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Boyd builds upon coaching chance

While Andy Boyd would like to have the "interim" removed from his title, South Carolina's fill-in offensive line coach is enjoying the moment.

Boyd, a former Gamecocks' tight end, took over the line after Eric Wolford left to become Youngstown State's coach two weeks ago. After "running on nothing but nerves and adrenaline" on his first day running the drills, Boyd has settled in and likes the way the linemen have been practicing.

"The guys have done really well. They've responded to things I have to say, just the respect going through individual drills and all that stuff," Boyd said after Monday's practice. "I haven't been trying to change a whole lot, just really trying to build off what we've done all year."

The 26-year-old Boyd has been at USC for eight years - six as a player and two as a graduate assistant. He needs another year to finish his graduate program in sports management, although he said he likely would leave if offered a full-time coaching job elsewhere.

Boyd views his three-week stint as line coach as invaluable, hands-on job training.

"It's a great way to get your foot in the door with the position I'm in, with the way it's worked out," he said. "I know it's an opportunity."

Bundle up

Pack a parka and thermal underwear if you're headed to Birmingham for the Bowl. Forecasters are calling for a high of 38 degrees and clear skies for Saturday's 2 p.m. kickoff, with a slight chance of sleet and snow Wednesday and Thursday.

Center Lemuel Jeanpierre, who lived in Minnesota as a child, is not worried about the weather.

"We'll be fine. We're out there practicing (in cold weather) right now," Jeanpierre said. "Once you get that blood flowing, you'll be fine. The Alabama game was pretty cold. So we've been through it already."

East meets West

USC strong safety Darian Stewart will enjoy a homecoming this week, and a trip to Florida next month.

Stewart, a senior from Huntsville, Ala., has accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Stewart has 35 career starts and needs five tackles in the bowl game to reach 200 for his career.

Eric Norwood, the Gamecocks' All-American linebacker, is slated to play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 30 in Mobile, Ala.

Travel plans

USC coach Steve Spurrier said everyone made it back from the holiday break without incident. The Gamecocks are scheduled to practice in Columbia this morning, before flying to Birmingham this afternoon.

The team will practice Wednesday and Thursday on the campus of Birmingham Southern, a Division III school that has an artificial turf field in its stadium, as well as natural grass practice fields.

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