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Aug. 5, 2003

Tuesday marked the first day of preseason camp for the Gamecocks. Returning veteran players took the field a few minutes before the newcomers and ended their afternoon workout ahead of the newcomers who stayed for some extra work with the coaches. USC returns to the practice fields on Wednesday afternoon for a session that is slated to be similar to today’s workout.

Head Coach Lou Holtz offered these comments after the first day of practice:
(on the first practice)
“The first day is always hectic. We made way too many mental mistakes. I know you want to ask me about personnel, but I really can’t evaluate that area very well right now. I will tell you that Demetris Summers looked fluid; he looked smooth. Cory Boyd looked quick. I liked the fact that Blake Mitchell, Syvelle Newton and Noah Whiteside got a lot of work today. Charles Silas looked quick. We gave up too many deep balls on defense. What we’re going to stress with them tonight is that if something worked well today offensively or defensively, it wasn’t because they were brilliant, it was because they executed it properly.”

(on the quarterbacks)
“The quarterbacks looked pretty good. Dondrial Pinkins is No. 1 and Mike Rathe is No. 2. I’m anxious to see how Bennett Swygert reacts in live situations. I think Dondrial Pinkins understands his role as the starting quarterback. Like I told him, you can’t be a good football team without having a good quarterback.”

(on the practice schedule)
“With our players still in summer school, we weren’t able to practice in the morning these first few days. I like the fact that we are able to get additional meeting time with our coaches.”

(on the freshman practicing with the veterans)
“I liked the fact that the freshmen were with the varsity today, because they could see first hand how things are supposed to be done.”

(on position changes)
“We moved Eric Stroman to defensive end (from tackle) and we moved Darel Slay from defensive end to linebacker”

Player Quotes
Quarterback Dondrial Pinkins
(on leading the first team at the start of practice)
“Today was just like the summer, but just with the coaches there. It’s a little different heading into practice as the No. 1 guy. You have to lead the guys and I know people are depending on me. I’ve been here all summer so I am ready for the job. I enjoyed practice with the freshmen today, it’s a good teaching atmosphere. You need to be a leader.”

Wide Receiver Taqiy Muhammad
(on the first practice of the season)
“This was the first day of two-a-days. They will get a lot harder than this. But for now, just one practice a day is good so we can get a grasp on things.”

(on the receivers)
“We have a very talented group of receivers, led by Coach Charlie Williams. If we do things right – we could be the a very solid receiving corps. But we need to work hard to be that. I think I have some confidence coming out of the spring but I am here to contribute to the team.”