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March 17, 2004

Columbia, SC – * South Carolina’s football team begins spring football practice this Saturday, March 20. The annual Spring Game is set for April 17 at 1 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium.

* Head coach Lou Holtz said Wednesday that the team has “a lot of question marks” heading into spring practice. Holtz said that six players from last year’s squad will not be able to participate in spring ball due to injuries, including offensive lineman Kris Mick (wrist); tight end Robert Pavlovic (foot); defensive tackle Eric Stroman (foot); defensive tackle Preston Thorne (knee); tight end Andy Boyd (knee); and offensive lineman Chad Walker (knee). “I cannot remember having this many players being hurt heading into a spring practice,” said Holtz.

* Coach Holtz said he was not overly optimistic heading into this spring. The Gamecocks are coming off of consecutive 5-7 seasons. Holtz said there were only two players from last year’s squad who were returning who had played with much consistency at all last season, with those players being defensive ends Moe Thompson and George Gause.

* With five new assistant coaches on the staff, Holtz said that it may take some time to get the players acclimated with the new faces. “They went through winter workouts together, but most of the time it takes a spring practice to be able to establish those kind of relationships.”

* When asked how the winter program went, Coach Holtz said: “I don’t know anyone who ever had a bad winter program, a bad spring practice or a bad recruiting class.”

* Coach Holtz said it was too early to tell who this year’s team leaders may be. “Last year, we were able to identify Travelle Wharton and Dunta Robinson early on,” said Holtz. “We won’t have permanent team captains until the end of the season.”

* Coach Holtz said that Demetris Summers, Cory Boyd and Daccus Turman would work at tailback this spring. He expects walkon Jaime Peters and junior Brandon Schweitzer to work at fullback.

* USC’s Coaching Clinic is scheduled for March 25-27 … Practices will be closed to the public this spring … Designated practices will be open to the media. A schedule will be posted next week … Coach Holtz will be available to the media once a week and that schedule will be posted next week, as well. Other assistant coaches will be available during the course of spring practice.

* Coach Holtz opened his comments by congratulating Gamecock men’s basketball coach Dave Odom for being named SEC Coach of the Year and he wished the team the best of luck in the upcoming NCAA Basketball Tournament … He also congratulated baseball coach Ray Tanner for his team’s red-hot 18-0 start and also extended best wishes to head track and field coach Curtis Frye.

Here is a breakdown of USC’s assistant coaching staff responsibilities for the 2004 season:

Skip Holtz — assistant head coach/quarterbacks

Rick Minter — defensive coordinator/linebackers

Ron Cooper — defensive backs

Paul Lounsberry — tight ends/special teams

Jappy Oliver — defensive line

David Reaves — defensive backs assistant

Dave Roberts — runningbacks

Steve Shankweiler — offensive line

Rick Stockstill — wide receivers/recruiting coordinator

MEDIA NOTE: The first 30 minutes of this Saturday’s spring practice will be open to the media (start time is 10 a.m.). Coach Holtz will be available in the press room behind the lobby of the football building following the workout at approximately 12:20 p.m.