Practice report: Coaches ready their options

Special to The StateAugust 25, 2010 

Scenes from South Carolina's Wednesday practice at the Proving Grounds on Bluff Road. (Melissa Harmon/Special to The State)

With the cloud of the NCAA investigation still a real prospect with the season a week to go, coaches have had to make sure second and maybe third team players will be ready to play in the season opener against Southern Miss.

Defensive back coach Lorenzo Ward might be in line to lose a couple of players in Akeem Auguste and C.C. Whitlock. Those two were late to practice on Wednesday as they are trying to clear their situation while residing at the Whitney Hotel the past few months.

“If we can get them all to play next Thursday we will be OK with depth,” Ward said. “I don’t know what the situation is with Akeem and C.C., but that is in the hands of our administration and the NCAA so we’ll play with what we got.”

Ward said the starting corner positions will still be Stephon Gilmore and Chris Culliver. D.J. Swearinger is still working at boundary corner while learning the safety position. Ward said if those two are unavailable, sophomore Jimmy Legree is prepared to see action.

“We’ve got enough guys prepared to play, and we feel good about the ones we got if those two can’t,” Ward said. “Chris, Stephon and D.J. will play. Jimmy Legree can play if we need him and we would be comfortable with that is that is what it comes to.”

Stock Rising

Seniors Spencer Lanning and Ladi Ajiboye have been elected captains by a team vote. The two join Cliff Matthews and Patrick DiMarco, who both were elected captains as juniors.

Spurrier said it is probably the first time in his career that a kicker had been elected captain. Ajiboye is in the middle of the Whitney hotel saga, but he still was picked to be a captain.

Spurrier added that if any of the guys miss time for injury or suspension, Travian Robertson, Rodney Paulk and Brian Maddox would be in the mix to replace them. All three got their share of votes from the team.

“It probably wasn’t a surprise who was named our captains,” Spurrier said.

Stock Falling

Fan support. South Carolina is widely considered home of a great fan base but the Gamecocks still have tickets remaining for its first three home games.

“The team can’t worry about anything but playing our best,” Spurrier said. “If we would have played pretty well against UConn and beat those guys, I bet we would have a sellout. But we didn’t so that’s where we are right now.”

Injury Report

Things remain the same on the injury front. Tailback Jarvis Giles and fullback/tight end Patrick DiMarco remained in yellow non-contact jerseys. Receiver Dion LeCorn (sprained shoulder) and offensive guard Terrence Campbell (high ankle sprain) did not practice. Campbell is still in a walking boot using crutches.

Extra Points

Defensive line coach Brad Lawing said the two redshirt candidates from the defensive line are Corey Simmons and J.T. Surratt, who is injured.

... Spurrier said that Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw got most of the snaps during practice and he expects that to continue barring injury or anything unforeseen happening. Backup Seth Strickland will be the holder for placekick.

Quote of the day

“Somebody told me about that. I better not comment. The last time I commented on a coach and agents, I was reminded I should have let that lay with somebody else. Then I was just trying to compliment Tennessee football tradition and everything and got in a little trouble for saying I was surprised they canceled their game against North Carolina. I guess I shouldn’t have said that.” -- Steve Spurrier on the NCAA wanting to talk to former South Carolina and Tennessee assistant coach David Reaves on improper recruiting practices while he was with the Volunteers under Lane Kiffin.

Up next

The Gamecocks will have Thursday off and return to the practice field at 4 p.m. Friday to begin game preparations for Southern Miss.

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