Punter Tyler Hull might not have to retire after all.
After attempting six fourth-down conversions and recovering an onside kick against Auburn last week, Steve Spurrier said he probably will use a more traditional approach this week.
“That’s not the plan this week,” he said. “Tennessee is not ranked that high offensively in the conference, but I don’t know what they’re going to do against us, they may go up and down the field, or maybe we can stop them a whole bunch like we did against Missouri. We stopped Missouri a whole lot until the end of the game, so we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The Volunteers are 12th in the SEC in total offense with 332.4 yards per game. South Carolina leads the SEC in fourth-down attempts (14) and conversions (10) this season.
Never miss a local story.
Tackling machine When Spurrier saw Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson on film while scouting the Volunteers defense this week, he got a little envious.
“He is all over the place making tackles. It was amazing,” Spurrier said. “We watched one play, he blitzed on the left side, the running back broke a run, he ran him down about 40 yards down field. So they’ve got some guys flying around, hustling, playing the game the way you’re supposed to play it, and if we’re going to have a chance this week, we’ve got to match their intensity and effort level.”
Johnson has 86 tackles this season, which is first in the SEC and 12th in the nation. The Gamecocks’ leading tackler, linebacker Skai Moore, has 51 stops.
Tennessee’s question mark at quarterback isn’t causing the Gamecocks much concern, apparently. The Volunteers have not announced if injured starter Justin Worley will return this week or if Josh Dobbs or Nathan Peterman will be behind center.
Like most people, South Carolina’s coaches believe Dobbs, a mobile sophomore, will start.
“I believe our defensive coaches and staff are preparing for that kid more than, maybe, the other kid that’s been playing. Is Worley still hurt? I don’t even know. He may be back? OK, I hadn’t read all that,” Spurrier said.
Moore remains doubtful because of a sprained ankle suffered against Auburn, Spurrier said. Moore was on crutches Tuesday afternoon as his teammates practiced.
Several defensive players were in yellow jerseys. Linebacker Marcquis Roberts (shoulder) and spur Sharrod Golightly (hip flexor) are expected return to practice on Wednesday. Safety T.J. Gurley (ribs) and safety Kadetrix Marcus (shoulder) are expected to play Saturday. Defensive end Mason Harris (knee) fully practiced after missing a couple of weeks.
Other players who did not practice or wore yellow jerseys were: RG Cody Waldrop (right knee), TE Rory Anderson (left tricep), DE Cedrick Cooper (ankle), OL Donell Stanley (left wrist) and CB Jamari Smith (left foot).