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March 18, 2002

South Carolina returned to the football practice field Monday, following a week off from Spring Break. Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong addressed the media following the two-hour workout in full pads.

“It looks as if everyone had a good spring break,” said Strong. “We got through the practice pretty well, although at the end we started looking kind of sluggish. You could tell they’d had a week off. Today was mostly a teaching day and I think we got some things accomplished.”

When asked about having the team come back following a week off, Strong said: “They were anxious to begin practice a couple of weeks ago, because we had a good winter workout program. Now, coming off of spring break, they know it’s time to pick things up and make the most of the remaining 11 practices that we have.”

Coach Strong said the defense would be concentrating on improving its performance on third down this spring, in particular on third down and long situations. “Third down defense starts with the pass rush and then the coverage,” said Strong. “Third and long really hurt us last year. Tennessee, Florida, Clemson, Ohio State … I could go on and on. We’re going to focus more on team pass in practice and we’ve got to do a better job of both rushing the passer and covering our assignments.”

Coach Strong mentioned that the shifting of Dunta Robinson from spur to cornerback seemed to be going well. Isaac Stackhouse, Rachiem Monroe, Teddy Crawford and Brian Elam were also working out at cornerback, a position that was hit hard by the graduation of All-America Sheldon Brown and All-SEC Andre Goodman.

Coach Strong also said that Jamacia Jackson has been moved from safety to the spur position. Strong said that Deandre’ Eiland would remain at safety and Rashad Faison would remain at spur.

Coach Strong said that Jason Capers is a young player who needs to come to the forefront this spring. “We need a guy like Jason to step up and become a player for us at defensive end,” said Strong. “So far, he’s responded pretty well.”

Working out at quarterback Monday were Dondrial Pinkins, Corey Jenkins, Bennett Swygert, Erik Kimrey, Rodriques Wilson and Mikal Goodman.

USC will practice again Tuesday in full pads. The practice is closed. Assistant head coach Skip Holtz will be available to the media following practice at approximately 6:10 p.m. outside the players locker room.

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