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Sept. 26, 2002

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Final preparations were made Thursday for South Carolina’s SEC road contest with Vanderbilt this Saturday in Nashville (7 p.m. ET kickoff, pay-per-view TV). “I really think we’re going to play well this week,” said Head Coach Lou Holtz. “A lot of that is dependent upon how we will play on defense. We’ve always fought for our lives when we’ve been up there (in Nashville), and this is probably the best Vanderbilt team since I’ve been here.”

Holtz remains concerned with the multiple option sets that Carolina will see from the Vanderbilt offense. “They run five different types of options. You never have enough time to prepare for all the things they (Vanderbilt) will do,” he said. “It makes it really difficult, and it’s been a pressure-packed week to learn everything that Vanderbilt will try and do. We haven’t had a whole lot of success against the option, and at the same time, I worry about them playing plain old power football.

“I think our defensive players have done remarkably well (learning) in a short period of time. We have to play with some confidence and we can’t have missed assignments or missed tackles. Our defense has moved around really well this week.”

Holtz also has been pleased with the Gamecock offense and their week preparing for the Commodores. “Offensively, we have a good week of preparation. The players have practiced with a lot of confidence. But defensively, we haven’t had that same air of confidence. We’ve worked the defense hard, however, and they’ve responded well. We’ll just have to see what happens on Saturday.”

Like a week ago, Holtz said you should expect to see a bevy of Gamecock freshmen on the field Saturday. “Thinking of all the freshmen (Holtz named a number of them in list form) it’s like calling roll.”

Holtz said freshman running back Daccus Turman (bruised shoulder) is ready to go and that he expects senior wide receiver James Adkisson (knee) to be back to practice next week. “We have everyone available who we had last week.”