Senior cornerback Akeem Auguste, a projected starter, practiced Wednesday for the first time this fall.
Auguste, who sat out the first three weeks due to an arch injury in his left foot, didn’t participate in the full practice but still gave himself a chance to hang onto his starting job, assistant head coach for defense Ellis Johnson said.
“If he gets all his practice days in before next week, he’ll be fine,” Johnson said. “We’ll have to see how he felt after what he did today, but physically he probably ought to be ready to go. He’s going to have to tune it up. (Backup C.C. Whitlock) has not had a great camp, but he’s done some good things.”
Auguste was moving “pretty good,” Whitlock said.
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“We need Akeem back,” All-SEC cornerback Stephon Gilmore said. “Akeem is a good player.”
Johnson has decided to rotate junior Shaq Wilson and senior Rodney Paulk at middle linebacker this season, he said.
“Rodney’s knee is irritating him a little bit, and I don’t know if he could go 50 or 60 plays,” Johnson said.
That leaves the question of who will start at weakside linebacker. Paulk had been working as the starter there.
“Damario (Jeffery) has had a great camp. Reggie Bowens has moved out to (weakside) backer two days ago. He’s doing a (heck) of a job. I think taking all the verbal communication off of him has helped him. He’s still got a few things he has to learn on his pass drops.”
Quin Smith, who should return to practice from a concussion within two or three days, also will compete for the job, Johnson said.
Jeffery won’t be starting the season at weakside linebacker, though. He is being moved back to his former position, spur, for that game to take the place of the suspended DeVonte Holloman. Jeffery was moved from spur to linebacker in the spring, and Holloman was moved from safety to spur. Holloman is suspended from the first game of the season following an offseason arrest and DUI charge.
“The plan is just to get through the East Carolina game and then get” Jeffery back to linebacker, Johnson said.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has bone spurs in his left foot and a sprained left ankle but neither issue is considered serious, Steve Spurrier said.
“He’s two or three days, he should be OK,” Spurrier said. “Docs think he’ll be all right by the weekend.”
Clowney has had the bone spur issue since high school, Spurrier said.
“He says it’s not bothering him too much, but the bone spurs are irritating the slight sprain,” Johnson said.
Defensive end Melvin Ingram (thigh bruise) also is expected to return in two to three days.
Chaz Sutton, J.T. Surratt, Qua Gilchrist