TAMPA — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said his team hasn't faced a running back like Iowa's Shonn Greene, but his defensive players say Greene reminds them of LSU's Charles Scott, who has nearly identical size and finished third in the SEC with 1,109 yards.
Scott was held to 61 yards against the Gamecocks, well under his average, but had two touchdowns in LSU's 24-17 victory, including the winner.
"It definitely gives us confidence," LB Eric Norwood said of facing another big back like Scott. The key is "penetration. If our defensive linemen can get penetration, it'd be great for us linebackers."
Iowa's QBs passed for 15 touchdowns, four fewer than South Carolina's. Norwood said the key for the Gamecocks will be limiting the 5-11, 235-pound Greene.
"It's the major part," Norwood said. "In my opinion, we stop him, force the quarterback to beat us, that ain't going to happen."
FAVORED TO LOSE?: Iowa is a four-point favorite against South Carolina, and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz hopes to use that as motivation. He found that Iowa had been favored in three of its four losses and reminded his team how little being a favorite had helped in those games.
"I couldn't get away from that favorite talk, only because at one point, we were the only Big Ten team favored," he said. "We were favored in three of our losses, and hopefully that's a good lesson for our players. … It really means nothing. You'd better go out and play."
FINISH STRONG: Iowa hasn't won a bowl game since the 2004 season, so the seniors haven't experienced a bowl win, a motivation for players such as WR Andy Brodell.
"Bowl trips are fun regardless of outcome, but really, if you don't win the game, everything's spoiled," he said. "You kind of look back at it with a sour taste in your mouth, and that's how we look at the Alamo Bowl (in '05) and the last Outback Bowl we were a part of."
PRAISE FROM GRUDEN: Add Bucs coach Jon Gruden to the list of prominent coaches who have been influenced by Spurrier's innovations and headwear.
Gruden, a visitor at South Carolina's practice at Jefferson High, spoke briefly to the media, calling Spurrier an "icon" and acknowledging he began wearing visors because of Spurrier.
His other reason for attending: checking out draft-eligible Gamecocks including senior WR Kenny McKinley, and those who might make themselves available for the draft such as junior TE Jared Cook.
"I think (Spurrier) is the best in the country," said Gruden, who had his three sons in tow. "He's always on the cutting edge. He's just gotten it done wherever he's gone."
Added Spurrier: "It was nice to see Coach Gruden come out here. They had a very tough ending as we all know. It was nice to see him and his boys come out here and sort of pull for the Gamecocks."
HEALTHY … AND PUNCTUAL: Spurrier indicated the Gamecocks remain as healthy as they were when they left Columbia, adding no player has missed curfew this week.
"We had one coach (special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski) that missed curfew, but he was a bachelor," Spurrier said. "We made him run. He was actually late for a meeting."
SPURRIER QUIP OF THE DAY: "It's easy out here with no one rushing much, but when the real game starts that's what separates the practice players from the gamers. So let's hope Stephen's going to be a gamer come Thursday morning." — on redshirt freshman starting QB Stephen Garcia.