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March 29, 2003

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: 154 days until the season-opener at Williams-Brice Stadium, Sat., Aug. 30 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.

GOING CAMPING: USC conducted its first scrimmage of the spring inside Williams-Brice Stadium after completing early-session drills at the practice fields. Saturday’s practice totaled three hours, with the last hour and 45 minutes spent in a controlled scrimmage of over 100 plays.

HIGHLIGHT REEL: The offense did not commit a single turnover and saved their biggest play of the scrimmage for last, when Dondrial Pinkins completed a 53-yard strike down the sideline to Troy Williamson. Pinkins connected on four other passes of 17-yards or more, including a 22-yard pass to TE Andy Boyd. Bennett Swygert completed three passes that gained ten or more yards and Mike Rathe connected on ten and nine-yard completions during the scrimmage. Mikal Goodman unofficially led the team with four receptions while Boyd caught three passes. Daccus Turman reeled off a 17-yard scamper for the long rushing play of the day. Defensively, Tremaine Tyler recorded two pass break ups while Isaac Stackhouse and Corey Peoples each had one. Preston Thorne, Darel Slay and Darrell Shropshire each registered a tackle for loss.

QUOTING HEAD COACH LOU HOLTZ: Head coach Lou Holtz spoke to the media following today’s scrimmage.

(on the scrimmage) – “One thing that is obvious in a hurry is the fact that we lost a lot of good athletes from last years team. It’s hard to replace athletes like Corey Jenkins, Ryan Brewer, Langston Moore, Andrew Pinnock, Rashad Faison and Jermaine Lemon. For the first scrimmage, there were some good things. Defensively, we must come off the ball better and be more aggressive up front. There were too many missed assignments. The big play we gave up on third down and 35 was uncalled for (53-yard pass play from Dondrial Pinkins to Troy Williamson).

(on the defense) – “We have to play team defense. This is not a defense where individuals will star. We did a good job of stopping the run today. This is a defense that must rely on consistent techniques. Our cornerbacks did a pretty good job. Dunta Robinson can be a special player. He must understand that it’s a game of technique. The biggest adjustment the spurs have had to make to playing safety in the new defense is adjusting to my coaching. Basically, they changed schools without changing professors.”

(on the offense) – “Offensively, we could not run the football effectively. I thought our pass protection was pretty good. We caught the ball well, but we didn’t make a whole lot happen after we caught it. Taqiy Muhammad and Troy Williamson stepped it up at wide receiver. I was pleased with the passing game for the most part. Sunday, we will look at the film and make corrections. The tight ends have caught the ball pretty well during the spring. Brian Brownlee, Hart Turner, Andy Boyd are all doing some nice things. I thought our quarterbacks did a pretty good job of reading the blitz. We threw a lot of things at them defensively. Because we have had some problems at wide receiver, we are doing some different things with our tight ends.”

INJURY UPDATE: DL Eric Stroman has a broken foot and is out for the rest of the spring. DL Chris Tucker has a foot sprain and is out indefinitely.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE: The Gamecocks will practice Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m., a session in which they will mainly work on corrections from the scrimmage film. USC will then take Monday and Tuesday off before resuming spring drills on Wed., April 2.