South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles is on track - and excited - to return to action Saturday from a shoulder injury.
The sophomore missed the Florida and Tennessee games after suffering an AC joint sprain in the Oct. 13 loss at LSU.
Do you think you'll be able to come back and contribute to the pass rush?
I feel like I'm going to be a piece of the puzzle, just like the LSU game when I was in there. Those guys - J.T. Surratt, Jr. Dixon, Phillip Dukes - all of them did a great job. I'm proud of those guys. They really stepped up and got some quality playing time. Coming back and anticipating this game, I'm going to be fired up and ready to do whatever I can to help this team.
How is your shoulder?
Shoulder's fine. It aches sometimes but that's just the cold. It's healing up and everything. It's fine. I'm still doing rehab and still doing treatment, and watching what I do at home and stuff like that. It's better.
What exactly was wrong with it?
It was the mildest AC sprain you could have. The first day I had it, I couldn't move it. I couldn't lift it. I tried to lift a weight up and my arm just dropped right back down. It was kind of heartbreaking every time I did it. I was trying to work so hard to come back and play. Everything happens for a reason. God has his plans. I'm just happy I'm back.
Talk about the play on which you were hurt against LSU. What happened?
To be honest with you, I was running. I saw an offensive lineman coming. I didn't see No. 44. I really didn't know who did it at first. After I watched the game, I was 30 yards away from the ball. It happened. It's over with. Not we're focused on Arkansas
Was it a cheap shot?
I think so, but it is what it is.
Did you talk with Coach Spurrier about it?
Me and Coach Spurrier talked about it. He said, 'Just don't worry about it. Go get rehab. When you come back just do what you can and make plays and all that will be behind you.'
Will you be at 100 percent Saturday?
I will be.
Talk about your progress this season.
I feel like I have more of a role in the defense now. I feel like my play inside has increased and I'm doing a lot better. I'm taking in what coach [Brad] Lawing is telling me. I'm working hard. I'm doing the extra things that it takes to be a good player. I feel like all of us on the line are doing the extra things. For me, just keep gaining weight and everything and keep on maturing. I feel like that's the biggest thing I've done: matured.
Has your personal tempo changed at all?
Last year every time I got out there I was like, 'I want to make a play.' You learn that you're not going to make every play. You might be around it, but you're not going to make every play. I just learned how to embrace it and just say, 'I'm not going to make every play but I'm going to be happy we made the play.'
Has the defense made progress?
I feel like the intensity needed to be back in the defense. When we play with intensity and go flying around, I believe nobody in the country can play with us. Sometimes you go out with certain attitudes and certain things go on, but at the end of the day it's all about your intensity and work ethic. In practice before we started, Coach Spurrier talked about the enthusiasm we had before the Georgia game. You saw what happened in that game.
Do you think there's going to be a lot of enthusiasm for this game?
It is. We want to get back to our winning ways and beat Arkansas. This is a big game for me because I've been trying and trying and trying to get back on the field. Finally I'm going to get back out here. I'm excited.