Written by student assistant Kim Barrett
Columbia, SC – After practice Tuesday several coaches and players from the Gamecocks’ defense spoke to the media regarding the upcoming Kentucky game, and the return of key players. Senior cornerback Akeem Auguste is hoping to play Saturday after missing almost all of last season and the first four games of this season due to injury. Senior free safety D.J. Swearinger will return to the line-up after a hit in the UAB game resulted in a one-game suspension.
When asked what it means to have Auguste back, Coach Grady Brown commented, “Its huge from a depth standpoint. He helps us out whether it be on special teams, defense, or even his spirit.”
Despite being out for over a year, Auguste has continued to be a leader on the team and is ready to contribute on the field again. Auguste explained to the media yesterday, “While I was down I encouraged our guys to keep us undefeated.”
Younger players who were not here when Auguste was healthy, such as T.J. Gurley, recognize the potential Auguste has and are eager to play with him. Gurley explained, “I wasn’t here when he played, but everybody told me he’s good. He helps us a lot.”
In regards to Auguste’s determination to play, senior spur DeVonte Holloman commented, “He’s excited to be back, and is doing every little thing to get better and get ready to play this week.”
D.J. Swearinger is also determined to make a big return this weekend after facing a one-game suspension, and is quick to brush off comments that he may be emotionally charged. “No matter what the circumstances are I go out there and play my game. I’m just ready to play football again.”
Even coaches have very few concerns over Swearinger being “too geeked up,” or emotional for his return on Saturday. Coach Brown clarified that football is a reaction game and Swearinger’s emotions will not be a factor in him making another hit like the one in the UAB game.
When discussing last year’s victory over the Wildcats Swearinger stated, “Last year we only played 2.5 quarters and Kentucky got up on us, so we have to go there and play 4 full quarters.”
With a winning streak on the line, the Gamecocks want to avoid the mistakes that led to an upset the last time they traveled to
Kentucky in 2010. Coach Spurrier and the leaders of the team keep reminding everyone to stay focused, and as Swearinger stated, “Go out there and have the best show that we have ever had.”
Watch full videos of the player’s and coaches’ comments here, and check back to GamecocksOnline.com tonight for comments after Wednesday’s practice.