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Aug. 4, 2002

South Carolina Head Football Coach Lou Holtz welcomed in 23 newcomers Sunday as the fourth-year Gamecock mentor officially kicked off preparations for the 2002 season. The freshman class checked into dorm rooms, took photos and were given physicals among other items covered in their first day on the USC campus.

The Gamecock newcomers hit the field Monday for the first time in a pair of practice sessions.

Holtz reported no surprises Sunday in the reporting period. He said he will meet with the team, cover a variety of different things and start from “square one” with the group. He also commented if anyone in the new group will contribute this season.

“I’m sure we will have freshmen who will play and contribute to the football team, but I cannot tell you who,” said Holtz. “One thing that I will share with the group is that last year, Lance Lowry did not even play; but now we’re going into fall camp with him as a possible starting linebacker.

“(Freshmen playing) depends on staying healthy, learning assignments, helping the team, maturity and a number of other factors. My first year here, we had a lot of freshmen play. I don’t know how many freshmen will play this season, but I do expect that there will be several.

“We’re just trying to acquaint the freshman to what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Then when the upperclassmen come in, they learn much better by watching them. You can tell them a lot of things, but the upperclassmen can teach them more than we ever can as coaches.”

In a note on the veterans, Holtz reported that spur Rod Wilson has a hamstring pull and that he will be out a minimum of two weeks with an MRI exam scheduled for this week to determine the extent of the damage.