In last week's game against Ole Miss, the USC coaches were ready to compliment 'spur' Demario Jeffery, a freshman out of Columbia High, for calling a timeout. At least until they became aware of why he had officials stop play.
"I said, 'Well, Damario, pretty smart. I guess we had 12 guys on the field or something,'" USC coach Steve Spurrier said. "He said, 'No, I just didn't get the (defensive) call.' I said, 'You can't call timeout for that. Why don't you ask the guy next to you, what are we playing this play?'"
Receiver Moe Brown called communication breakdowns like that a matter of younger players needing to be better-versed on the signals coming from the sidelines. He said the veteran players know the signals and have made the adjustment to the faster pace of college play.
Spurrier hopes improving the communications on offense can keep the Gamecocks from making mistakes in the red zone.
"Our quarterback has to tell everyone the play, and sometimes they're just getting half the play," he said. "They need to complete the play. So we're still working on it, and hopefully this week we can line up and everybody knows what the play is, and try to execute it a lot better."
Say the right thing. There's little chance the Gamecocks will look past S.C. State if the players are to be believed.
Said defensive lineman Nathan Pepper of S.C. State running back Will Ford: "As far as we know, he is an SEC running back. He could have played at any SEC school."
Moe Brown insisted the Gamecocks do not want to be of a mindset that allows the type of upset Appalachian State pulled against Michigan two years ago.
"Those guys are just as competitive as anybody in the SEC," he said. "They're very capable of beating us."
Getting well soon. One day after saying backup quarterback Reid McCollum, who missed practice Monday with the flu, might be out all week, Spurrier revised that prognosis.
"He improved last night. Our trainer told us he got a lot better last night. He was taking his medicine. He improved a lot last night, so he was much better today," Spurrier said.
McCollum was in uniform at Tuesday's practice.
New faces. Nothing spoke more to the fluidity of who's on the offensive line than Spurrier throwing a new name into the mix - Garrett Chisholm, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound junior college transfer.
"Yeah, we need to keep trying some other guys," Spurrier said. "Heck, we've got a walk-on guy here, Garrett Chisolm, that we're going to take a look at. Big strong young man. Have you all heard of him? Yeah, Garrett Chisolm. No. 77. He may be out there playing this week, who knows?"
Extra points. A victory against S.C. State would get the Gamecocks (530-531-44) to .500 in program history. ... USC has not lost to an FCS team since 1990, when it was beaten by The Citadel 38-35.