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Nov. 17, 2015

The University of South Carolina football team worked out for two hours on a pleasant fall day at the new Gamecock Park practice fields in Columbia on Tuesday afternoon.

The Gamecocks (3-7) are preparing for a Saturday, Nov. 21, non-conference instate matchup with the Citadel Bulldogs (7-3) out of the Southern Conference. Game time is set for high noon and the contest will be televised on the SEC Network ALT channel with Taylor Zazour and Charles Arbuckle in the booth and Paul Finebaum working the sidelines. In addition, SEC Nation will be broadcasting live from 10 am to noon in Gamecock Park.

Despite a bowl game no longer in the future for the Gamecocks this season, the coaches have not seen any drop off in enthusiasm during practice. “They worked hard today,” said linebackers coach Kirk Botkin of the squad. “I think the music helps. We’re trying to be enthusiastic. The kids want to win, so they worked hard today.”

The coaches have given some thought to using some younger players in the final two games, but the goal is to win the game. “We talked about that,” admitted Botkin. “We’re working a lot of guys this week. But this week’s a little different with triple-option football and responsibilities. We want to win the football game, so we’re going to put the best ones out there, that’s for sure,” said Botkin.

“We’re trying to win football games and whatever we have to do to win the football game is what we’re going to do,” echoed defensive line coach Deke Adams. “We’ve got two games left and we’re going to come out, we’re going to play hard and do the best we can do Saturday, then get ready for the next one.”

The Citadel triple-option attack is something that the Gamecocks have not seen for a couple of years. “They’re going to get yards,” said Adams. “That’s just the way it is with this offense. You’ve got to try to limit it as much as possible and not give up the big plays and make them go the length of the field. You’ve got to deal with cut blocks and things like that. I think as long as the kids play hard and keep their pads down and play with their hands like we’ve been doing, then we’ll be fine.”

Offensive linemen Mike Matulis and Mason Zandi did not practice on Tuesday. Matulis is probable for Saturday’s contest, while Zandi is out with a high ankle sprain. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who has missed much of the season with a hamstring injury, practiced on Tuesday, as did wide receiver D.J. Neal, who missed last week’s game with a hip injury.

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Wednesday afternoon.