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Aug. 16, 2002

Columbia, SC –

* USC Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong met with the media following Friday morning’s preseason football practice. Coach Strong said many of the younger players are coming on and should play key roles on this year’s team. “I think just about every young player we signed on defense is going to help us,” said Coach Strong. “We’re starting to develop two units on defense. We weren’t able to do that last year.”

* Coach Strong identified the starters on defense thus far as being: NG Langston Moore, DE Dennis Quinn, DE George Gause, LB Lance Laury, LB Jeremiah Garrison, LB Jermaine Lemon, S Rashad Faison, S Jonathan Martin, FS Deandre’ Eiland, CB Dunta Robinson, with the other cornerback coming from a group which includes Taqiy Muhammad, Isaac Stackhouse, and Corey Peoples. Coach Strong said the backup linebackers are Rod Thomas, Orus Lambert, and Lenny Williams.

* Coach Strong also noted that newcomers Ricardo Hurley and Darel Slay are coming on at linebacker, as well, and both should receive playing time. Hurley was regarded by many to be the #1 linebacker prospect in the country last season, while Slay was a junior college standout.

* Coach Strong also noted the play of defensive linemen Moe Thompson and Randy Jackson. Thompson is a freshman who was Mr. Football in the state of South Carolina last year, while Jackson was a junior college All-America. “Both of these guys are athletic players who can rush the passer,” said Coach Strong. “That’s one thing we need to do a better job of this year; that’s putting pressure on the quarterback. Moe Thompson is a tall, rangy kid who really has looked good.”

* Coach Strong said that the defensive staff has been spending a lot of individual time with the players. “We’re so young on defense that it’s important to give the players a lot of individual attention. I used to kid John Gutekunst (secondary coach) that when he had Sheldon Brown and Andre Goodman at cornerbacks last year, his meetings didn’t have to last very long because those guys were both seniors and knew the system inside and out. Now, his meetings are lasting a lot longer.”

* Senior tailback/wide receiver Ryan Brewer worked out again Friday morning and said his ankle is feeling better each day. Brewer underwent corrective ankle surgery in the spring and missed most of the off-season drills. His ankle had been sore last week and he did not participate in this past Wednesday’s scrimmage, the first for the Gamecocks this fall camp. “The ankle is getting stronger,” said Brewer. “I spoke with Dr. (James) Andrews today and he said it should only be getting better from here on out. The doctors said I’m on schedule and maybe even a little ahead of schedule. Last week I had some pain, but the past couple of days, it has felt fine.”

* When asked about his short-lived showing in Wednesday’s scrimmage, senior running back Andrew Pinnock, who fumbled on the first play and did not return to action, said: “We know what the standards are. You learn from things like that. I learn and the younger players learn.”

* Other injuries — offensive lineman Chris White is out with a neck condition; offensive lineman Stephen Sene is out with a back condition; cornerback Isaac Stackhouse is out with an ankle sprain; offensive lineman Justin McGuire is out with a knee sprain.

* The Gamecocks were scheduled to work out again Friday afternoon.


* Offensive coordinator Skip Holtz will meet with the media following the morning practice at approximately 10:20 a.m. in the press room behind the lobby of the football building. Requested players will be available between 10:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.