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Feb. 27, 2003

Gamecock Head Coach Lou Holtz met with members of the media Thursday and discussed a variety of subjects, ranging from the winter workout program, to preparations for spring practice, to having the defensive staff spend two days with Monte Kiffin, defensive coordinator of the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“Looking back on recruiting, I was really pleased with the way it turned out. To lose two coaches during recruiting (Charlie Strong and Joker Phillips) and to be able to end up with a Top 10 class for the second year in a row (never been done in school history), is a real tribute to the professors, the University, our players and certainly our coaches.”

“I talked with Jonathan Martin (senior safety from Columbia who had applied for sixth year due to previous injury situation) and he will not be coming back for his sixth year. They probably won’t make a decision on that early enough, so he is going to move on and try to play in the NFL.”

The winter program is going pretty well. The weather has not been particularly good. Just like today, we have to go inside (because of the rain). We’re not interested in making them better athletes; we’re interested in making them better football players.”

“We’ll start spring practice on Friday, March 21. Due to class conflicts, the majority of our practices will be on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. We’ll have the Spring Game on Saturday, April 12, so we won’t conflict with Easter Weekend. We will have one or maybe two practices after the Spring Game.”

“We want to take the following week after spring practice and visit with the athletes individually; to talk about spring practice, talk about their academics and talk about the role they are going to play next year, then you go on the road recruiting.”

Injury-wise: Jeff Barnes (wrist) can’t have any contact yet; Andrea Gause (knee) is still limited; Aryel Freeman (muscle strain); Randy Jackson (ankle surgery) is still recovering; Lance Laury is still have some problems with the knee that was operated on during the season. He had an MRI the other day and they found no other problems; so we’ll just have to wait and see. Corey Peoples had his ankle worked on but he is coming back pretty well. Darrell Shropshire had his shoulder worked on and he is coming back pretty well. Bennett Swygert (knee surgery) is really coming around and he should be available for most everything during spring practice.”

“We have pro timing day next week (March 5) and a number of our departed seniors will go through that.”

“Looking at the coaching situation, with moving to more of a four-man front on defense and with me spending more time on defense, I thought it was best that Skip (Holtz) not coach a position and spend more time overseeing the offense. More and more coordinators are doing that now days. Dave Roberts has been offensive-minded; he has coached running backs, he has coached wide receivers, he has coached tight ends; so we thought it best for him to move back to offense and coach the running backs. Todd Fitch will take over the quarterbacks, a position he has coached in the past. Paul Lounsberry will coach the interior defensive linemen. Paul is a veteran coach and knows a lot about pass protection and the like and I think he will do a marvelous job coaching that position. Paul’s attitude has been great. When I approached him about it, he said, ‘Coach, whatever will help us win.’ Jappy Oliver will coach the defensive ends. Guge (Dave DeGuglielmo) will oversee the offensive line, primarily the tackles and tight ends, and Skip will also work some with the offensive line. I think these moves will really utilize the talents and abilities of our staff.”

“I’ve been meeting a lot with our defense. John Gutekunst is such a smart football coach and Chris Cosh is really a bright defensive mind. I am excited about the things we are going to be doing on defense.”

“We know we have to be far more productive on offense. Where we are and where we need to be Skip needs to have much more say in what we do on offense. People don’t realize I’ve coached defense all my life, before I was a head coach I coached on the defensive side.”

“Three years ago our offensive line was in shambles. The last three years our offensive line has played real well and that’s a tribute to Paul and to Guge. The big question was who do you take over to defense. What do you do with the defensive line? Paul had coached defensive line early in his career. He’s a veteran and an experience coach.”

on Tampa Bay Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin visiting South Carolina “Monte (Kiffin) was defensive coordinator at Nebraska when I went to Arkansas. I recruited him to come to Arkansas and he was with us for three years. We’ve been friends ever since then. We stay in touch and I went down to visit with him when the season was over. Monte said he would be happy to come up. He doesn’t do that very often. We’ve been friends for a long time. He gets intense but he really knows what he is doing. He came up and we had a great visit.”

“I’ve gone on record before. Politicians in general have a great ability to say who should get paid and how much with someone else’s money. You should not pay an athlete. They’re on scholarship for the most part, they get an opportunity to represent their university and an opportunity to receive an education. I just don’t think you need to pay a college athlete. I’ve voiced that opinion an awful long time.”

on proposal for five years of college eligibility “It would be beneficial for a lot of athletes. For an outstanding athlete, he will be gone after four though. Most athletes on scholarship do require four and a half years to graduate. So many schools have their athletes go to summer school.”