Pharoh Cooper was regarded as one of the most potential-wielding players at South Carolina.
After a school-record night against Tennessee, potential has become reality.
Cooper’s name is all over the national college football scene this week, but he’s keeping himself grounded. He said he didn’t even notice just how good his Tennessee performance was until he checked his phone afterward and saw all of the congratulatory messages.
“It really didn’t even hit me Saturday night. I was still thinking about the loss we took,” he said. “We lost the game, and that’s what really matters.”
Cooper’s versatility gives the Gamecocks several different looks. He can throw, catch and run – as he did with touchdowns against the Volunteers – and is also handy at catching onside kicks. He’s part of a unit that seems poised to set school records for yards and points.
Cooper can’t take any satisfaction in that, though.
“Despite the numbers we have, we have a whole bunch of offensive numbers in the top categories. But we still can’t win games,” he said. “All that really goes out the window too if you can’t win games.”
Changing of the center
Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott said that Clayton Stadnik should remain at center for Florida on Nov. 15. He took over for Alan Knott for the Tennessee game.
Although Knott could get another chance.
“Clayton didn’t play bad, he played pretty good,” Elliott said. “I think they can both go in there and give us quality reps.” Moving on
Lorenzo Ward said after Tuesday’s practice that a condition of Na’Ty Rodgers staying on the football team was him moving from offense to defense. A former offensive lineman under Elliott, Rodgers is now at defensive tackle.
What was Elliott’s reaction to the switch?
“I don’t have a reaction,” he said.
Defensive line coach Deke Adams has seen himself and his players run through the wringer this season. The opponents’ troubling tendencies to run directly through the middle of the Gamecocks’ defense has placed the front four, and its coach, in the fans’ crosshairs.
The line has had its share of injuries (particularly a swinging gate at defensive end) but many of the players are experienced, although with not many starts. That’s what’s made the non-production so mystifying.
Adams declared that his group is still giving maximum effort.
“There’s no quitters in this group, and there’s no quitters on this team,” Adams said. “I don’t think the issue of playing hard and things like that, have been an issue. We’re looking at a lot of different things, from injuries to youth to everything else.”
Women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley joined Steve Spurrier’s call-in show on Wednesday. She gave a brief preview of the season as Spurrier, a frequent attendee of Staley’s games, complimented her.
“It’s inspirational, watching your girls play,” Spurrier said.
The Gamecocks had several players in yellow jerseys this week, but received good news when RT Brandon Shell (ankle) returned to practice on Wednesday after missing on Tuesday. Safety Chris Moody (concussion), Spur Sharrod Golightly (wisdom teeth), Spur Jordan Diggs (shoulder), DE David Johnson (knee), RG Mike Matulis (elbow), DE Mason Harris (knee), LB Skai Moore (ankle) and S Kadetrix Marcus (shoulder) are banged up but expected to be fine for the Florida game.
RG Cody Waldrop (right knee), 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) are still recovering from long-term injuries.