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Dec. 26, 2013

The University of South Carolina football team arrived safely in Orlando on Thursday afternoon. The Gamecocks went through a short conditioning session upon their arrival at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld Hotel and will begin bowl practices on Friday morning.

“We landed on time,” said head coach Steve Spurrier. “We’re here just like we were two years ago – same hotel, wearing the same uniforms, hoping for the same results. But we’ve got to play well if we expect to beat Wisconsin. They are a very good team. I think they’re favored over us, so I guess if we beat them, it will be an upset. Our guys practiced pretty well back in Columbia and we hope to have some good practices here.

“We’ve got everybody healthy except Damiere Byrd,” continued the Head Ball Coach. “We’ll miss Damiere. He’s our deep-threat, long-ball guy. Hopefully one of the other players will step forward and maybe catch a long one before the day is over.” Coach Spurrier mentioned that Nick Jones and Shamier Jeffery could see more playing time in Byrd’s absence.

Coach Spurrier confirmed that reserve wide receiver Kwinton Smith did not make the trip to Orlando due to academic issues.

Coach Spurrier was asked about Jadeveon Clowney’s penchant for driving fast. “He needs to go to driving school doesn’t he?” asked Coach Spurrier. “At least he’ll have enough money to pay for it in a week or so from now. Hopefully they’ll send him (to driving school) after the bowl game.”

Coach Spurrier acknowledged the need for a strong running game to help offset the Wisconsin running attack. “We try to use the running game every game,” said the HBC. “Some games it doesn’t go very far, so we have to try something else. But Mike Davis has had an excellent year. He’s been pretty quiet the last three games. He had a little bit of an injury for the Coastal Carolina game so we didn’t play him then. But the other games he just didn’t have much room to run. We’ve still got to block somebody. Our blocking has been a little suspect a few times lately. But hopefully we can create some running lanes for him in this game.”

The Gamecocks will practice at Celebration High School at 11 a.m. on Friday. The first 15 minutes of practice are open. Later in the day, the team will head to DisneyWorld.

The No. 8/8 Gamecocks (10-2, 6-2 SEC) and No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten) will meet at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on Wednesday, January 1. Game time is set for 1 p.m. ET and the game will be televised nationally on ABC with Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Tom Luginbill handling the broadcast.