If South Carolina had to play a football game tomorrow, Kaiwan Lewis and T.J. Holloman would start at middle and weakside linebacker. The next game is not for five months, though, and that allows linebackers coach Kirk Botkin some flexibility this spring.
Lewis, a sophomore, and Holloman, a redshirt freshman, are rotating at the middle linebacker spot during spring practice because they are the only two linebackers on the team with enough experience to call out the defensive formations, which is the responsibility of the middle linebacker.
“I can’t say enough about Kaiwan and T.J.,” Botkin said. “Every day we switch (the No. 1 spot). Both of those guys, for young guys, are doing outstanding jobs setting the front, talking, communicating. I can’t say enough good things. You could see it last year. You could see how smart they are and how sharp they are.”
Kelvin Rainey and Marcquis Roberts are rotating the top spot at weakside linebacker during practice.
“Kelvin Rainey just has to be a little more physical, going downhill, stopping the run, but he does a real good job in the 7-on-7 stuff. He makes play after play. That’s exciting,” Botkin said. “Marcquis is a little more aggressive and goes downhill, a little better against the run than against the pass right now.”
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney understands that offensive players have a stranglehold on the Heisman Trophy, and he understands that.
“That’s what the people like, touchdowns and more touchdowns,” the junior said. “They don’t worry about the sacks and stuff.”
Still, Clowney said, he is not tempted to moonlight on offense this season as a way of improving his chances at college football’s most prestigious award.
“No interest at all in playing offense,” he said. “Forget it.”
Packing on pounds
Redshirt freshman defensive end Darius English weighs 235 pounds this spring, which is quite an improvement from the 214 he weighed when he arrived on campus last summer, he said. He hopes to add another 10 pounds before the season, he said.
“I am really trying to eat late at night before I go to bed, get extra sleep whenever I can,” he said. “I try to eat healthier food, just a larger amount.”
English isn’t expected to earn a starting job this fall but would like to start in South Carolina’s rabbits package, which features four defensive ends, he said.
“That is definitely a goal,” he said.
Eighteen former Gamecocks, including running back Marcus Lattimore, are expected to work out Wednesday for professional scouts and coaches at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Lattimore, cornerback Akeem Auguste, linebacker Reginald Bowens, tight end Justice Cunningham, defensive end Aldrick Fordham, fullback Qua Gilchrist, linebacker DeVonte Holloman, linebacker Damario Jeffery, defensive tackle Byron Jerideau, center T.J. Johnson, running back Kenny Miles, wide receiver D.L. Moore, wide receiver Ace Sanders, linebacker Quin Smith, safety D.J. Swearinger, defensive end Devin Taylor, linebacker Shaq Wilson and place-kicker Adam Yates will be measured and weighed and perform strength, speed and agility drills in hopes of impressing evaluators before next month’s NFL Draft.
... Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis attended Tuesday’s practice.
... Wide receiver Damiere Byrd (hamstring) and cornerback Ronnie Martin (hamstring) did not practice due to injury.
... The Gamecocks return to the practice field Thursday afternoon. The 4:15 workout is open to the public.
Video: Jadeveon Clowney