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Aug. 19, 2002

Columbia, SC –

* USC assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Skip Holtz met with the media following Monday afternoon’s preseason football practice and provided an update on the injured Gamecock quarterbacks. Dondrial Pinkins, a redshirt sophomore who has been running #2, underwent surgery Sunday evening to repair his fractured left ankle. It is anticipated that he will be out a minimum of four weeks. It was later learned Monday evening that Bennett Swygert, a true freshman quarterback, reinjured the ACL in his left knee and after meeting with the USC medical team, has decided to attempt a conservative approach by going through aggressive rehabilitation and getting fitted with a custom knee brace. The timetable for his return is predicated on how he responds to the rehab.

* The Gamecocks had position meetings Monday morning which allowed them to review the film from Sunday’s scrimmage. The team worked out in full pads in the afternoon.

* Skip Holtz said that the Gamecocks have begun working on their opening game opponent — New Mexico State (Aug. 31 in Columbia). “We’ve started looking at their different fronts and coverages,” said Skip. “We started working with a scout squad and are getting ready for the opener.”

* Skip said that senior Erik Kimrey would be filling the backup quarterback role at the present time, but that the coaching staff was also exploring some other options due to the injuries to Pinkins and Swygert. Mikal Goodman, who has been playing wide receiver but was formerly a quarterback, along with Rod Wilson, a former quarterback who is playing the spur position, are both possibilities. Skip said that freshman Aryhel Freeman may not quite be ready to step into that role.

* Skip said that it is likely that Andrea Gause, who was moved to tailback at the end of last week, would return to his normal wide receiver position. Skip said that the tailbacks now are Ryan Brewer, Thez Robinson, Kenny Irons and Gonzie Gray. Gause bruised his jaw in Sunday’s scrimmage and did not practice on Monday.

* Despite the rash of injuries during Sunday’s scrimmage, Skip said the attitude of the team has been excellent. “These players have worked too hard and come too far to let some injuries keep them from striving for their goals,” said Skip. “Like Coach Holtz told the team on Sunday, we will find an answer somewhere. Someone else will step up. These seniors have come a long way and are providing excellent leadership.”

* Other updates on the injuries include: offensive lineman Chad Walker has a foot strain and is out; spur Jamacia Jackson has a broken left hand but will be fitted for a soft cast and should return soon; running back Kenny Irons has a knee sprain and is day to day; offensive lineman Chris White (neck) has been cleared to resume conditioning; offensive lineman Stephen Sene (back spasms)is getting better.

* Skip said that he hopes the performance of the wide receivers continues to improve. “Right now, the receivers are not playing to the level that they need to,” said Skip. “They haven’t been blocking like they need to and there have been too many dropped passes.” Skip said there were nine drops in Sunday’s scrimmage.


both coordinators –Skip Holtz and Charlie Strong will be available to the media Tuesday morning in the press room behind the lobby of the football building at approximately 10:45 a.m. Requested players will be available around 12 noon outside the players’ entrance at the stadium.