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Nov. 8, 2004

Columbia, SC – The following are opening comments from the Lou Holtz press conference held on Monday, November 8th:

“Congratulations once again to Ko Simpson. It’s unusual for a freshman to be named defenseve SEC Player of the Week, but he sure deserved it.

On injuries:

“Pinkins is out indefinitely. I don’t know how long. Na’Shan Goddard, Marcus Lawrence and Chris Tucker are out, for how long I don’t know. They won’t practice today. I’m talking about they’re with the trainer all day. That’ s never a good sign because you go from the trainer to partial things you can do to practice.

Last week against Arkansas:

“We had some people play awful well. I think Jabari Levy is playing as well as any offensive tackle in this conference. He just played another outstanding football game.

Chris White had an excellent game. Once again Demetris Summers played a complete football game-just played awful, awful well.

Syvelle Newton, even though he’s only about 60 percent full speed, I thought he came in and did an excellent job. It was obvious he doesn’t have the quickness that he had, but he made good decision, protected the ball and threw it very, very well.

I think you always have to look at Troy Williamson. And it’s amazing how the offense has taken on a different concept as different things have developed. Just the way Troy Williamson and Noah Whiteside have developed is really something.

I think on defense Marque Hall, forgetting his first start as a true freshman, really played very, very well, very encouraging on that. A guy that doesn’t get much recognition, I haven’t talked very much about, but boy is he a special person and an excellent football player and that’s Preston Thorne. He’s a guy that had an ACL operation last year and didn’t know if he’d ever play again and he has just come back and performed exceptionally well. Of course our linebackers contintue to play well in our secondary.

The amazing thing, when you go back and look at that game, we were behind four times during the course of that football game. And every time they kept coming back. We try to recognize privately with our team big plays in a football game, and some really special plays at real critical times where somebody just did something that was really and truly special. And it was interesting we had seven of them this week. That’s by far more than we’ve ever had before.

Ko Simpson had two of them. Of course the fumble recovery was big. His interception at the end of the ball game was just a tremendous play. I don’t know what his vertical jump is, but it was a great play. You look at Taqiy Muhammad’s interception, Demetris Summers’ run, Noah Whiteside’s passes across the middle, Troy Williamson’s big play, Syvelle Newton, etc.

It’s nice to be bowl eligible, but we have a lot more left in this season. It just wasn’t our goal to go to a bowl game. It is nice because we’ve been one game away the last two years and couldn’t get it done in the stretch against very good opponents.

Houston Nutt called me today. I talked to him. I have a lot of respect for him. He was a GA for me, he played for me. They really wanted to win this game badly. This was a critical game for Arkansas and they played well and put a lot of work and effort into this game and into this preparation.