Aug. 2, 2005
COLUMBIA, S.C. – An estimated crowd of 2,500 fans came out to see the South Carolina football team, led by first-year head coach Steve Spurrier, practice for the first time this season on the USC practice fields tonight.
USC will practice from 8 – 10 p.m. through Saturday, Aug. 6. Practices are open to the public through Aug. 18. The first five practices are acclamation days. The players are dressed in shorts and jerseys with helmets.
After a 10-minute flex period, both sides of the ball got down to work. Towards the middle of practice, the team ran through a number of kicking and punting drills, led by Special Teams Coordinator Ron Cooper. The final 30-45 minutes of practice saw the offense square off against the defense.
HEAD COACH Steve Spurrier:
“Typical first practice but the one thing that jumped out to me was the speed and conditioning of our players. Mark Smith and our strength coaches have done an excellent job and the players have really participated in our off-season program. I know I yelled at a little them two or three weeks ago, but overall as a team it’s been pretty good. We just want a total team effort in the future, but the guys who jumped in there and bought into it have really improved their strength, conditioning and speed. We may be the fastest team they’ve ever had here right now, especially with those young freshmen receivers and running backs. We have a long way to go and a lot of teaching to do, but we’ve got some talent out here.”
COMPARING THE FALL VERSUS THE SPRING: “We certainly know a lot more of what to do. We installed everything in the spring so guys are familiar. The defense is very quick. The secondary guys looked very quick back there. They know what they’re doing so that’s encouraging. Hopefully the quarterbacks and receivers can get to where they know what we’re doing pretty soon.”
ON THE QUARTERBACKS: “They were ok. They were all pretty good. But again, we have some freshmen receivers who can run. I know (track) Coach (Curtis) Frye was out here watching. We have some speed here.”
ON THE CROWD: Excellent turnout. That may be the biggest crowd for a practice that I’ve had in college, not counting scrimmages.”
“It feels great to be starting. We have a real good group of running backs. It’s going to take a lot of work and I have to keep being a team player. Coach Spurrier is a great coach. He’s intelligent and he really knows about the game.”
Cade Thompson (on being on campus in July):
“We were able to get used to the atmosphere of college. Working out, running with the team, bonding with players, all that has helped us out.”
“It was really exciting out here tonight. There had to be more than 1,000 people out here watching. There is a lot of enthusiasm and everyone is really up beat. The pressure to perform is out there. It was a good day today.”
“It feels good to be back on the field. The offense looked good. It is a lot faster out there. The speed is phenomenal and everyone is running well. It is great to come together as a team. Everything was really upbeat and exciting. This is great.”
Updated Injury Report: Noah Whiteside, ankle; Devon Hill, lower back strain; Jeremy Burgess, lower back strain.