News of the day
Steve Spurrier hopes no news is good news when it comes to extending his domination of Kentucky.
For the first time in several weeks, Spurrier did not have an announcement to make Thursday about the Gamecocks’ quarterback. But that did not stop him from having a little fun as he approached reporters following USC’s final practice of the week.
“Our starting quarterback will be … the same guy as last week. No news this week,” Spurrier said. “But we’ve had pretty good practices and we know it’s going to be a tough, physical game.”
Spurrier is 15-0 all-time against Kentucky, his best record against any opponent. USC has won eight in a row against the Wildcats, dating to a 30-10 loss in 1999 when the Gamecocks finished 0-11 in Lou Holtz’s first year.
With quarterback Chris Smelley’s hold on the starting job more secure following his career day last week at Mississippi, the most intriguing personnel issue facing the Gamecocks’ offense was at the guard spots. Spurrier said he would use the same line as the last three games, with Jamon Meredith and Terrence Campbell starting at guard. Heath Batchelor, who has been in the doghouse for missing classes and a 5:30 a.m. punitive run, will spell Campbell as needed, Spurrier added.
Once viewed as an emergency option at free safety, freshman Akeem Auguste will see action there against Kentucky after his strong play at Ole Miss, which included a big hit on a Rebels receiver.
Taylor Rank, who started at tailback in the season opener against N.C. State, is out after injuring his left shoulder Wednesday while working on the scout team. Rank plays on several special teams.
Tight end Jared Cook (sprained upper foot) practiced “pretty well” Thursday and will start Saturday, Spurrier said. Kicker Ryan Succop sustained an abdominal strain Monday or Tuesday that has not prevented him from kicking. Strong safety Emanuel Cook (sprained ankle) has not been limited much, according to defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.
Spurrier’s 15-0 record is the third-longest undefeated streak against an opponent among major college coaches. Penn State’s Joe Paterno has the top two – against Temple (25-0) and Maryland (24-0-1). …
Captains for the Kentucky game are receiver Moe Brown, right tackle Justin Sorensen, middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley and cornerback Stoney Woodson, Spurrier said on his call-in show. …
The Gamecocks will wear white jerseys with white pants for the second consecutive week. USC is 1-1 in the all-white look under Spurrier.
Kentucky right guard Jess Beets (sprained knee) is expected to start against the Gamecocks, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on its Web site. Stuart Hines, Beets’ backup, is out with torn knee cartilage.
Wildcats coach Rich Brooks said earlier this week receiver DeMoreo Ford (sternum/clavicle) and linebacker Michael Schwindel (shoulder) would miss the USC game.
Previewing USC at Kentucky