The Gamecocks football team will face South Carolina State in its first Thursday game since it beat Vanderbilt 13-10 in week one of the 2016 season. The change was due to inclement weather from incoming Hurricane Ian.
Despite the quick turnaround from the game Saturday night, sixth-year offensive lineman Eric Douglas said the team isn’t feeling any less prepared on the short week during a press conference Tuesday.
“If the pros can do it, it shouldn’t be that hard for us to do it,” Douglas said. “They go out there on Sundays and have to turn around for Thursday. So, it’s just going out there and just being an excellent student-athlete when you get done with your stuff that you do in the classroom, just doing everything that you can off the field to be a pro."
Douglas is also looking forward to the game since it’ll be a family affair.
“My dad was a all-American at South Carolina State,” Douglas said. “He played left tackle, so it’ll be pretty cool. I’ve got a lot of family coming down for this one.”
Similarly, redshirt junior defensive back Cam Smith is looking forward to week five because he’ll get to line up against guys he’s known for a while. This includes redshirt junior wide receiver Shaquan Davis, who Smith said has been good since middle school.
“My dog Shaq, he’s a big dude, big physical receiver, gonna go get the ball at the highest point,” Smith said. “So, you just got to make sure that you stand on top of the receiver and make sure you don't give them those easy back shoulders and stuff like that. It's just simple stuff with him that if you don't do, he will make you look bad.”
Fellow defensive back and graduate Devonni Reed played Saturday night in spite of the hip injury he sustained against Georgia. He said he’ll be ready to go Thursday with a couple of extra hours of treatment.
“Going through treatment all day and stuff like that, I feel like that helped me a lot, that helped me get my body back. Right now, I feel great. (I'll) just tape it up right now just so I don’t mess it up again,” Reed said.
Junior wide receiver Corey Rucker also made his way back onto the field Saturday following an injury, catching his first pass since last November. Rucker said he was nursing a stress fracture in his foot but is excited to be back and see how his team adapts during the short week.
“I was getting ready to play a rainy game,” Rucker said. “But, when we got the news over there in the team meeting, everybody got really excited. And we think it’s a good challenge for us because coach (Marcus Satterfield) has been pressing a sense of urgency. For us to have a shorter week and have to play on Thursday, kind of heightens that emotion and that sense of urgency to try to get things done.”
The Gamecocks are coming off a 56-20 win against Charlotte where the defense forced three interceptions in a row. Head coach Shane Beamer thinks it’ll be easier to carry that momentum on a short week.
“The opportunity to get back out there on Thursday, five days after we played better in the second half against Charlotte than what we did in the first half, particularly defensively, I think it makes it easier to get back out there and go right back to work," Beamer said.
The Gamecocks will host South Carolina State on Thursday at 7 p.m. and will air on SEC Network.