Starting running back Mike Davis returned to practice Thursday and seemed to alleviate any concern that he will miss South Carolina’s first game of the season Aug. 28 against Texas A&M.
“Y'all really think I'm going to miss the first game ?” Davis tweeted on Thursday morning, posting pictures of a laughing smiley face along with the tweet. “ok.”
How much he’ll play is the question, coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday evening on “Carolina Calls.”
“Mike Davis has sort of been banged-up this preseason,” Spurrier said. “He’s missed several days of practice, sort of got a bruise in the back or something. He hasn’t practiced but a little bit today, all this week. So Brandon Wilds has been running well, David Williams has been hurt, Shon Carson and Brandon Wilds have been everyday guys all preseason. So anyway, Mike’s a heck of a back, but these other guys have actually done a little better than him because Mike’s been hurt a little bit. So we’re going to play our backs, and Mike’s going to be in there, Brandon’s going to be in there, we’re going to give them all a chance because we have complete confidence that these guys can really play the game, and whoever plays the best, you know, they’ll stay in there and get most of the carries.”
Davis, who was named first-team preseason All-SEC by the conference’s coaches Thursday, rushed for more than 100 yards in seven of last year’s first nine game and finished with 1,183 yards, the fourth-highest single-season mark in school history. He missed time at the end of last season with a string of injuries and missed the first week of preseason practice because of a hamstring injury.
“We’ve got four backs rotating, I sort of had to get on them a little bit today because they would jog about 20 yards every time they ran the ball,” Spurrier said. “I told them I had a running back at Florida named Errict Rhett, he would run 50-60 yards, and then come running back for the next play. And we got four guys rotating, you’d think they’d run at least 40, 50 yards. So maybe they’ll start doing that.”
Davis, who wore a yellow, no-contact jersey at practice earlier this week, wore a regular jersey Thursday. Spurrier cast doubt on Davis’ status Wednesday when he told the SportsTalk radio network, “Mike Davis has been hurt, he hasn’t practiced all week. I don’t know if he’d even be able to start or not.”
Spurrier, Davis nor running backs coach Everette Sands spoke to the media following Thursday night’s practice.
“I know we have great, quality backs so we will see come Thursday who steps out there,” offensive line coach Shawn Elliott said. “Whoever it is, I know the O-line will bust their tail to block for them and give them all the support we can.”
The No. 9 Gamecocks face the No. 21 Aggies in Williams-Brice Stadium at 6 p.m.