Expect the South Carolina football team to try to get the running game in gear going forward.
On his weekly call-in show, interim coach Shawn Elliott said he keeps a note in his locker reminding him how well the team does when a back gets 20-plus carries (24-6 the past 30 times it happened).
“I look at it every single day to remind myself what we need to do to win the football game,” Elliott said Thursday. “And we’ve got to establish the run. We’ve got to give that back ample opportunities to gain momentum. One and two carries, pulling him out, going four, five series without really getting him established is not going to win the football game for us.”
On the show, he said there were no notable injury updates, outside the hamstring ailment that has kept Deebo Samuel off the field.
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Elliott noted K.C. Crosby will work more at tight end, but it likely won’t be as the second tight end on the field. Instead, he said the plan will include more two-back sets and Crosby is less a pure tight end and more of a mobile player.
He also said everything is on the table, including potentially trick plays.
“What have I got to lose?” Elliott said.
Fielding a question about last season’s meeting with Texas A&M, Elliott addressed concerns about South Carolina’s tendency to give up first downs. The Aggies had 39 in that game, often working short passes and the screen game.
“We can’t give the receivers space like we did a year ago,” Elliott said. “We’ve got to pressure the quarterback. We’ve got to make him uncomfortable. Changes have to be made, different avenues have to be explored, and we’re doing all those things.”
Gamecocks co-defense coordinator Jon Hoke said the team won’t go into Saturday’s game with multiple game plans because Texas A&M hasn’t named a starting quarterback. Whether it’s Kyler Murray, Kyle Allen or Jake Hubenak, things won’t change too drastically in the Aggie offense.
That said, defenders have to keep an eye on Murray if he plays because of his mobility.
“You know Murray is a tremendous athlete,” Hoke said. “You know he’d going to pull it. He’s going to run around, create plays. He can create plays in space by himself. You have to have awareness is Murray’s a starter. You might have to alter your calls a little bit.”
Hoke also said the Aggies’ high-tempo spread will force the staff to get the calls in fast and his players to defend in space.
CB on the mend
CB Rico McWilliams will play after suffering a concussion in the Gamecocks’ last game. Hoke didn’t specify if McWilliams will start, but he’ll rotate in. The coach added the rest of the defense is at full health.
“We’ll play a lot of guys because of the type of offense they have,” Hoke said. “We’ve got to have people running to the ball all day.”
Players who were injured or wore yellow jerseys were: LB Sherrod Pittman (leg), SS Antoine Wilder (leg), WR Christian Owens (left foot), 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.
Gamecocks vs. Aggies
Who: South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) at Texas A&M (5-2, 2-2)
Where: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas
When: Noon, Saturday
TV: SEC Network
Line: Texas A&M by 16 1/2