South Carolina senior linebacker Eric Norwood said he has a "mutual respect" for several of Clemson's players, including Heisman Trophy hopeful C.J. Spiller.
But Norwood will not let that get in his way Saturday.
"It's going to be real crazy," Norwood said Monday of his final game against the Tigers. "I'm pretty fired up to try to take my anger out on everybody."
Norwood returned to USC for his final season to try to reach individual and team goals. The two-time All-SEC selection made several midseason All-American lists and is one of five finalists for the Butkus Award, presented to the nation's top linebacker.
And though the Gamecocks (6-5) have not won as many games as Norwood hoped, the school's all-time leader in sacks and tackles for loss knows beating the 15th-ranked Tigers can right a lot of wrongs.
"It can change the whole course of the season in a matter of one game," he said.
Open and shut
USC coach Spurrier is 3-2 after an open date at USC, with the losses coming the past two years against Clemson. The Gamecocks beat Vanderbilt following a bye week in 2005 and 2006, and knocked off Tennessee last season with an extra week to prepare.
"I've never paid a lot of attention to open dates, to tell you the truth. Sometimes you play well afterwards, sometimes you don't," Spurrier said. "Hopefully, we'll play a lot better than we did the last time we played these guys (in a 31-14 defeat)."
The Gamecocks will have their open date following their fourth game next season, and will face Troy at home the week before playing at Clemson.
Three seldom-used offensive linemen - Seaver Brown, Kevin Young and Pierre Andrews - will graduate and forgo their final season of eligibility, offensive line coach Eric Wolford said.
All three were members of the Gamecocks' highly regarded offensive line class of 2006. The future of another '06 signee, guard Terrence Campbell, remains in doubt because of a lingering neck injury. Campbell has not played since starting the first two games against N.C. State and Georgia.
Spurrier said defensive end Cliff Matthews, who dislocated his left shoulder at Tennessee on Oct. 31, "should be very close to 100 percent" by Saturday. Matthews, a junior from Cheraw, is expected to undergo surgery after the bowl game, but has been told he can not do any further damage to the shoulder by playing. ...
With Hutch Eckerson hampered by a shoulder injury, Quintin Richardson took most of the first-team snaps at right tackle Monday. Eckerson's status for Clemson is uncertain. ...
Backup quarterback Reid McCollum missed practice with a virus, Spurrier said. Walk-on Zac Brindise worked behind Stephen Garcia and "threw the ball around pretty well," according to Spurrier.
He said it.
"This is what it's all about. Since day one I've been here, I've heard nothing but Clemson. So I'm looking forward to it,"
- Wolford, who came to USC from Illinois during the offseason