Josh Kendall

Gamecocks: ‘It feels like we haven’t played a game in 75 days’

Javon Kinlaw has no more interest in talking about the Georgia game.

“We can’t really talk about that. I want to talk about Marshall,” South Carolina’s junior defensive tackle said. “I mean, not Marshall. Vanderbilt. I’m a week behind.”

Everyone around the Gamecocks football program is having to orient themselves again this week after an unexpected off weekend due to the cancellation of the Marshall game.

“It was weird. It feels like we haven’t played a game in like 75 days,” Kinlaw said. “I am just ready to get back and play a game. I have never really experienced that before, but I feel like we handled it well as a group.”

The Marshall game was canceled due to potential damage by then-Hurricane Florence. There are no weather concerns this week as South Carolina (1-1) prepares to face Vanderbilt (2-1) in Nashville, Tenn., for its first road game of the season.

“Everybody is hungry,” Gamecocks center Donell Stanley said. “Of course, everybody wanted to play, but we can only control the things we can control. Weather is definitely not one of them. We are hungry right now, and we are practicing like it. Everybody is just ready for Saturday.”

South Carolina has not had an open weekend in September since 2001 when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks canceled games across the country. The Gamecocks coaches and players learned of the cancellation Wednesday, practiced Thursday and had a weight room session Friday before taking Saturday off and returning to their regular game-week preparations with a Sunday evening practice.

“It was a long week, it kind of dragged, but I enjoyed the time off actually,” wide receiver Bryan Edwards said. “Georgia seems so long ago. I’m ready to strap it up and get that taste out of my mouth. We went after each other (in practice). I think we will be ready to go.”

South Carolina treated the schedule like they would any open date as soon as they learned of the cancellation, coach Will Muschamp said.

“We did a lot of good-on-good work (at practice), as much as we could while preparing for a very good Vanderbilt team,” he said. “We got a lot of fastball work so I feel very comfortable about that preparation.”

Quarterback Jake Bentley compared the team’s mindset to the end of the preseason when “you’re just ready to hit somebody else.”

“We usually only get one weekend off during the season so it was nice,” tailback Rico Dowdle said. “It was nice, but it has been forever. Looking forward to getting out there.”