News of the day
USC starting tailback Mike Davis and two or three other players will be suspended for a game for violating the athletic department’s class attendance policy, but they will not miss Thursday’s opener against N.C. State.
“It’s a middle-of-the-year game,” Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said Saturday. “They’re all missing that same game.”
Quarterback Blake Mitchell sat out last year’s opener against Louisiana-Lafayette for skipping summer school classes. But the policy does not require players to be suspended the next scheduled competition, so Spurrier could choose a nonconference game against Wofford or UAB.
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Davis’ suspension was announced during the spring, but Spurrier said he would not identify the other players until the week of the game.
Spurrier implemented additional measures two years ago to help boost class attendance. Players who miss class run the steps at Williams-Brice Stadium at 5:30 a.m.
DL Travian Robertson was mentioned as a redshirt candidate at the start of preseason drills. But the sophomore could see action at both end and tackle vs. the Wolfpack.
A week and a half ago, Quintin Richardson was starting at left tackle. Saturday the Spring Valley graduate was on the scout team. Though Spurrier said Richardson will suit up Thursday, he is competing with Kyle Nunn for the No. 2 spot behind right tackle Justin Sorensen.
Darian Stewart, the starter at “spur” linebacker, remains sidelined with a strained left foot he injured Aug. 16. Spurrier might wait until Wednesday to decide on Stewart, who did some running Saturday.
Spurrier has no predetermined plans to use backup QB Chris Smelley vs. N.C. State. … Hutch Eckerson and Jarriel King continue to compete for the left tackle job. … USC will release its updated depth chart today.
Quote of the day
“I played beside Sorensen the last three games last year. I played beside him during the spring and this whole fall camp. I know me and him are on the same page. I roomed with (center) Garrett (Anderson) the first two years, so me and him are on the same page,” – RG Heath Batchelor on offensive line chemistry.
N.C. State has several players from South Carolina and one who began his career with the Gamecocks. DE Shea McKeen, who left USC after Spurrier’s first season because of off-the-field issues, transferred to N.C. State after making 42 tackles and four sacks last year at Nassau (N.Y.) Community College.
Sumter native J.C. Neal is a returning starter at strong safety, while DL LeRoy Burgess (Ridge View, Ga. Military) and LB Sterling Lucas (Orangeburg-Wilkinson) are first-year players.