COLUMBIA -- Coming from Florida, Chris Lammons wasn’t too exposed to the Carolina-Clemson rivalry growing up. But it didn’t take him long to realize how vicious this series is.
”The first day I stepped on campus,” he said. “We hate them. That’s just how it is.”
No more waiting until next week, no more trying not to sneak a peak past Wofford to start thinking about the rivalry weekend on what will be a chilly night at Williams-Brice.
It’s officially Clemson week.
It’s a series that South Carolina dominated for five straight years but fell off recently with Clemson's national rise. The Gamecocks have lost the last three games to their arch-rival but hope that changes this year.
There’s only one player on the team who’s been around long enough to celebrate a win over the Tigers: Skai Moore. And it’ll be his leadership the team will turn to this week as he tries to get the team ready to face a top-four team at home.
“We just have to come out with an edge about ourselves. That’s how we played my freshman year,” Moore said. “That 2013 team we had an edge about us. That’s the motto we’re going to be preaching this week.”
Moore’s freshman year was the Gamecocks’ last of five straight wins against Clemson, a 31-17 victory at Williams-Brice with the likes of Connor Shaw, Jadeveon Clowney, Bruce Ellington and Kelcy Quarles patrolling the field.
He learned a lot from those types of players, all of whom were on an NFL roster at some point in their career. It’s a team that played in a host of big games over the course of the season with a young Moore seeing increased action his first year on campus.
But now things are different. Now it’s South Carolina, on the upswing with eight wins for the first time since 2013, trying to take down a Goliath with Moore not young but a seasoned veteran imparting wisdom he learned from the Gamecock greats.
“It’s a certain attitude about yourself when you step on the field. You got to want to dominate in any fashion. You got to want to win,” he said. “That’s the mentality you have to have for big games.”
It’ll be a long week as fans wait, somewhat impatiently, for Saturday under the lights at Williams-Brice.
Heading into the Wofford game the Gamecocks stayed mum, refusing to answer any questions about Clemson, and some are taking it into this week. When Javon Kinlaw was asked about the Tigers after the game Saturday, he responded with a simple, “No answer.”
South Carolina Coach Will Muschamp knows what’s coming to town next week. And after losing by 49 points last year, he knows how important the preparation is over the week for the game.
It’s not something Lammons, who’s now been exposed to the hate for four years, is taking lightly.
“They understand ... It’s important to them. Our guys are going to be prepared. We’ll be ready to go.”