South Carolina running backs coach Everette Sands played for The Citadel team in 1990 that upset the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. He said USC’s current team has been warned that it better be ready to play on Saturday.
“These Citadel guys, they’ve got a little bit of swagger about them. They’ve had a really good year and won a share of the Southern Conference Championship. And they’re going to come here, and I expect them to play to win,” Sands said. “That was one of the things we talked about earlier this week. One thing coach Elliott said right off the bat is, ‘Hey, 25 years ago, The Citadel came here and won.’ ”
The triple option has given Carolina’s defense fits in the past, and the Bulldogs run it well. The Citadel is expected to try to control the clock in an effort to make Saturday’s game a four-quarter game.
“These guys, especially with this type of offense, it keeps you honest,” Sands said. “It keeps them in games. And it’s going to be a dogfight. We’ve got to be ready to roll.”
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While Sands said he still bleeds Citadel blue, it won’t be hard for him to get motivated to beat his alma mater.
“This is my first time ever in my 20 years of coaching going up against my alma mater. It’s special to me, and it’s one that I want to win bad,” he said, adding he knows who pays the bills. “I still bleed Citadel blue, but I’m a Gamecock all the way, and I’m ready to go take out my Citadel Bulldogs.”
Wilds enjoying new offense
Brandon Wilds has gotten 17 carries or more in three of the four games since Shawn Elliott took over as interim head coach and G.A. Mangus was named offensive coordinator.
He is enjoying the expanded role after combining for 35 carries the first three games of the season.
“I love it. I’m just running the ball downhill. I love to run the ball,” he said. “My linemen love to run the ball. So, it’s just a team effort.”
Camper ready to roll
True freshman Blake Camper, who is slated to start at right tackle for the injured Mason Zandi, is performing well in practice leading up to his first career start according to offensive line coach Travelle Wharton.
“He’s playing hard. He’s been out here working,” Wharton said. “I told the guys early on you never know when you’re time’s coming so be prepared. I think he’s ready to play.”
Quarterback Perry Orth said it has been an incredible experience to go from a walk-on to a starter, but with the Gamecocks sitting at 3-7 he admitted that the year has been tough.
“It’s kind of bittersweet because winning’s the name of the game and we haven’t exactly done that as much as we wanted to,” he said. “But we’ve got two more chances to turn it around.”
USC set for Military Appreciation Day
Elliott is hopeful that a big crowd will be on hand for Military Appreciation Day on Saturday afternoon.
“This Saturday is Military Appreciation Day, and it’s going to be a big time now. I’m telling you we’ve got a great thing at halftime,” he said. “I just want to remind everybody, all the Gamecock faithful, to come out and stay in your seats at halftime… They do a heck of a job for our country, and we appreciate everything that they do.”
Deebo Samuel practiced fully and appears set to play Saturday after missing the past seven games. Starting guard Mike Matulis missed Wednesday’s practice.
Gamecocks vs. Bulldogs
Who: The Citadel (7-3) at South Carolina (3-7)
When: Noon, Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium
TV: SEC Network Alternate