South Carolina’s defense was getting beaten up so thoroughly that a couple of assistant coaches decided to chime in — by beating up each other.
Television cameras caught USC assistants Kirk Botkin and Deke Adams in a shoving match after halftime of Saturday’s 41-30 USC loss to No. 11 Georgia. With defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward standing between them, the three coaches were having a discussion.
The discussion turned animated when Botkin began shouting into Adams’ face. Adams placed a forearm in Botkin’s chest and tried to push him off as Ward got between the two, losing his headset in the process. Brison Williams, who was leaving the field, pushed Botkin away while the camera stayed on Adams, who was being restrained by another staff member. Adams calmed down quickly after.
Ward brushed it aside as the result of a long day where nothing defensively was working. “Heat of the moment,” he said, unconcerned. “Things happen.”
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Steve Spurrier said he didn’t know about it.
“I didn’t see that, who was it?” Spurrier asked. Told who it was, he responded, “Oh, OK. Well, at least they care.”
Spurrier seemed to agree with Ward on what the cause of it was.
“When you’re getting your butt kicked pretty royal, I guess one of them says, ‘Your guy needs to make a play,’ and the other one probably says, ‘Your guy needs to make a play,’ so that’s OK. We’ll get that handled.”
Stuck in the middle with you
The fears were somewhat assuaged when Cody Waldrop jogged out of the locker room in full uniform for warm-ups. It was a short-lived feeling.
Waldrop did some drills and was grimacing throughout until he had a heart-to-heart with offensive line coach Shawn Elliott before the team stretched.
He left the field and returned with his game jersey, shorts and walking boot. He did not play, and Clayton Stadnik started at center in his place.
Stadnik had one mistake, when he high-snapped a ball that Connor Shaw tipped to himself. Shaw fell on it for a 7-yard loss but hit Mike Davis for 29 yards on the next play. Stadnik snapped balls high all day, but only one eluded Shaw. His blocking also was solid.
If Waldrop doesn’t recover in time for Vanderbilt (and he might be held out anyway with a bye week on the horizon), Stadnik stands to start again. Freshman Alan Knott practiced this week as his backup, and guard Ronald Patrick took some snaps as an extreme-emergency option.
“Young Stad played well,” Spurrier said. “He’s a tough kid. Give him a little credit for hanging in there and playing the whole ballgame and playing well.”
Nick Jones’ past four games, going back to the Clemson game of 2012: 17 catches, 241 yards, two touchdowns. Jones caught the two scores on Saturday, the second and third of his career.
“It felt pretty good, but obviously it wasn’t enough,” Jones said. “We didn’t win the game, so that’s all that matters.”
Insult to injury
USC didn’t need any more kicks to the head after giving up 536 yards Saturday. The Gamecocks got them anyway.
The last time USC gave up more yardage was in the 2010 SEC Championship Game, when Cam Newton and Auburn rolled up 589 yards in a 56-17 shellacking. The last time USC had at least 454 yards of offense and still lost also was in 2010 — a 31-28 loss at Kentucky.
USC’s captains on Saturday were Sharrod Golightly, Ronald Patrick, Chaz Sutton and Shaw.
Freshman offensive tackle Mason Zandi wore No. 83 instead of his usual No. 74 on Saturday. Zandi has been working some at tight end and had to have a new number if he went in for that position. His No. 74 was available if he was needed at tackle.
This goes to 11
Pharoh Cooper was switched to No. 13 before last week’s win against North Carolina, then switched back to 11 before the game. He will stay with 11 for the season.