Sixth-ranked South Carolina has 10 days before North Carolina visits to start the 2013 season. Some positions need a clear path to determine a starter, some may be determined at game time.
Linebackers coach Kirk Botkin doesn’t mind the wait. All of his charges are playing well, and there’s no need to rush a decision.
“We’re still working at it,” Botkin said after Monday’s practice. “We’re feeling really good about it. We feel like we got two good spurs and three good (middle linebackers) and three good (weakside linebackers).”
The position with the biggest magnifying glass on it after losing five seniors already took a hit when projected weakside starter Cedrick Cooper dislocated his elbow. Cooper remains out, and Monday was the first time that there was doubt expressed about whether or not he’d be ready by Aug. 29.
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“I don’t want to mess around and get on the field and end up hurting it again,” Cooper said. “I am going to take it day by day. I just got done coming back from the ACL. Now my freaking elbow.”
Cooper’s backup is sophomore Marcquis Roberts, who started Saturday’s scrimmage. Kaiwan Lewis started in the middle, where he was projected to start. Behind those two are redshirt freshman T.J. Holloman and freshmen Larenz Bryant, Skai Moore and Jonathan Walton.
At spur, junior Sharrod Golightly was listed in a potential rotation with redshirt freshman Jordan Diggs, but Golightly said Monday that he was preparing to start.
“I got the hints,” he said. “... (Botkin) just told me to be ready to play a lot.”
Botkin isn’t holding anyone up for a redshirt.
“They’re young, and they’re all going to play,” Botkin said. “They’re flying around and doing a lot of really good things.”
Defensive line coach Deke Adams is starting to see a starter for his one open spot materialize. Redshirt junior J.T. Surratt, Adams said, has a slight edge on redshirt sophomore Gerald Dixon Jr. for the open spot at defensive tackle.
Surratt played in 10 games last year, starting one, while recording 14 tackles and two quarterback hurries. Dixon Jr. started two games in 2012, with nine tackles and an interception.
Former Gamecock Travelle Wharton stopped by practice. Wharton was released by Cincinnati in July after sitting out the entire 2012 season due to a torn ACL. A 10-year NFL veteran, Wharton is still entertaining offers to play this season.
Jerell Adams (twisted left ankle), Mason Zandi and Carlton Heard were new additions to the injury list. Connor Shaw (thumb) practiced. While Bruce Ellington and Rory Anderson remained out of practice, coach Steve Spurrier said the two should be fine in 3-4 days. Ellington said he’d be ready to play Aug. 29.
Players who did not practice or wore yellow jerseys were: Devin Washington (concussion), Adams (twisted left ankle), Zandi, Heard, Kadetrix Marcus (left knee sprain), Chaz Sutton (sprained foot), James King (foot), Gerald Turner (ankle), Kyle Morini (dislocated elbow), Ellington (hamstring), Cooper (dislocated left elbow), Anderson (hamstring), Mike Matulis (shoulder) and Cody Gibson (sprained right knee).
The Gamecocks will practice again at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. It is closed to the public.
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