For a South Carolina team that struggled with its kickoff coverage for much of the season, kicking it to Clemson's C.J. Spiller next week would seem to be the perfect storm.
Spiller, a Heisman Trophy candidate, is the nation's fourth-leading kick returner with a 33.9-yard average and has three returns for touchdowns.
So why even kick it to him?
Gamecocks special teams coordinator Shane Beamer said the other options are not that great, either. Kicking it out of bounds would give Clemson possession at its 40-yard line, increasing the Tigers' chances of scoring.
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USC could squib-kick, but Clemson aligns tailback Andre Ellington and receiver Jacoby Ford, a sprinter on the Tigers' track team, in front of Spiller.
"It's easy to say, 'Don't kick it to Spiller.' Well, who do you want me to kick it to?" Beamer said Thursday. "Obviously, people would say we'll take our chances with Ford and Ellington. But they're pretty good players in their own right."
Beamer said the best strategy might be to have Adam Yates pop the ball "high up in the air where they've got to fair-catch it" around the 30.
Old Kentucky home. Beamer has been mentioned as a candidate for the Murray State coaching vacancy. But Beamer said he has had no contact with the Football Championship Subdivision school in Kentucky where his father, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, coached in the 1980s.
The 32-year-old Beamer said it would be "highly flattering" if Murray State expressed interest, but his focus is elsewhere.
"We've got an important game against Clemson next week, and that's my priority right now."
Where's Giles? Freshman tailback Jarvis Giles has scarcely been heard from since his 100-yard rushing game against Florida Atlantic in September. Giles has not had more than four carries since the S.C. State win Oct. 3 and did not step on the field against Florida last week.
"He's got a pulled groin muscle right now, and he hasn't played all that super when he's been in there," USC coach Steve Spurrier said. "And the other guys have played a little better, simple as that."
Giles slipped on a second-and-short run in the first half at Arkansas and drew Spurrier's ire by running backward against N.C. State. Spurrier said the 5-11, 183-pounder also could stand to gain weight.
"It's hard to play at 180 pounds if you have to block those linebackers."
He said it. "If I thought calling every play would be the best way to do it, that's what I'd do. We talk over as a staff everything we want to go through, and then in the course of the (Florida) game, I did call almost all of 'em."
- Spurrier on his increased play-calling role.
Extra points. About half the team was given a long weekend, with players in good academic standing excused from classes today. ... Spurrier said USC "did a little" of its Clemson preparations this week but will do the bulk next week. ... Right tackle Hutch Eckerson and strong safety Darian Stewart are nursing shoulder injuries but should be OK for the Clemson game, Spurrier said. Freshman safety DeVonte Holloman has a back injury but is expected to play.