April 16, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The day has arrived. The 2005 Garnet and Black Spring Football Game kicks off today at 1:07 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. Admission is FREE and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and ESPNU.
Please note that the dedication of the Charles F. Crews Football Facility, which features Carolina’s new football weight room and meeting facilities, will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, instead of the originally scheduled time of 12:30 p.m. at the Southwest corner of Williams-Brice Stadium near Gate 5. Please make appropriate plans to attend the dedication ceremony at the earlier time.
PARKING INFORMATION Stadium parking lots and the Key Road lot will open at 9 a.m. Parking for the Fairgrounds will be available at 10 a.m. Gate 10, located on Bluff Road, must be used for all football parking at the Fairgrounds. All parking, including the Fairgrounds, is FREE.
GATE INFORMATION All gates will open two hours prior to game time at 11 a.m. Admission is FREE.
Fans can expect an exciting game-day atmosphere on April 16. Be in your seats early as USC’s famous “2001” entrance will be broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN2. The Gamecock cheerleaders and band will be on hand, and there will be numerous presentations on the video board. Spring football media guides will also be on sale for $3.
The game will consist of four, 12-minute quarters. A halftime break will be utilized.
The 2005 NIT Champion Gamecock men’s basketball team will be honored at halftime. Coach Spurrier will present the spring practice awards to the team during the halftime break.
NOTING THE GARNET AND BLACK GAME
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH MIKE RATHE?
Quarterback Mike Rathe, who Carolina fans will remember as the player who led the Gamecocks on a game-winning drive at Kentucky last season that culminated with a touchdown pass to Troy Williamson, is in a state of limbo this spring. Rathe is appealing to the NCAA to get a sixth year of eligibility. It was thought that he would know his status early on during spring camp, but no official decision has been made to date. In the meantime, Rathe has participated in drills, but has not taken as many reps as some of the other quarterbacks due to the uncertainty of his status.
GET TO KNOW THE NEW GUY
Mike West, a sophomore linebacker who transferred from Butler County Community College in Kansas, has come in to the Carolina program and has been a playmaker during spring camp. Standing 6-0 and weighing 206, West plays with the number one linebackers and has given reason to think he could be in the mix for a starting spot when the season comes.
WHO ISN’T PLAYING
Injuries have forced the following players to miss the Garnet and Black Game:
Fred Bennett, DB (Shoulder)
Ko Simpson, Rover (Pinky finger)
Eric Stroman, OL (Foot)
Matt Raysor, DL (Ankle)
Charles Silas, DL (Ankle)
Michael Flint, WR (Shoulder)
John Paul Gillis, OL (Back)
Travis Lee, WR (Neck)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Looking beyond some of the higher-profile players on the Carolina roster, a group of other players who have not gotten as much publicity in the past have turned heads this spring. Perhaps the two biggest explosions have come from redshirt freshman wide receiver Sidney Rice and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Stanley Doughty. Rice has made several nice catches, many of which coming over the middle, while Doughty has consistently disrupted things in the backfield. Another player who has emerged is redshirt sophomore Ty Erving. The Batesburg native had a big day in Wednesday’s scrimmage, recording an interception and forcing a fumble while getting a sack on a blitz. Redshirt freshman running back Albert Ashcraft has turned some heads with his speed out of the backfield and has shown that he can be explosive when getting to the outside.
WHO’S THE QUARTERBACK?
Coach Spurrier has indicated that the quarterback race is wide open this spring, but redshirt sophomore Blake Mitchell and redshirt freshman Antonio Heffner have been the two players getting the most first-team reps. Both players have had moments when they have looked good, and the spring game could be a key opportunity for both players to leave an impression leading into the summer.
RUNNING CLOCK IN THE THIRD QUARTER
Fans should be aware that the clock will run continuously in the third quarter in order to speed the game along and fit it into the television broadcast window.
LOOKING TO SET AN ATTENDANCE RECORD
Carolina is hoping to set a new attendance record Saturday. The previous high attendance for a spring game is believed to be 25,000, set in 1985.