Gamecocks shrugging off preseason hype



COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier wants his players focused on practice and not on the sky-high expectations they’re receiving this preseason.

The Gamecocks are the preseason favorites to repeat as Southeastern Conference Eastern Division champions. Star receiver Alshon Jeffery is on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s college football issue. And more than 2,000 fans squeezed into the team’s practice area to two weeks back for their first chance to see prize defensive end recruit Jadeveon Clowney in a Gamecocks uniform.

Spurrier is happy about the enthusiasm, but says it means little to South Carolina’s win-loss mark this season. It appears the Gamecocks have paid attention. Receiver Ace Sanders says players were joking with Jeffery about being a magazine cover boy. But Jeffery brushed it off and prepared for practice.