Jason Barnes worked the phone back home. He had to know what he was doing wrong, why he wasn't playing.
He called his parents. He called his high school coaches. He called anybody he thought could help.
"A lot of people I talked to told me to keep my head up and keep working hard and things would turn back around for me," the South Carolina sophomore receiver said.
He also recalled the words of USC coach Steve Spurrier: Your chance always comes back around. And it did for Barnes - as it seems to for every Gamecocks receiver, in what has been a topsy-turvy year at the position.
In seven games, five players have led the team in receptions and/or receiving yards: tight end Weslye Saunders and receivers Tori Gurley, Moe Brown, Alshon Jeffery and Barnes.
Brown, a senior, is the only one to have started every game, but he will miss Saturday's game at Vanderbilt with a concussion. The question of who USC's go-to receiver is remains unanswered.
When preseason camp started, Barnes was supposed to start opposite Brown, but Barnes quickly faded. He has 11 catches for 119 yards and went two games without a catch.
Then at Alabama on Saturday he was thrust into the limelight when Brown was knocked out with a concussion. Barnes had a team-high six catches for 46 yards.
As Barnes has returned to good graces, redshirt freshman Tori Gurley has fallen. Gurley had four catches in each of the first four games, totaling 242 yards. He also had four touchdowns called back by penalties.
Spurrier said the inconsistency is a result of youth; Brown is the only upperclassmen in the group.
"We've got guys that hadn't played much before," Spurrier said. "So we're learning as we go."
Jeffery enrolled at USC during the summer, so it took him time to learn the routes and blocking assignments. He has progressed fairly well, but he still only knows his outside receiver position.
The same goes for Gurley, who doesn't know the other two receiver positions well enough to play at the same time as Jeffery, according to receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr.
"It's perfectly legal," he said, laughing, "but you shouldn't see them out there at the same time. Right now. One day I hope you will. They've got four years ahead of them."
Both will play Saturday, Spurrier Jr. said.
Gurley looked like a breakout star when the season started, but now Jeffery is filling that role. That hasn't surprised Spurrier Jr.
"You've got to temper it. Obviously he's got a chance to be really good. But at the same time, he's a freshman," Spurrier Jr. said. "Out of high school, I said he was every bit as good as A.J. Green. And I believed that."
Barnes hopes to make the most of his opportunity. He thinks he benefited from the calls he made, which yielded some good advice.
Some told him to be patient. A high school coach said he needed to improve his downfield blocking.
"So I just tried to fix everything," Barnes said.
It's been enough for Barnes to get back on the field. But, as the past few games have shown, he knows those chances can be fleeting for a Gamecocks receiver.