Joe Robinson has declined to talk about specifics on the depth chart, and No. 12 South Carolina has a week to finalize it anyway, but it seems definite that the Gamecocks will return to the standard of their kick return game.
Following a disastrous performance by Shon Carson at kickoff return against Vanderbilt, Bruce Ellington confirmed on Wednesday that he will be back on kickoff return when USC returns to the field on Sept. 28. Victor Hampton, who lost the job after the season-opener, will be back at punt return.
The Gamecocks are searching for any kind of jolt to the return game, after Steve Spurrier declared on Sunday that he might just tell his returners to take a knee in the end zone. Ellington and Hampton will at least be solid catching the ball, as long as Hampton can control the need to make a play, which nearly got him knocked out against North Carolina.
Another potential option on punt returns could be Pharoh Cooper. The freshman has been working there since the first day of preseason camp.
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“Coach (Steve) Spurrier Jr., he’s the punt return guy, he has me catching punts every day,” Cooper said on Wednesday. “That’s a good sign for him to keep me back there to catch them.”
Brandon Wilds realizes that Mike Davis has been a major part of USC’s early-season success, and is fine with his current role, but also would like to get some more carries. It may be becoming a trend where Davis is the every-down back and Wilds is the goal-line back.
“It’s friendly competition,” Wilds said. “We both know how the system works, so it’s nothing personal. Hopefully I’m an every-down back, too.”
Nice guys finish first
Place-kicker Elliott Fry isn’t forgetting where he came from. The walk-on from Texas regularly talks with fourth-grader Thompson Moore, a 9-year-old at Fry’s alma mater, Prince of Peace Christian School.
The two talk about football, but also about another shared trait – each has Type 1 diabetes. According to a report in the Dallas Morning News, Fry mailed Thompson his game-worn cleat from USC’s season-opener.
Players who missed practice due to injury or were in yellow jerseys were: Kelcy Quarles (sprained neck), Jadeveon Clowney (foot), Cody Waldrop (sprained right foot), James King, Jonathan Walton (bruised shoulder), Devin Washington (concussion) and Mike Matulis (shoulder).
The Gamecocks will practice on Thursday and then be given the weekend off. There is no media availability after practice.