South Carolina starting quarterback Perry Orth did not throw at practice Wednesday and star receiver Pharoh Cooper is not getting as many reps this week, but the two should be ready to go for next weekend’s showdown with Texas A&M.
Orth is nursing a sore shoulder, and offensive coordinator G.A. Mangus said the bye week is a good time for the junior to rest it and let it get healthy. Quarterbacks Connor Mitch and Lorenzo Nunez, who are recovering from shoulder injuries, both practiced Wednesday.
“Perry didn’t do anything throwing today. Connor (Mitch) is back, getting stronger. We’re just rotating them right now trying to play a lot of young guys. That’s what these weeks are all about,” Mangus said. Perry is “just sore. He’ll be fine. He’ll get a couple days off here over the weekend and he’ll be ready to go Monday.”
Cooper, who has at least 100 receiving yards in three straight games, said he is resting up before the final five games of the season. In the meantime, USC’s younger players are getting an opportunity to showcase what they can do.
“I’m still practicing but not as much,” Cooper said. “We’re letting the young guys get some reps, trying to save our legs a little bit. Next week I’ll be back full go practicing a whole lot more.”
Where was Shon Carson?
South Carolina’s tailbacks had 168 yards rushing against Vanderbilt on Saturday, with Brandon Wilds compiling 119 yards and David Williams 49.
It was the unit’s first time over 100 yards rushing in a game since Sept. 12 against Kentucky (160) and the season opener vs. North Carolina (168).
Missing from the equation? Senior running back Shon Carson did not play, but don’t read too much into that, Mangus said.
“That was the first game we’ve done a whole lot of two-back and those guys were rolling and we were getting some tempo going and all of that,” Mangus said. “With that you don’t substitute as much. But there’s a role for Shon. He’ll get his opportunities.”
Toting the rock
Wilds had a season-high 24 rushing attempts Saturday against Vanderbilt. He’s hoping the increased workload will continue for the rest of the year.
“It felt good. I’m ready to get some more,” he said. “I’m back practicing, going through all the motions, so I’m ready for a 30-carry game.”
Tempo will continue
There was a noticeable difference in the speed at which South Carolina’s offense operated Saturday against Vanderbilt, and Mangus believes the up-tempo approach will continue to benefit the Gamecocks the rest of the year.
“I thought our tempo helped us. We ran the ball better and got loose and had some good runs. Brandon had 100 yards and David had his best game of the year,” Mangus said. “We got into some more two-back stuff. I thought going faster and getting some up-tempo helped us. I think these guys enjoy that. That’s the way we’ve been practicing, and we’ll continue to use that to our advantage.”
Mangus said he called all of the plays Saturday against Vanderbilt, and the plan is for him to continue to do so moving forward.
Red cross report
Players who were injured or wore yellow jerseys were: DE Cedrick Cooper (undisclosed), CB Rico McWilliams (concussion), LB Sherrod Pittman (leg), SS Antoine Wilder (leg), WR Deebo Samuel (hamstring), TE Connor Redmond (back), QB Gage Pucci (knee) and C Cody Waldrop (ankle). WR Shaq Davidson (knee) and WR Jerad Washington (left leg) are out for the season.
Staff writers Dwayne Mclemore and Ben Breiner contributed to this report.