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April 6, 2003

Columbia, SC –

? USC went through a two-hour workout Sunday evening under the lights, focusing primarily on correcting mistakes that were made in Saturday’s spring football scrimmage. Head coach Lou Holtz went over the projected starting lineups, through Saturday’s scrimmage:

Offense — WR Troy Williamson, WR Taqiy Muhammad, WR Chavez Donnings, TE Hart Turner, OT Na’shan Goddard, OT Travelle Wharton, OG Jabari Levey, OG Jonathan Alston, C John Strickland, RB Kenny Irons, RB Daccus Turman, QB Dondrial Pinkins

Defense — DE Moe Thompson, DE George Gause, DT Darrell Shropshire, DT Preston Thorne, LB Ricardo Hurley, LB Marcus Lawrence, LB Rod Thomas, CB Dunta Robinson, CB Teddy Crawford, S Rod Wilson, S Jamacia Jackson

? Coach Holtz also mentioned that defensively, Deandre Eiland was neck in neck for the starting cornerback slot with Teddy Crawford and was playing the nickleback position now. Offensively, Coach Holtz said that Kris Mick was making a strong bid for playing time at center. He also said that Chris White, who returned to the practice field earlier this week after missing all of last year with a neck injury, could work his way into some playing time at offensive guard.

? Regarding Eiland, Coach Holtz said: “It’s not that Deandre’ isn’t playing well, in fact, he is having a good spring. Teddy Crawford has just done some things to get a slight edge in that competition there. They both will play. We have 12 green shirts on defense (to signify the starters) and Eiland wears one of those, so he’s like a starter.”

? Coach Holtz also said that Dunta Robinson had shown great improvement over the past week at corner. “Dunta has really improved his technique,” said Holtz. “He has the chance to be a big-time player.”

? Coach Holtz said that defensive tackles Randy Jackson and Brandon Schweitzer were also doing some good things and would be contention for significant playing time.

? Said Holtz: “I really can’t think of a disappointment thus far this spring, other than the injuries to Eric Stroman (foot), Chris Tucker (foot), Jeremiah Garrison (chest muscle) and Lance Laury (knee). We’ve got to move on. We can’t have the train wait.”

? Coach Holtz said that junior college quarterback Mike Rathe was really coming on. “Rathe did some nice things in Saturday’s scrimmage,” said Holtz. “He throws a nice ball and shows some poise in the pocket. Both of our quarterbacks are throwing the ball well.” Holtz went on to say that since Bennett Swygert is not able to have any contact since he is still recovering from knee surgery, he hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase his abilities during the scrimmages this spring.

? When asked who he thought could emerge as playmakers on defense, Holtz mentioned linebackers Ricardo Hurley and Marcus Lawrence, ends Moe Thompson and George Gause and cornerback Dunta Robinson.

? Coach Holtz said among his biggest concerns are in the kicking game, particularly at punter, and the defensive front’s inability to put pressure on the passer.

? The Gamecocks will not practice again until Thursday. That day the coaches will draft two teams for the Spring Game on April 12. Start time for that contest is 1 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. Coach Holtz said that Thurday’s practice would be physical. Following the Spring Game, the Gamecocks will wind up spring drills with a workout on Sunday and a practice on the following Thursday. “We’ll send the blood mobile by and make sure we got the very last drop of blood out of them before we conclude spring practice,” joked Holtz.