AIKEN --- In the Southeastern Conference, Brad Lawing said, there's an old saying.
"When you go on the road, you better pack your defense with you," the South Carolina defensive line coach said. "If you don't, it's going to be a long Saturday."
Lawing, a 15-year coach with the Gamecocks, spoke Monday night at the annual Aiken Gamecock Club meeting at USC Aiken Convocation Center. He attended the event along with head basketball coach Darrin Horn.
Attendance from past spring Aiken Gamecock Club meetings took a severe drop with the absence of head football coach Steve Spurrier. He attended the Gamecock Club meeting in Orangeburg, S.C., also held Monday evening.
Lawing talked about the state of the program in his second Gamecock Club meeting of the fall. His defensive side of the ball was a bright spot in last season's 7-6 squad that defeated Clemson but then lost to Connecticut in the PapaJohns.com Bowl.
"We want to win championships," Lawing said. "We're not there yet. We've won more games over a five-year period than we've ever won in South Carolina history. So we're doing something right."
The Gamecocks, who return 17 starters, including quarterback Stephen Garcia, open the 2010 season with Southern Miss on Sept. 2. South Carolina then plays host to Georgia in their SEC opener nine days later. Lawing said it's imperative the Gamecocks get off to a good start with a win over the Bulldogs.
"It's hard to win the league, hard to win your division, if you don't win that first game," he said. "But they're all important. Right now, our focus is Southern Miss."
Horn talked about his basketball team, including the graduation of Dominique Archie, of Augusta. Despite suffering a season-ending knee injury in November, Archie was denied a sixth year of eligibility last month by the NCAA.
"You wanted him to come back, because that's what he desired," Horn said. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. We'll miss him more as a person than a player."
Horn said Archie needs to "attack" his rehabilitation. Horn also said he believes Archie will be ready to play basketball by late August or early September.
"He'll probably have to play overseas first to prove that he is healthy," Horn said.