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"The first week we went to Auburn, you take it for granted, but we had a couple of guys that had never been on planes before," he said. "You don't think about that."

Then, on the return from the 29-16 win at Jordan-Hare Stadium ...

"We got back at 3 (a.m.)," Sumlin said. "And we bounced."


"I think we (would have run) out of runway (had the plane continued its attempted landing) because I looked back up and we were circling College Station again," Sumlin said.

In the end, fortunately, the Aggies did safely make it back to campus, but the memories linger.

"So for the guys that had never been on a plane before, they're even more nervous this week," he said.

On the field, Sumlin noted the established strength of the Will Muschamp-coached defense of the Gamecocks, although he noted the South Carolina offense remains a work in progress.

"Defensively, I think they're always going to be good," Sumlin said. "I think they're still trying to get an identity offensively."

On his own team, he's happy with the continued growth of true freshmen Colton Prater and Trayveon Williams. Prater has started all four games at guard, while Williams, who rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas last week, has helped take some of the offensive pressure off quarterback Trevor Knight.

"They're playing at a really, really high level for freshmen," Sumlin said. "You don't see that often, and the thing they have in common is their work ethic."

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© 2016, Jody Horton. All rights reserved.

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