USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward knows what to expect Saturday night from the Tennessee offense, especially when it comes to which quarterback will play for the Volunteers.
“We’ll see the running quarterback,” Ward said. “We’ll see (sophomore Joshua) Dobbs, there’s no question. He did a good job against Alabama moving the football. They had their most production when he was in the ballgame. So, there’s no question who we’re going to see.”
Dobbs threw for 192 yards and rushed for 75 in the loss to the Crimson Tide after he entered the game on the third series.
The Gamecocks (4-4, 2-4 SEC) will host the Vols (3-5, 0-4 SEC) at Williams-Brice Stadium at 7:30 p.m. in a game televised on the SEC Network.
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In and out
Ward said linebacker Skai Moore (ankle sprain) and safety Kadetrix Marcus (shoulder sprain) will not play. Sophomore Jonathan Walton is slated to start at the Will linebacker position, with T.J. Holloman as the backup. Marcquis Roberts and Kaiwan Lewis are the candidates to play Mike linebacker.
Freshman safety D.J. Smith will make his return to the field against Tennessee.
“We really harped on D.J. to learn your assignment and making sure he could handle all the movement. He’s done a good job in practice, so he’ll play.” Ward said.
T.J. Gurley and Chris Moody will start at safety.
Come as you are
Despite the Gamecocks’ plans to wear black jerseys and black pants Saturday, the school’s athletics administrators are not asking the fans to participate in a “blackout.”
“We want people to wear school colors, and we will be distributing white rally towels as usual,” associate athletics director for marketing Eric Nichols told The State via email.
Coach Steve Spurrier expressed confidence this week that the academic scandal that has engulfed North Carolina could not happen at South Carolina under the current regime.
“Our guys have to go to class, have to go to study hall tutoring,” he said. “That’s why we’ve graduated so many. We’re very confident in our academic integrity here.”
After rolling two shotgun snaps to quarterback Dylan Thompson in the fourth quarter against Auburn, Alan Knott might share time at center this week, Spurrier said. Knott was suffering from cramps in his hand late in the game, Spurrier said.
“There’s a chance Clayton Stadnik may play some this week also, our backup center,” Spurrier said. “He hasn’t played much this year. Played about the whole season last year, but he got beaten out, I guess, after the Texas A&M game. Played a little bit against Furman, so maybe it’s time to give him a chance to see what he can do in there.”
Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott did not speak to the media this week.
Full of confidence
Freshman Chris Lammons is expected to make his third consecutive start at cornerback against Tennessee, and the Florida native thinks he has earned the spot for the remainder of the season.
“I think I stepped up big-time, made some big-time tackles (against Auburn),” Lammons said. “I gave up one pass, and that was a slant on third down. I worked on it in practice, so I think I will be able to stop all those conversions. I have always been ready to step up to the big plate.”
Lammons had six of his 12 tackles last week against the Tigers.
Call-in show notes
Spurrier held his weekly call-in show Thursday night. Some highlights:
... Mike Matulis could start at right guard, Spurrier said. Cody Waldrop may eventually need surgery on his knee.
... Without mentioning names, Spurrier was hopeful that several of the non-qualifiers from the last class will be at USC in the spring. Defensive linemen Dexter Wideman and Dante Sawyer, along with defensive back Darin Smalls, are all on track to join the Gamecocks in January or May.
... Spurrier said of Tennessee, “They could be the best 3-5 team in the country.”
... Spurrier is hoping players are more energetic and enthusiastic against Tennessee: “We don’t have a lot of those fireball-type guys ... but we’re hanging in there.”
Players who did not practice or wore yellow jerseys were: Moore, CB Wesley Green (knee), Marcus (shoulder), WR Matrick Belton (right leg), TE Rory Anderson (left tricep), DE Cedrick Cooper (ankle), OL Donell Stanley (left wrist) and CB Jamari Smith (left foot).