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Sept. 16, 2014

The South Carolina Gamecocks worked out at the Bluff Road practice fields on Tuesday afternoon. The No. 14/16 Gamecocks (2-1, 1-1 SEC) are preparing for Saturday’s SEC Eastern Division battle with the Vanderbilt Commodores (1-2, 0-1 SEC).

Two starters, offensive guard Cody Waldrop (knee) and defensive tackle J.T. Surratt (back) were held out of practice on Tuesday with injuries.

“We’re getting better,” said linebackers coach Kirk Botkin after Tuesday’s practice. “We’re not there yet. We need a little more consistency, but we’re getting better. Every game brings new challenges. You have to come out here and work, pay your dues, work on tackling and work on taking good angles. As long as you’re doing that I think good things will happen.”

Botkin indicated that his starting group of linebackers is not set in stone. “We’re still maybe tinkering. It depends on how you play and how you practice. We play a lot of guys,” noted Botkin.

Like the linebackers, the defensive backs have shown some improvement from week one to week three. “Each week we’ve been taking small steps in the right direction,” said defensive backs coach Grady Brown. “The only problem is in this league you need to take big steps in a positive direction. That’s what we’re focusing on. Each week we’ve played a little bit better, but a little bit is not going to get it. We need to make a jump.”

Coach Brown is not focused on which quarterback Vanderbilt may play on Saturday. “With where we are as a secondary, I’m not sure that we can be overly concerned with who’s playing at quarterback. We need to be concerned about taking care of our assignments, not having assignments bust, being able to line up properly, executing the proper technique.”

Like Botkin, Brown’s secondary is not set in stone. “We’re just trying to get the best players on the field at that particular time, depending upon down and distance, depending upon what the offense is trying to do. We’re just trying to put the best players on the field that can help us win and get us off the field on third down and get to third down for that matter,” said Brown.

Game time Saturday from Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and the contest will be televised nationally on the SEC Network with Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer in the booth and Maria Taylor on the sidelines.