Nov. 18, 2015
The University of South Carolina football squad spent two hours on the new Gamecock Park practice fields on Wednesday afternoon.
The Gamecocks (3-7) are preparing for a Saturday, Nov. 21, non-conference instate matchup with the Southern Conference co-champion Citadel Bulldogs (7-3). 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.
“This Saturday is Military Appreciation Day,” reminded interim head coach Shawn Elliott. “It’s going to be a big time now. We’ve got a great thing at halftime. I just want to remind everybody — all the Gamecock faithful — to come out and stay in your seats at halftime and represent those guys well. They do a heck of a job for our country and we appreciate everything they do.”
Junior quarterback Perry Orth has had a memorable year, first going on scholarship, then blossoming into the Gamecocks’ starting signal-caller. “It’s been an incredible experience,” said Orth. “I have to thank God first and foremost. It’s been a blessing — this whole journey. It hasn’t turned out with the wins and losses. It’s kind of bittersweet because winning is the name of the game and we haven’t exactly done that as much as we wanted to, but we have two more chances to turn it around.”
Orth made the decision to come to South Carolina to test himself in the nation’s best conference. “I wanted to prove to myself that I was good enough to play here, at this level,” said Orth. “I came in and worked as hard as I possibly could to give myself a shot and left it up to God to figure out the rest. I’m very, very blessed to be in this position.”
Orth had the unique opportunity to play against his home state flagship school last week when the Gamecocks hosted Florida. “Everybody back home watched it,” noted Orth. “It was a tough ticket to give to a bunch of friends because it was at home and was a big game, but everybody back home watched it. They’re so happy for me. They were rooting for us to win, even some Florida fans that I know. It was pretty cool. Growing up, watching (the Gators) play every week, that was pretty incredible.”
Orth feels that he has proven that he can compete at this level. “Absolutely,” he said without reservation. “I’ve made some mistakes this year but overall I feel like I’ve played pretty well. I wasn’t very experienced coming into the year. We’ve played in some hostile environments against some pretty darn good defenses and teams. A few plays here and there and we could have a different record.”
Orth indicated that he doesn’t play with a chip on his shoulder. “I just go out and try to play football. Just like high school — just go out there and try to win. Prepare the best I can to help our team win.”
The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Thursday afternoon.