Oct. 10, 2003
By Patrick T. Walsh, USC Sports Information
Ready to rebound from a close loss at Tennessee, the Gamecocks are prepared to take on Kentucky this week and leading the defensive effort for Carolina is defensive back Dunta Robinson. While the overtime loss in Knoxville may have sunk some Gamecock fans hearts, it has only made Robinson’s drive even more.
“The close loss at Tennessee will definitely give us an extra drive against Kentucky,” said Robinson. “We have been working hard to be prepared for this game. We came out with a tough win at Kentucky last year and they will be out to win this one. This is a game they have probably pointed towards since last year and we are going to have to come out strong against them.”
Knowing that no win comes easily, Robinson and the Gamecocks have been working hard the past week and a half to get ready to face a team that they defeated in a close 16-12 contest last year in Lexington.
“Kentucky is going to be very well prepared for us,” continued Robinson. “They are coming off a tough loss to Florida, but we are also coming off a tough loss to Tennessee. We are going to be ready to play. Both teams (Kentucky and South Carolina) feel they could have won the games and both are disappointed that they did not. We want to show the whole country what we can do.”
Robinson, an Athens, Ga., native, is not ready to repeat the mistakes of last year. Carolina finished 5-7 last year, dropping their last five after starting out 5-2. Robinson blamed the slow finish on complacency.
“Last year we started out 5-2 and I think most guys got complacent,” said Robinson. “We went on to lose our next five games. We had some close games and I think people thought that we were going to be fine but that was not the case. Last year was a big learning experience for all of us. It is something we do not want to happen this year. We are 3-2 right now and we just want to keep winning. We cannot afford to be complacent.” Robinson is best known for an interception he made last year at Kentucky – one of the best plays of the 2002 season for the Gamecocks.
“On that interception against Kentucky last year, I was basically running with their wide receiver and I saw him turn around,” explains Robinson. “I did my best just to turn and just reached out for it with my hand. I couldn’t get both hands around in time, so I just got it with one hand and pinned it to my shoulder. I’ll admit it, I was a bit lucky in coming down with that ball on that play.”
Carolina does not have an easy schedule in the upcoming months. After tonight, other tough Southeastern Conference opponents such as LSU, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Florida loom on the horizon.
“The schedule that we play is not easy,” Robinson said. “We are going to have to work hard. We are hitting a hard stretch of tough opponents. It is going to be the team that works the hardest, that hits the hardest, that causes the fumbles that wins those games. We cannot go out there and let up, ever.”
Robinson and the rest of the Gamecocks are ready to take on the best and show the nation what Carolina football is all about. That includes playing against some of the top players in the nation week in and week out in the SEC.
“Playing in the SEC, you are going to face some of the best players in college football,” said Robinson. “We will see a great quarterback here tonight with Jared Lorenzen. Each week it is someone new. We will have to be at our best to be up for the challenge.”