For the first time in a decade, South Carolina held a practice without Steve Spurrier.
Things were different, to say the least.
That started with the soundtrack. DMX, Guns N Roses, James Brown and even Soulja Boy could be heard during the Gamecocks’ Thursday practice under interim coach Shawn Elliott, according to multiple reports.
Even with new tunes being played, the South Carolina players could not ignore the elephant in the room — or rather, not on the field.
“I was shocked. It was sad to see him go,” junior linebacker T.J. Holloman said, via a school press release. “He’s a great coach. He has a great legacy here. He’s done a lot for this school that most people don’t even know.”
“It’s sad,” added senior guard Mike Matulis. “But what I think he did was very admirable, very respectable. It’s just sad. Coach Spurrier is a great guy. You all know it. You love to be around him and it’s sad to see him go.”
With the torch passed on to Elliott, there was a noticeable change in atmosphere, players said.
Passion, enthusiasm and intensity were all used to describe Elliott’s first practice.
“I was happy for him,” Holloman said. “He works hard every day. He’s a great coach. He comes out here with a lot of enthusiasm. He just wants to win. That’s all he wants to do is win. You can see his intensity. He’s focused on getting everyone ready to play on Saturday. He uses the music for more excitement. He wants us to have a live mentality. He wants everything to be exciting, so he brought the music out here to keep that going.”
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Elliott,” Matulis said. “He brings such passion to the team, as you guys can see every Saturday. You can see it in his eyes that he’s just as fired up as anyone else. He brings that passion and fire to everybody on the team.”
Quarterback Connor Mitch returned to the practice field Tuesday, albeit in a limited capacity. Mitch had been sidelined since South Carolina lost to Kentucky the second week of the season.
Mitch was joined by fellow quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, who also practiced in full.
Running back Brandon Wilds was also back. Wilds took himself out of last Saturday’s game against LSU due to sore ribs.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel did not practice as he deals with a hamstring injury.
Supposedly they've been playing music the whole time. Guns N Roses. James Brown. We are clearly in a new era.
— David Caraviello (@dcaraviello) October 13, 2015
Wilds, Mitch, Bailey and Nunez fully practiced today.
— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) October 13, 2015