INDIANAPOLIS | It was a long, but fascinating, day here on the first day of the NFL Combine.
The biggest national news of the day came from the long list of league coaches and general managers who spoke to the media, but there was plenty of South Carolina-related stuff, too. Tight end Weslye Saunders was not part of that news. Tight ends were scheduled to meet with the media Thursday and most of those in attendance did. Saunders was scheduled to speak but did not. An NFL spokesperson said Saunders will be made available Friday, which is a good thing since several folks here are interested in his story.
Former Gamecocks Jarriel King and Garrett Chisolm did meet with the media. We told you King’s story Thursday on GoGamecocks.com, and we’ll have more on Chisolm in Sunday’s edition of The State and at GoGamecocks.com. Both are worth a read. King was very blunt about his disappointment in being replaced in the starting lineup for the final five games of his college career, and Chisolm is trying to turn enormous personal tragedy into motivation this week.
I’ll just take a chance in this space to fill you in on some odds and ends from the day. The most notable of those Gamecock-wise came from Florida offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert, who spoke very highly of South Carolina.
“Those guys, they were hungry,” Gilbert said. “Coach (Steve) Spurrier is a great coach, and he did a great job of preparing those guys to come in there into one of the best stadiums in college football and beat us. We took them for granted, and they capitalized and took a big lead and beat us.”
Florida overlooked South Carolina not because of a lack of talent, Gilbert said, but for the same reason most everyone in the SEC did -- the Gamecocks’ history of not getting over the hump., Gilbert is a believer now, he said.
“I think they are going to build,” he said. “Every year, they have gotten better.”
FAVORITE QUOTE FROM DAY ONE: “This isn’t rocket science. Nobody is going to find a cure for cancer.” – New Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, talking about John Elway’s transition from star quarterback and state icon to team president
SECOND FAVORITE QUOTE FROM DAY ONE: “We know we’re picking Where are we picking? 30-something?” – New York Jets coach Rex Ryan shortly after guaranteeing Jets would win 2012 Super Bowl