*Written by student assistant Kelly McAlindin
Following Wednesday's practice, Head Coach Steve Spurrier and the offensive assistant coaches offered comments about their plans and expectations for Carolina's first home game since defeating Georgia on October 6th.
The Gamecocks have suffered two tough losses on the road against No. 6 LSU and No. 2 Florida and they are ready to get back to Williams-Brice and take home a win.
"We know the fans are going to be ready and we're going to be ready to play the best we can," said Head Coach Steve Spurrier.
In their past two games, the Gamecocks' offense has struggled to make plays, posting only 36 rushing yards and 155 passing yards against the Gators last Saturday. When asked about how the offense looks to improve against Tennessee, Steve Spurrier Jr. thinks playing at home is a definite advantage, "Hopefully this will be a good home game and we can feel comfortable and catch the ball like we know we can."
Spurrier Jr. also commented on the importance of Saturday's game and how being at home will instill more confidence in the team, "It's a big game and it's an SEC East opponent so hopefully we can go and play the way we know how to play."
One of the biggest issues for South Carolina has perhaps been the cohesion of the offensive line. Between the various line-ups and recent injuries, Offensive Line Coach Shawn Elliott hopes the Tennessee game will spark some improvement.
With starting sophomore Mike Matulis out with a shoulder injury, this has forced the offensive line to make some changes. When asked about his decision to start redshirt sophomore A.J. Cann, Coach Elliott said he believes in the young player's potential, "I just think there are times you try to fuel a fire in somebody to make them better and i always thought A.J. was the man for the job."
Despite offensive struggles, a shining part of the Gamecocks' offense has been senior center T.J. Johnson. In his comments yesterday, Coach Spurrier recognized Johnson as having started more games than any other football player in South Carolina, "He has started 48 and that's pretty neat."
Coaches and fans alike look forward to seeing a renewed South Carolina team storm the gridiron against Tennessee. In summing up his expectations, Coach Elliott hopes to see the team play smart and apply what they have improved upon in practice, "We'll see if we can right the ship and get back on course."
Check out more videos of coaches' and players' post practice interviews here and check back to GamecocksOnline.com tonight for thoughts from defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward following Thursday's practice.