COLUMBIA -- Following a 41-20 throttling at the hands of Arkansas, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier knew he had to make some changes.
He started Monday by altering the Gamecocks' practice schedule. In advance of Saturday's SEC East title game, if you will, between No. 22 South Carolina and No. 24 Florida, Spurrier basically scrapped practice.
"We had to do something different," Spurrier said as he left the practice field.
South Carolina spent a half-hour or so in conditioning drills, but the bulk of the day was spent reviewing film from the Arkansas debacle. Spurrier had the entire team in one room -- a rarity, with the offense watching the defensive film and vice versa. All errors were highlighted.
"He was asking young men questions, (those) that made mistakes," USC secondary coach Lorenzo Ward said. "He asked them what caused them to make that mistake. He was trying to figure out whether it was coaching or whether it was the guys not doing what they were coached to do."
Junior spur Antonio Allen said he had not been part of something like that since coming to USC.
"It may be a good thing for us to get our feet back, get our focus back," Allen said. "We've just got to come out and play. We sucked it up out there on the field this past weekend. They outplayed us, outsmarted us, outcoached us, out-executed us -- everything."
It was 41-10 early in the fourth quarter. Having the whole team watch the film was meant to stoke their competitive spirits, in a sense.
"We want to hold each other accountable, make it an accountability-type week," said Ward, formally put in charge of the secondary last week. "When you play as poorly as we played on Saturday, you've got to try and figure out something new.
"Obviously what we'd been trying to do, by taking them out and making the corrections, it's not working. You try to put the peer pressure on and create the peer pressure within the team."
Ward said another change is coming today: When the Gamecocks return to practice, there will be more one-on-one tackling drills. South Carolina is getting back to basics because it fell apart fundamentally against the Razorbacks, repeatedly missing tackles in addition to the persistent coverage breakdowns.
"Coach Spurrier talked about it. He ran the meeting," Ward said. "He talked about how the Arkansas guys tackled and talked about how poorly we tackled. And we did. We tackled very poorly. We'll address it (today) in practice."
One change happened last week, along with the semantics of Ward's title. Previously, in something that began last year, Ward had the cornerbacks and free safeties in one meeting room and Shane Beamer had the strong safeties and spurs in another. Last week, they started convening in the same place.
"Most of the time, we're not on the same page," Allen said. "We get different coaching from different coaches. They tell us different things to do. We're basically not on the same page. With us sitting in, with each other, it gets us more prepared. We know what to do."
The handful of injured Gamecocks didn't go through conditioning drills with the rest of the team. Instead, they worked with strength coach Craig Fitzgerald in the weight room.
That group did not include CB C.C. Whitlock (concussion), who was not cleared for any activity. Whitlock is questionable to play. Even if cleared, Ward said he might start walk-on Marty Markett over the junior.
Backup QB Connor Shaw (ribs) threw some after the conditioning drills. Spurrier acted Monday as if he could play, if needed.
C T.J. Johnson (sprained left knee) wasn't limping nearly as noticeably as he was Saturday after the game. He might be able to return, keeping freshman Ronald Patrick from having to make his first start in a tough, tough road environment.
LT Jarriel King (concussion) appeared to be far better off than Whitlock. He was allowed to participate in the limited conditioning drills with Fitzgerald.
RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) wasn't limited. The league's second-leading rusher is expected to be a full go Saturday.
Troy game time
USC's final home game of the season, Nov. 20 against Troy, will be a 12:21 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televised on WMMP.
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