Week 2 of the regular season is already hitting full stride. Running backs Shon Carson and Brandon Wilds, along with free safety Isaiah Johnson and head coach Steve Spurrier, joined the media today to preview this week's conference and home opener against the Kentucky Wildcats and look back on last Thursday's victory in Charlotte. Here's some highlights from today's media gathering:
On last year's loss to Kentucky:
It's pretty clear that last year's loss in Lexington has fueled much of the motivation this offseason and will continue to help the Gamecocks improve in practice this week. The defense will definitely come out hunting for revenge.
Brandon Wilds on avenging UK loss: "The past is the past. We can only focus on right now. Hopefully, we can go out there and get a win."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) September 8, 2015
Johnson hears about last year's Kentucky game "every day." Players are looking for revenge.— GamecockCentral.com (@GamecockCentral) September 8, 2015
On looking ahead to this week's matchup:
Spurrier hopes the team can improve off of last week's victory. Says the offense did do some things well last week, such as running the clock out, but wants to see more open receivers and a better ariel attack this Saturday. Excited for the first year players to get to experience Willy-B under the lights.
"A lot of our players have never played here, so it will be a wonderful experience." Spurrier says Kentucky is much improved.— GamecockCentral.com (@GamecockCentral) September 8, 2015
Steve Spurrier compliments are the best: Kentucky is "very capable of having a winning season, going to bowl games and so forth."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) September 8, 2015
Spurrier: We've got a lot of improving to do, hopefully that will; start against Kentucky. #Gamecocks— Willie Smith (@willie_t_smith) September 8, 2015
On the wide receiver rotation:
It's no secret South Carolina struggled to find open receivers down field last week. But it doesn't look like the rotation will be any different than what we saw against UNC.
Receiver rotation won't change too much, Spurrier said. If they're healthy, Samuel, Googer and Heard will be the top guys with Pharoh.— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) September 8, 2015
That said, the receiving corps has added one new guy.
Jamari Smith has been moved to WR. Gamecocks have not looked at Lorenzo Nunez there so far, Spurrier says.— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) September 8, 2015
Quick update on the back-up center situation:
Zack Bailey is currently listed as the back-up center behind Alan Knott, but Spurrier did mention the possibility of the smaller Clayton Stadnik competing for that slot as well.
Spurrier saying that Clayton Stadnik could play backup center in a pinch. So he could challenge Zack Bailey for backup.— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) September 8, 2015
It appears as though the starters on offense who got banged up last Thursday should be good to go starting today.
Spurrier: Connor Mitch should practice today. Deebo Samuel and Terry Googer should practice a bit as well.— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) September 8, 2015
On the unveiling of the George Rodgers statue:
Spurrier says it is "wonderful" USC is recognizing George Rogers with a statue. "We're all very happy. Hopefully we'll have another go up."— GamecockCentral.com (@GamecockCentral) September 8, 2015
As for his own statue down in Gainesville:
Spurrier: "I still got a day job I got to worry about, so I don't sit around and think about (my statue) that much."— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) September 8, 2015