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South Carolina Prepares for UCF


COLUMBIA, S.C – No. 12/13 South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) continued workouts at the Bluff Road practice fields Thursday afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s contest at UCF (3-0).  Kickoff for the contest is 12:07 p.m. with the game televised nationally on ABC and available on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College.  Saturday’s game at Bright House Networks Stadium is a sellout (45,323).

“They have good football players,” said South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.  “It starts with the quarterback (Blake Bortles).  He is a very good reader of defenses.  He gets a pre-snap read and he knows where he is going with the football.  He is very agile, can run with the football.  He has a lot of big play capabilities.”

Ward noted its not just Bortles but the entire offense that will present a challenge to the Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon.

“(They have a) great tailback that transferred from the University of Miami (Storm Johnson),” said Ward.  “The offensive line is very solid.  They have a good offensive football team.  We definitely can’t let them have big plays running the football, so first and foremost, we want to stop the run.”

Coach Ward indicated that sophomore linebacker Cedrick Cooper will be available to play on Saturday.  Cooper is expected to see time at the WILL linebacker position.

“He is probably going to play WILL,” said Ward.  “He has had three real good days at WILL linebacker.  I think Marcquis (Roberts) will start, he is (one of the team’s) captains in the ballgame but Cedrick will play.”

South Carolina’s defense limited Vanderbilt to just 268 total offensive yards in the 35-25 win on September 14, 2013 in the team’s last game.  Coach Ward is hopeful that the team’s defensive performance will continue to improve.

“I think we played better in that ballgame, especially early,” noted Ward.  “I think we got a little relaxed when we got the lead, which we can’t do, because anybody can come back and beat you, hopefully we can take that same (starting) effort that we had in the last game … The bottom line is we have to take care of us.  If we go out and play the way we are capable of playing, we have a great chance to win the ballgame.  If we go down there and play the way we played the last time we were on the road, then it is going to be a long day.”



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