste, Byron Jerideau, and Jadeveon Clowney, are not practicing this week because of injuries. Coach Ward said they are expected to return next week as the Gamecocks prepare for Arkansas.
Due to injuries younger players have had to step up and perform like they have been playing college football for years. Coach Lawing praised the younger players and stated that they keep getting better.
Football is unlike any sport in the toll it takes on its players. Coach Lawing shared, "Football is the only sport in the world where the object is to get the man with the ball, not just get the ball. Because of that it's a hard sport and not everyone can play."
After playing nine games, seven of which were SEC opponents, coaches and players agree the team needs a break. When asked how big this bye week is, Swearinger shared, "It's huge. We got to take this week and take advantage of it."
Video of coaches' and players' interviews are available here at GamecocksOnline.com. Check back tonight for interviews following today's practice.