Feb. 15, 2008
Columbia, SC - South Carolina head coach Dave Odom met with the media on Friday morning to preview the Alabama game (Sat., Feb. 16 at 7 pm on FSN). Former Gamecock All-American and two-time ACC Player of the Year John Roche will be recognized at half time of the game.
The following are some of his comments with media questions to follow.
Coach Odom opened the press conference with the following comments.
"When you think it couldn't get any worst - it does. We have Richard Hendrix coming at us. He is the most productive big man in the SEC. He is the fourth-leading scorer in the SEC, the leading rebounder, top three in blocked-shots and a veteran. The beat goes on. The first order of business is to how to play him. He is featured on most every play they run. It's not that he is by himself. There are other big men on their team as well. They have a really good front line. They have a really good basketball team. They have lost some games, but virtually everybody has and they are a team that is still in the hunt. I am sure they feel really good about themselves after beating Ole Miss on Wednesday."
"Our team. We practiced hard yesterday. Devan did not scrimmage yesterday (left ankle sprain that currently requires no treatment). He was moving nicely and shot over on the side, but we wanted to give his ankle a day away from the scrimmage. I would expect him to be full go today and to start tomorrow. The line-up will be the same."
"I worked extremely hard yesterday on picking up our pressure on man-to-man defense. We have to be a little bit creative in how we coach our defense. We went really hard yesterday for an hour and I think they expected that. They were physically spent at the end of that time."
"You have to foul for profit with him (with Richard Hendrix because he is not a great free throw shooter). Guys that shoot 62% from the field and don't shoot that at the free throw line, you have to decide how many you have to give. I can't afford to have Dominique Archie with 3-4 fouls to do that, we have to see."
"I expect Mike Holmes to play more. He had an excellent practice on Thursday. We need Mike and Sam and Chad Gray as well. We need to get some more bodies into the flow. Sam Muldrow is effective against big and bulky players. Sam did not play hard the other night at Georgia. You have to play hard. Minutes are hard to come by otherwise. I don't think he loafed, I just don't think he understands how difficult it is right now to play hard every night. Florida has lost 2 of 3 or 3 of 4 - I don't remember. They have a lot of freshmen on their team. High school tournaments start in the next week and this is the time that high school seasons are winding down. Freshman this time of year hit the wall a little bit and you have to be careful with that. You have to keep their spirits up and their bodies alive. A guy like Patrick Patterson (UK) and A.J. Olgivy (VU) - their numbers are down a little bit. We have to jack Sam back up because we need him badly."
Q: Are you locked into this line-up - the smaller line-up? What about the Georgia game?
Odom: "I am not locked into any line-up right now. It's been good to us, but I am not locked in on it. Georgia did that nigh; they played the perfect defense. If it happened two or three times like that, I would have to change it. The Georgia game was more about how they started offensively than their defense. We never recovered. Sundiata Gaines (UGA) took the game over. He is playing well. He is playing better than any guard in the league right now. He controls the ball so much and the team as well."
Q: Did you miss something not winning at Georgia?
Odom: "Certainly we did. We had the chance to stay .500 in the league and come into this weekend with another win. Georgia isn't as strong with depth. You have to give Gaines a lot of credit. I am disappointed with that - that we didn't win. We didn't control the game at all. You have to get a handle on the defense. We didn't do that. The games we've won and we played well in the SEC, we got a good start defensively."
Q: Do you worry? Is that just one game or is the team just playing out the string of games here until the end?
Odom: "I am not worried they will just play it out. I am not going to that. We aren't going to lose 2 -3 games because we aren't good enough, but it is not acceptable to just play out the string."
Q: John Roche will be honored tomorrow. What does that mean to you?
Odom: "There is nobody that is more visible or means more to the Gamecock basketball program than John Roche. I think Alex English as well. They are the two marquee performers in our sport. We are hopeful that Alex can come back next week. There has been a lot of work to get John re-involved in our program. He is excited to come back and to help create the atmosphere. He is excited about meeting our team and players and also renewing himself with the fans. He truly wants to be here. I think it's almost better he is coming this week and not next week. We have well over 100 letter-winners coming back next weekend for the reunion and getting John here this weekend gives us a chance to honor Gamecock basketball two separate weekends. I look forward to him visiting and also personally spending time with him."
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