Psyche important for Gamecocks success - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Psyche important for Gamecocks success

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As Gamecock fans enjoy an unprecedented high water mark for their football program,  the players are focusing on a huge weekend.

After flattening the Georgia Bulldogs last Saturday, how will they do Saturday night with all the national attention as they've been getting lately?

It seems Gamecock football is now being recognized as officially "good."  After owning the Bulldogs last week, accolades are raining down on Williams Brice Stadium.

Quarterback Connor Shaw is being called "unstoppable." Jadeveon Clowney is "a freak of nature" (in a good way).

So how does the team filter all that out?

"As you're approaching more success, it brings more expectation," said USC psychologist Kendra Ogletree Cusaac.  

She says during weeks like this, routine is invaluable.

"Going back to their daily routine, going to class, keeping up on their schoolwork," said Cusaac. "Keeping the routine the same helps to block that stuff out."

All that stuff, like history or records:

The 1984 "Black Magic" season was stained with that baffling loss to Navy. The 2010 season saw Carolina knock off top-ranked Alabama only to lay an egg the next week in Kentucky.

USC head football coach Steve Spurrier says handling success is key.

Cusaac says coaches and team leaders will play a big role in helping the younger players deal with friends and family, which can be a source of a lot of pressure.

"What a lot of guys learn to do and that's where the older guys come in, is not to have those conversations with family or friends, or anyone who just wants to call and congratulate them," said Cusaac. "It's hard to be on top and hard to stay on top while maintaining that focus day in and day out. That's the challenge."

Running back Marcus Lattimore says he believes the team is in a much better place these days.

We'll find out this Saturday. The game starts at 8 p.m. Saturday.  It will be televised on ESPN.

Copyright 2012 WIS.  All rights reserved.

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