South Carolina’s players won’t soon forget last season’s two losses to Auburn, particularly the 56-17 thrashing in the SEC championship game.
However, they’ll have trouble recognizing the Tigers who take the field Saturday as the team that beat them by a combined score of 91-44 a year ago. Auburn lost eight starters each on offense and defense including almost all of its significant contributors.
“We don’t worry about what happened last year,” tackle Travian Robertson said. “Obviously, they had Cam Newton and a great team last year.”
Newton, the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, is not the only loss. Wide receiver Darvin Adams, four offensive linemen, defensive tackle Nick Fairley, linebacker Josh Bynes and both kickers also are gone.
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“Revenge does not play in our minds,” offensive lineman Terrence Campbell said. “We are just going to come out and play hard and let the score take care of itself.”
That doesn’t mean South Carolina’s coaches won’t try to squeeze some motivation out of last year’s results.
“I mean, they did embarrass us that second game,” running back Marcus Lattimore said.
GARCIA FAMILY PASSING
Quarterback Stephen Garcia’s grandfather Augie died Wednesday after a brief stay in hospice care. Garcia and his grandfather were very close, but the Gamecocks starter is not expected to miss Saturday’s game or any practice time this week. Garcia was not available to talk to the media following Wednesday’s practice but did participate in the workout.
NOT SO FAST
Coach Steve Spurrier declared Tuesday that junior running back Kenny Miles was unlikely to play Saturday due to a sprained wrist, but Miles practiced Wednesday and could go, running backs coach Jay Graham said.
“He is out here practicing. That’s important,” Graham said. “He’s not wearing a yellow (no-contact) jersey. He’s out here trying to catch balls. It just depends on how he feels as he goes through practice. We’ll see. I think it’s a game time decision.”
Senior wide receiver Jason Barnes did not practice Wednesday. Barnes sat out last week’s game due to a hamstring injury and is questionable this week.
“We are 4-0 and that is a tremendous thing, but we have made some mistakes that could have cost us these last four games. We are going to strive to correct those mistakes because we don’t want those mistakes beating us later on. We are fortunate to be 4-0 so we are going to keep working hard. We have the opportunity to go real far in this league this year.” – Senior linebacker Rodney Paulk