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Aug. 9, 2002

Columbia, SC –

* USC’s defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and offensive coordinator Skip Holtz met with the media following Friday afternoon’s preseason football practice. Head coach Lou Holtz did not attend the afternoon workout as he was in Jacksonville, Fla., at the Mayo Clinic having an outpatient surgical procedure done on his tear duct. The procedure went fine and Coach Holtz was back in his office early Friday evening.

* Coach Strong said that the defense is looking for the right combination now in the secondary. With the loss of both corners — Sheldon Brown and Andre Goodman — some new faces will appear at that position. Likely candidates are junior Dunta Robinson, senior Isaac Stackhouse, and junior college transfers Corey Peoples and Taqiy Muhammad.

* Said Coach Strong: “We did lose two guys (Brown and Goodman) who are playing in the NFL, but we aren’t going to change our style in the secondary. We do not want to allow big plays to happen and we can’t give up the homerun ball.”

* Coach Strong said the there were enough senior leaders on defense to get the job done. “We’ve got Langston Moore, Dennis Quinn, Rashad Faison, Jonathan Martin and Jermaine Lemon who have all assumed leadership roles,” said Coach Strong. “Some of them are quiet leaders and some of them are vocal leaders, but they all can get the job done.”

* Coach Strong said it was important that the defense be two-deep at all positions. “We’ve got to get back to being able to play two units on defense,” said Coach Strong. “We’ve got some people who can run and we will need to put together two units that can make plays on the field.”

* Coach Strong said that sophomore George Gause, who is currently working at defensive end, has the ability to be a big-time player. “George has the type of ability to be a John Abraham or a Kalimba Edwards,” said Coach Strong. “He can handle whatever we give him, whether it be at end or linebacker.”

* Skip Holtz said that the offense still has some question marks. “We are primarily working two quarterbacks now — Corey (Jenkins) and Dondrial (Pinkins),” said Skip. “We’ve lost some big names on offense — Brian Scott, Phil Petty, Derek Watson, Larrell Johnson. We have some good talent coming back, but it is inexperienced talent.”

* Skip said that wide receiver Andrea Gause may have cracked a rib during Friday’s practice. X-ray results were not back Friday evening.

* Skip noted that this year’s team is extremely committed. “We have a group of players that are committed and they work very hard,” said Skip. “This team is very hungry. We are still in the climbing mode as far as taking the next step up the ladder to become one of the top programs. We’re certainly not there yet, but we are committed to get there.”

* When asked about being ranked in the preseason polls, Skip said: “That’s great for the fans and it creates excitement, but where you finish at the end of the year is 10,000 times more important to your program.”

* USC has another pair of workouts on Saturday. They are closed to the general public and media. Coach Holtz will be available in the press room behind the lobby of the football building following the morning workout at approximately 10:40 a.m.

* The Lou Holtz Chick-fil-A charity run will take place Saturday morning at 7:45 a.m. The starting line is located at the north end of the stadium and the 5K run will also finish at the stadium. Coach Holtz is expected to present the winners their awards at the conclusion of the race at approximately 9:15 a.m. inside the stadium. More than 1,200 runners and walkers have already pre-registered for the charity event.