Mike Matulis is hoping that growing his hair out will help him gain strength, like the biblical Samson.
While he’s waiting for his hair (and strength, hopefully) to get there, he’ll have to undergo another surgery.
South Carolina’s junior offensive tackle will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder soon, offensive line coach Shawn Elliott said Tuesday, but it’s not expected to keep him out for the season. Matulis has the option to sit, since he has a redshirt year available, but he is lightly practicing and preparing for the surgery.
“Mike’s going through fundamental drills, he’s working hard,” Elliott said after the latest session at the Proving Grounds. “I put him in some team segments. He’s got a little glitch in his shoulder, he’s going to have it scoped, I think it’s a minor scope. I haven’t been real concerned about it. We’ll see what he does when he comes back.”
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Elliott loves Matulis’ ability and the junior from Florida has started 10 games over his career, including five last year. But he hasn’t been able to stay on the field because of problems with each shoulder.
A candidate to redshirt as a true freshman in 2011, Matulis instead stepped in for the injured Kyle Nunn and started five games. His second shoulder injury knocked him out of the starting lineup after the first four games last year, although he returned to start one game before shutting it down for the season. Matulis also missed the 2012 and 2013 spring sessions after shoulder surgeries.
The latest knock might still allow him to play in 2013, but Matulis has the redshirt year available to get fully healthy and get his weight up, if he chooses. The preseason depth chart had him at third-string left tackle behind starter Corey Robinson and redshirt freshman Mason Zandi.
“That’s a great thing,” Elliott said. “He’s a good football player, and I’m really excited about him, just like I’ve been with him the last few years. It’s unfortunate. It’s bad luck, but it’s something you got to deal with. He does have the redshirt year. That’s fantastic. I’m happy about that.”
Don’t call him a backup
Sophomore tight end Jerell Adams, a freshman All-SEC selection in 2012, doesn’t consider his role a backup to starter Rory “Busta” Anderson. The Gamecocks plan to use the outstanding duo a lot — perhaps even at the same time.
“We worked a whole lot on the two-tight end set,” Adams said on Tuesday. “We’re just working hard. It’s really not a backup. It’s whatever play we run, a two-tight end set or not. I’m just in there to get a lot of reps in.”
Anderson has a chance to become one of the SEC’s biggest playmakers this season, as he has shown a knack for the touchdown catch. Eight of his 22 career receptions have gone for scores and he averages 20.9 yards per catch. Adams, who like Anderson will have NFL scouts coming around in droves, had one touchdown among his four catches as a freshman.
We’re still here
USC might not use the fullback a lot this year except if it goes to the Power I formation, but the Gamecocks’ fullbacks are still working as if they’ll play and play a lot. Connor McLaurin is the starter, with junior Jordan Diaz behind him and sophomore Garrison Gist at third string.
McLaurin is also on every special teams formation. He played in every game in 2012 and in five games in 2011.
The Gamecocks added several names to the yellow-jersey report on Tuesday.
Bruce Ellington, according to USC sports information, has a slight hamstring injury and did not practice, although he was at the field. Shamier Jeffery did not practice because of an ankle injury. Backup linebacker Kyle Morini dislocated his elbow and was taken from the field on a cart.
J.T. Surratt, battling for a starting spot at defensive tackle with Gerald Dixon Jr., missed practice with a lower back injury. Zandi was out because of illness.
Offensive tackle Cody Gibson (sprained right knee) did not practice but is off crutches. Linebacker Cedrick Cooper (hyperextended left elbow) remained on the injured list, but receiver Jody Fuller (shoulder) practiced, according to receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr.
The Gamecocks will practice again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. It is closed to the public.
Steve Spurrier Jr.