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Sept. 5, 2009

The University of South Carolina football team returned to the practice fields on Saturday for the first time since their season-opening 7-3 win at NC State. The Gamecocks are beginning preparations for next Saturday’s 7 p.m. contest against Georgia, a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Head coach Steve Spurrier kept his offensive skill players on the practice field well after the rest of the team went to the locker room. “I’m going to start coaching my butt off until we can throw the ball around,” said the Head Ball Coach. “We’ve all been coaching, but we’re going to put in overtime. We were pretty sad the other night. It’s nobody’s fault but mine. So I’ll coach my tail off and see if we can’t get some offense around here.”

The Gamecocks could have scored more against the Wolfpack, but bogged down in the red zone. “We got stuck on that 10-yard line I think three times in the game – first and goal at the 10. We had some bad plays on, I’ll be the first to admit. We had a lot of plays the other night that could have made us losers, but fortunately it worked out for us.”

Junior defensive end Clifton Geathers returned to practice on Saturday. “He looked like he was tired. He looked like he hadn’t done anything in about two weeks,” said Coach Spurrier. “He’ll be eligible this week and Kenny Davis will be eligible this week.”

Coach Spurrier was complimentary of the play of redshirt freshman T.J. Johnson, who made his first career start at right guard. “I think (offensive line) Coach (Eric) Wolford said he played without a missed assignment. That’s very unusual to play all 64 plays without a missed assignment.”

Junior linebacker Rodney Paulk confirmed that he has a torn ACL in his right knee and will undergo surgery in the near future. He will miss the remainder of the season. “Rodney will have surgery in a couple of weeks,” confirmed Coach Spurrier. “That was the worst part of the trip. Hopefully he will be able to get that sixth year of medical hardship. We’ll appeal for that.”

The Gamecocks will take Sunday off, then return to the Bluff Road practice fields Monday night at 6:30 pm.