Only two South Carolina defensive players have started more games than Travian Robertson, so he figures he’s due some rest.
He’s taking it this spring. The senior defensive tackle will be very limited in contact work throughout spring practice, but he’s completely healthy, he said Tuesday after the Gamecocks held their fifth spring practice.
“I am trying to do a lot of teaching and helping with the young guys,” Robertson said. “Everything is fine, just getting the young guys reps.”
Robertson has started 19 games for the Gamecocks, including all 14 last season.
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Starting quarterback Stephen Garcia returned to practice Tuesday after serving a one-week suspension for violation of team rules.
Garcia appeared to take his normal spot at the top of the rotation during most drills. Neither Garcia nor Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier spoke to the media following Tuesday’s practice. Garcia made a brief appearance at Saturday’s practice but did not participate in any drills.
Third-team quarterback Andrew Clifford also returned to practice from his suspension.
Junior linebacker Quin Smith is wearing a cast that covers his entire right hand and will have to wear it throughout spring practice.
“Oh man, it is real hard,” Smith said. “It’s like learning to play over again, but I am doing the best I can out there.”
Smith broke his hand when he slammed it in a car door, he said. Smith is working as the back-up weak side linebacker behind Shaq Wilson this spring.
Ellis Johnson, South Carolina’s assistant head coach for defense, isn’t completely happy with his unit’s depth, but he’s getting there.
“I don’t know if we’re there yet, but we certainly appear to be in better shape than we have been,” he said. “There are a lot of these kids who are still learning our package, and they are making mistakes that will get you beat, but the physical part of it, I think they are reaching a point where we will have some quality depth at just about every position if not every position.”
... Defensive lined coach Brad Lawing returned to practice Tuesday after missing two days for health reasons.
Walk-on quarterback turned tight end Payton Brady got a long look at tight end during Tuesday’s drills.
The Gamecocks will take Wednesday off before returning to the practice field Thursday.
Cornerback Marty Markett has been in a no-contact jersey since the first day of spring practice after aggravating the knee injury he suffered last year.
Travian Robertson, Martay Mattox
Ellis Johnson, Quin Smith