Like many of his team's fans, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier would like to see more of Bruce Ellington.
“You may see him some if we can make some first downs,” Spurrier said of the Gamecock sophomore who joined the football team after starting on the basketball team last season. “Hopefully, we can get Bruce some more snaps.”
Ellington has five catches for 75 yards and six carries for 5 yards in the first five games of the season. He is the team’s third-leading wide receiver, behind Alshon Jeffery (19 for 332) and Ace Sanders (nine for 124). It took Ellington most of the first month of the season to get his body accustomed to football again, he said.
“I am starting to feel it coming back again, so I am just going out there and playing,” he said.
Never miss a local story.
Although basketball practice begins later this month, Ellington said his focus now is on football. He has said he plans to rejoin the basketball team following football season.
“Of course, I think about (basketball) a little bit, but my focus right now is just getting better at receiver and going out and helping the (football) team win,” Ellington said.
Ellington enjoys the attention that comes with football, he said.
“It’s actually a lot more exciting than basketball because you have a lot more fans out there,” he said. “Just to hear them chant your name out. When they do the ‘Bruuuuce,’ I just love that.”
Redshirt freshman Cody Gibson is working as the starter at right tackle, Gibson said Wednesday.
Mike Matulis started in place of the injured Kyle Nunn (back) last week before being replaced by Gibson. Defensive ends who using speed moves were Gibson’s biggest problem last week, he said, and that is what he has focused on this week in practice.
Gibson missed more than two weeks of practice this year due to a dislocated knee cap.
Defensive end Melvin Ingram (foot) and Nunn both are doubtful for Saturday’s game, coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday. Nunn could miss the rest of the season, Spurrier said last week, but the Gamecocks are hopeful Ingram can return in time to play at Mississippi State on Oct. 15.
Ingram said Tuesday he thinks there’s a chance he will play against Kentucky.
Both losses would be huge for the Gamecocks. Ingram leads the SEC in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (7.5). Nunn’s replacements, freshmen Mike Matulis and Cody Gibson, were ineffective last week against Auburn.
Wide receiver Jason Barnes (hamstring) and running back Kenny Miles (wrist) are questionable.
Eric Hyman is the ninth-highest paid athletics director in the SEC, according to a USA Today database released this week. Hyman, who was linked to the Tennessee and North Carolina jobs earlier this year, receives $504,000 annually. Georgia, Mississippi and Mississippi State pay their athletic directors less.
Vanderbilt’s David Williams, who also is a tenured law professor and vice chancellor at the school, is the highest paid athletics boss in the country at $2.5 million annually. Florida’s Jeremy Foley makes $1.5 million a year.
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips returned this week to former Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin’s gas pumping remark about Alshon Jeffery.
Phillips recruited Jeffery as well. The Gamecocks junior wide receiver was a high school teammate of Kentucky defensive lineman Donte Rumph in St. Matthews.
“He’s a guy who could’ve made a huge difference,” Phillips said. “I guess he went down there to pump gas.”
Phillips quickly pointed out he was joking.
“Nah, he’s not going to be pumping gas,” Phillips said. “A lot of people are going to be pumping his gas.”
... The Gamecocks worked on some option offense during Wednesday’s practice, offensive lineman Terrence Campbell said. “Just different things we’re trying,” Campbell said. “Hopefully, it all works out for us.”
Spurrier did not clear any of his assistant coaches to speak to the media this week. Assistant head coach for defense Ellis Johnson still is expected to speak Thursday, which is his regular day to meet with the media.
If the Gamecocks beat Kentucky, they will be 3-1 in the SEC for the second in Spurrier’s seven seasons.