Shaq Roland has made progress this preseason, but it remains to be seen what role the freshman will play when the Gamecocks take on Vanderbilt next week.
Head coach Steve Spurrier has said several times - including Thursday night - that Roland will play this year. Receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. this week said it’s not clear how soon or how much the 6-foot-1, 173-pounder from Lexington will play.
“He’s gotten better. He’s still got a long way to go and a lot to learn,” receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said. “He’s certainly got a lot of talent. We’re going to do our best to get him ready to play.”
Senior D.L. Moore, junior Ace Sanders and sophomore Bruce Ellington are the likely starters for the Aug. 30 opener. Roland has been working behind Sanders at one of the outside receiving spots.
Roland was rated the No. 4 high school wide receiver in the country last year by Scout.com.
Are you used to everything by now?
I’m getting the hang of the offense. The plays are coming easy to me. I think I’ll be fine. I know the offense pretty well now.
Do you think you’re going to play right away?
It’s something I don’t focus on. I did talk to the coaches about a couple things. They think I’ve got a chance to play. It’s just an opportunity I’ve got take advantage of.
You and Jerell Adams are making quite the impression. Do you discuss that?
We never talk about that. We might joke around here and there. That’s not our focus, on being the superstar or whatever.
Is there any pressure being a local standout playing at the hometown school?
I don’t really focus on it too much. I know there’s going to be a lot of pressure on me, just coming in and me being from here. I just don’t pay attention to it.
How have you progressed this summer?
At first I came in and struggled a little bit. The game was different. Everything was different. Now I know the offense. I’m just relaxed and I can focus on what I need to do to get better.
How have the veteran receivers on this team assisted in that progress?
They help me with my routes, the plays and the signals. And I just watch them, when they run routes and everything.
How much is the team looking forward to next week’s game?
We’ve been going at each other for three weeks now. Everybody is excited about the Vandy game.
What do you expect the atmosphere to be like at Vanderbilt?
The first night, national television, I’m sure that will be crazy. I hear it’s going to be sold out. I’m sure I’m going to have some nerves. I think throughout the game I will calm down and focus.
- Compiled by Dwayne McLemore, GoGamecocks
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