Aug. 15, 2002
Columbia, SC –
* After viewing the film from Wednesday’s scrimmage, USC head football coach Lou Holtz said the coaching staff was able to evaluate many of the individuals who played, but there were still some questions that needed to be answered as far as the overall team was concerned. “Wednesday’s scrimmage was primarily about evaluating and looking at our personnel as opposed to making decisions on offense and defense,” said Coach Holtz. “I think we are starting to develop some depth on defense. A lot of the new players in the secondary are coming on, like Taqiy Muhammad, Jermaine Harris, and Corey Peoples. Darel Slay does some good things at linebacker, as does Ricardo Hurley. I also liked what I saw from the defensive line, in particular Jason Capers, Randy Jackson, Moe Thompson, Preston Thorne and Shaun Smith.”
* Offensively, Coach Holtz said the picture wasn’t as clear. “We were too inconsistent on offense,” said the coach. “Our quarterbacks need to be better students of the game and we don’t throw the deep ball well enough. Our center position is not totally settled. Things just don’t fit right offensively right now. We need to get into a better rhythm. We had too many loss yardage plays and we didn’t protect the passer well enough.”
* Regarding the center position, Coach Holtz said that senior C.J. Frye had a slight edge for the starting role over Na’shan Goddard and John Strickland. “C.J. is playing pretty well,” said Coach Holtz. “Na’shan is a bit inconsistent right now. He loses his focus sometimes and becomes too tentative.”
* Coach Holtz is uncertain of just how effective tailback/wide receiver Ryan Brewer is going to be early on this season. “I’m not sure how much we are going to be able to get out of Ryan Brewer,” he said. “Serious ankle injuries are hard to come back from, especially in a short period of time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone come back before six months from an ankle injury.”
* Coach Holtz said that redshirt sophomore quarterback Dondrial Pinkins has come back to school a different player. “Dondrial has really improved,” said Holtz. “He’s been impressive thus far.”
* Coach Holtz noted that all of the quarterbacks needed to become better students of the game. “Tony Rice (former Notre Dame quarterback) became an excellent player because he was such a student of the game,” said Coach Holtz. “That’s what Corey (Jenkins) and Dondrial need to do.”
* Sophomore wide receiver Matthew Thomas caught Holtz’s eye during Wednesday’s scrimmage. “Matthew is a physical receiver,” said the coach. “We’re getting better at receiver, but no one has really stepped forward at the front of the pack.”
* Injury update — freshman offensive lineman Chris White (neck) is going to see a specialist about his condition. White injured his neck earlier in the week and has not practiced since … freshman offensive lineman Stephen Sene (back) has been bothered with back spasms and was hospitalized for his condition Tuesday evening … senior defensive back Isaac Stackhouse has an ankle sprain and missed Wednesday’s scrimmage … senior spur Rashad Faison strained his shoulder Wednesday but is expected to be okay.
* The Gamecocks will work out again Thursday evening under the lights. The practice is closed.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY ON FRIDAY, Aug. 16:
* Media may film first 15 minutes of individual work during Friday morning’s practice (beginning at 8:10 a.m. at the practice fields)
* Coach Holtz will be available to the media following practice at approximately 10:20 a.m. in the press room behind the lobby of the football building.
* Requested players will be available outside the players entrance at approximately 11:45 a.m. Friday.