Gamecocks Hold First Bowl Practice in Orlando
Dec. 28, 2011
The University of South Carolina football team worked out at Celebration High School in Orlando on Wednesday. It was the squad's first workout in Florida as they prepare for Monday's Capital One Bowl against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Game time is set for 1 p.m. ET at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
The first practice since the team broke camp in Columbia on December 23 saw the return of several players who have been sidelined due to injury, including Alshon Jeffery (hand), Terrence Campbell (leg), Kyle Nunn (back), D.J. Swearinger (foot) and C.C. Whitlock (knee).
Following the two-hour practice session, defensive line coach Brad Lawing said it was a "tremendous decision" to hire Lorenzo Ward as the defensive coordinator. "We keep continuity on our defense and Lorenzo will do a great job. He's a fine individual and a fine football coach. I've enjoyed working with him. He knows we've got to piece this together. He's very humble to his approach in what he's doing. I think he's a great fit for South Carolina."
Lawing felt like the team's preparation has been pretty similar to previous bowl practices. "There's probably a little more at stake, because we've got a chance to do something we've never done before," noted Lawing. "We've had good practices in Columbia, we've had a good practice today. So we've got to continue the rest of this week and work hard in our preparation, because Nebraska is a fine football team. We're going to have to play really well to beat them."
Lawing believes that to stop Nebraska, the Gamecocks will need to control the running game. "They're going to run at us, we know that. Anytime you have an athletic quarterback, that adds an extra dimension and an extra challenge, and (Taylor Martinez) brings that. He's going to carry the football, we know that. And that number 22 is a heck of a back."
Head coach Steve Spurrier was asked about the 2012 schedule, which was released earlier today. "We'll worry about the schedule after this game is over obviously," said Coach Spurrier. "The schedule is what it is. Missouri is in our division so we'll play them every year. Then you just play two from the other side. We've got LSU and Arkansas, so we've got two pretty good ones from over there. That's the way it is. We'll do the best we can with it."
Junior defensive end Devin Taylor said the defensive line sets the tempo for everyone else on the defense. "As soon as everyone else sees us making plays, the linebackers, safeties and corners make plays as well," said Taylor.
Taylor said he has received his paperwork back from the NFL, but is still uncertain as to his future. "It's still 50-50," said Taylor. He indicated he would make his decision "sometime after the bowl game."
Taylor said the key to stopping Nebraska's option attack is stopping one phase at a time. "You have to cancel each one out separately," said Taylor. "The quarterback is extremely athletic and makes a lot of plays with his feet. The running back is a hard runner who can break tackles and make plays."
The Gamecocks will work out again at Celebration High School on Thursday at 11 a.m. The practice is closed, with the exception of the first 15 minutes to the media.