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2 UConn reserves sent home before game

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Two Connecticut freshman reserves were sent home Friday morning by coach Randy Edsall for violating team rules.

Edsall said he spoke to receiver/defensive back Marcus Aiken and defensive tackle Tim Willman, then sent them home.

"There are things that you have to go by and you're going to do in this program," Edsall said. They were explicitly told what they needed to do before they came here. I met with the two young men and they'll be better off for it and I'm sure they won't make the same mistake again."

It is believed neither the police nor alcohol were involved in the matter.

Threat of the option. The South Carolina offense is 96th in scoring offense, 91st in rushing offense and 76th in total offense.

Not exactly fear-striking numbers, but the read option with quarterback Stephen Garcia could be successful.

"He can run it a little bit," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said of Garcia. "As you watch teams run that play, they don't run option all that much. They just have the threat of the option. It always scares me getting out there pitching it ... but he's pretty good at. We've executed the few times we've ran it."

Spurrier was asked how far Garcia has come from last season.

"Oh, I don't know," he said. "I know last year he ran out of bounds backwards once. I said, 'What are you doing?'"

View from the other side. Here's how Edsall sees the Gamecocks' plan.

"I think Steve knows he's got a pretty good defense," Edsall said. "If they can play good defense and control the clock a little bit and throw it maybe not as much, it helps them to get a better chance to win.

"They've put in some of the read-zone stuff, which allowed Garcia to carry the ball more. It's almost like they're going to a little bit more of the true spread-type situations and now (Spurrier) looks like has more confidence in Steve Garcia in terms of all the things he can do for them."

Dynamic duo. Randy Edsall was asked this week how he came to use running back pair Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon this season.

"It's a feel thing pretty much," he said "Based on things we want to do schematically we'll go with what we want to do in the game but if Jordan has the hot hand we'll stay with him. If Andre has the hot hand, we'll stick with him because we want to keep both guys fresh. Having two guys is really a luxury for us."

Dixon needs 33 yards to join Todman (1,152) in the 1,000-yard rushing club.

Extra points. Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell issued a press release in which she urged state residents to wear blue and white in support of the Huskies. "I want the team to hear us cheering for them all the way down in Alabama," she said. ... South Carolina is 8-10-1 against the Big East but 12 of those 19 games were against West Virginia (4-7-1). The Gamecocks are 2-0 against Cincinnati, 1-3 against Pitt and 1-0 against South Florida.