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Football team meets with wounded soldier

Local soldier to serve as honorary captain; Wolford worried about false starts

Written by SETH EMERSON

Getting some inspiration, rather than extra practice reps, was the emphasis for USC on Monday night.

The Gamecocks finished football practice about an hour earlier than usual. That might seem unusual given that No. 1 Florida is visiting Saturday and USC is on a two-game losing streak, but coach Steve Spurrier felt his team needed it.

"It's late in the year. We've had 10 straight weeks of it," Spurrier said. "So we're trying to freshen up our guys a little bit."

Before practice, the team watched a video about wounded solders and had a local soldier, Steven Diaz, talk to the team.

Diaz will serve as honorary captain this week. Spurrier said Diaz spent 20 months at Bethesda Naval Hospital after being wounded in Iraq.

The Gamecocks will be wearing special camouflage-tinged uniforms and shoes in honor of wounded warriors.

"I hope we'll be inspired," Spurrier said. "We were actually inspired pretty well the last game. We just didn't play very well."

False starts called false?

Offensive line coach Eric Wolford knew he had to be careful when discussing the officiating.

"I don't have money like Urban Meyer does," Wolford said.

Still, Wolford was concerned that with some false start penalties - the Gamecocks had four on Saturday - his linemen aren't entirely to blame. He thinks some defensive linemen are doing too much to "entice" the opposition to jump.

"There's some things going on with the interpretation of the rule," Wolford said. "And the way it's interpreted is you have to cross the line of scrimmage, and the adjacent player has to jump because of that for an infraction there. So I think some people are jumping around and trying to entice some people to jump. They're taking advantage of the rule. That obviously will have to be addressed after the season."

Footing issues

Tailback Kenny Miles said he and some teammates had trouble getting traction on Arkansas' artificial turf. The players were wearing molded spikes, and Miles thought longer, detachable spikes would have been better.

The turf was a little bit thicker than what we thought," Miles said. "You couldn't really get your footing a lot of times, and a lot of guys slipped out there on Saturday. But you really can't blame it on the playing surface."

Rehashing vote-gate

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow again shrugged off the mini-controversy from August over Spurrier not voting him first-team on his preseason All-SEC team. Spurrier said he erred in having Mississippi's Jevan Snead on his ballot and later asked to have his vote changed to Tebow.

"I laughed that off when it happened," Spurrier said. "It blew up, but I didn't think of that as being a big deal. That's not going to give me any extra motivation this week."

Extra points

A request by the media to speak to Steve Spurrier Jr. after Monday's practice was turned down. Spurrier Jr.'s status as the playcaller has been a hot topic since Arkansas, when tight end Weslye Saunders alluded to it. Spurrier Sr. said Sunday he was mainly responsible for the play-calling. ... Akeem Auguste (bruised shoulder) wore a yellow non-contact jersey Monday, but Spurrier said he should be OK. Auguste will likely move back to cornerback with free safety Chris Culliver returning after a one-game absence. ... USC placekicker Spencer Lanning is one of 20 semifinalists for the 2009 Lou Groza honor, given to the nation's top kicker.

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Football team meets with wounded soldier

Local soldier to serve as honorary captain; Wolford worried about false starts

Written by SETH EMERSON

Getting some inspiration, rather than extra practice reps, was the emphasis for USC on Monday night.

The Gamecocks finished football practice about an hour earlier than usual. That might seem unusual given that No. 1 Florida is visiting Saturday and USC is on a two-game losing streak, but coach Steve Spurrier felt his team needed it.

"It's late in the year. We've had 10 straight weeks of it," Spurrier said. "So we're trying to freshen up our guys a little bit."

Before practice, the team watched a video about wounded solders and had a local soldier, Steven Diaz, talk to the team.

Diaz will serve as honorary captain this week. Spurrier said Diaz spent 20 months at Bethesda Naval Hospital after being wounded in Iraq.

The Gamecocks will be wearing special camouflage-tinged uniforms and shoes in honor of wounded warriors.

"I hope we'll be inspired," Spurrier said. "We were actually inspired pretty well the last game. We just didn't play very well."

False starts called false?

Offensive line coach Eric Wolford knew he had to be careful when discussing the officiating.

"I don't have money like Urban Meyer does," Wolford said.

Still, Wolford was concerned that with some false start penalties - the Gamecocks had four on Saturday - his linemen aren't entirely to blame. He thinks some defensive linemen are doing too much to "entice" the opposition to jump.

"There's some things going on with the interpretation of the rule," Wolford said. "And the way it's interpreted is you have to cross the line of scrimmage, and the adjacent player has to jump because of that for an infraction there. So I think some people are jumping around and trying to entice some people to jump. They're taking advantage of the rule. That obviously will have to be addressed after the season."

Footing issues

Tailback Kenny Miles said he and some teammates had trouble getting traction on Arkansas' artificial turf. The players were wearing molded spikes, and Miles thought longer, detachable spikes would have been better.

The turf was a little bit thicker than what we thought," Miles said. "You couldn't really get your footing a lot of times, and a lot of guys slipped out there on Saturday. But you really can't blame it on the playing surface."

Rehashing vote-gate

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow again shrugged off the mini-controversy from August over Spurrier not voting him first-team on his preseason All-SEC team. Spurrier said he erred in having Mississippi's Jevan Snead on his ballot and later asked to have his vote changed to Tebow.

"I laughed that off when it happened," Spurrier said. "It blew up, but I didn't think of that as being a big deal. That's not going to give me any extra motivation this week."

Extra points

A request by the media to speak to Steve Spurrier Jr. after Monday's practice was turned down. Spurrier Jr.'s status as the playcaller has been a hot topic since Arkansas, when tight end Weslye Saunders alluded to it. Spurrier Sr. said Sunday he was mainly responsible for the play-calling. ... Akeem Auguste (bruised shoulder) wore a yellow non-contact jersey Monday, but Spurrier said he should be OK. Auguste will likely move back to cornerback with free safety Chris Culliver returning after a one-game absence. ... USC placekicker Spencer Lanning is one of 20 semifinalists for the 2009 Lou Groza honor, given to the nation's top kicker.

Great article. Hopefully the players can gain some inspiration from this young man and actually play with some intensity and heart. I'm sure that the guys are tired because we haven't had a bye week all year long but they have to bow their backs, buckle up their chin-straps and play big boy football against UF.

This weekend the 1st quarter of the game is going to be the most important quarter of football we will play this season.

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