I saw two words in David Cloninger’s practice report that should be terrifying for South Carolina fans. Can anyone guess what they were?
That’s right: “fight through.”
Junior wide receiver Bruce Ellington, the most proven commodity in the receiving corps, said he believes he can “fight through” the hamstring injury that has caused him to miss most of preseason camp. Ellington himself acknowledged returning to practice Sunday only to suffer a setback and was in a non-contact, yellow jersey when he spoke to reporters Monday night.
Here’s my advice: If Bruce Ellington tries to put on shoulder pads on Thursday evening, somebody sit on him. I’m sure defensive graduate assistant Shaq Wilson would volunteer. Wilson just finished a five-year career as a Gamecocks linebacker. He suffered a hamstring injury on the first day of preseason camp in 2010 and played only one game that year because of it.
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Hamstrings are big, unforgiving muscles. Ellington’s game is burst, which means putting a lot of stress on that muscle. If he plays against North Carolina and does more damage to that hamstring, then you’re talking about missing the Georgia game and maybe then the Vanderbilt game and then who knows.
Ellington no doubt sees himself as a leader on this football team and probably feels a responsibility to be on the field the first game of the year. Understandable. But not the right play here.
As the Gamecocks make final preparations to play the Tar Heels on Thursday night, most everyone else in the SEC is just getting cranked up with their preparations for Saturday.
At Texas A&M, that means wondering if quarterback Johnny Manziel is going to play. Manziel met with NCAA investigators on Sunday, according to ESPN, but there’s no word yet on how the NCAA or the Aggies will handle Manziel’s status for Saturday’s game against Rice. The best indication of what a mess the Manziel matter still is, is that former South Carolina athletics director Eric Hyman, now the Texas A&M AD released a statement on Monday, saying none of his team’s players or coaches would address questions about Manziel.
The NCAA is trying to determine if Manziel was paid for autographing items that were later sold on eBay, and the worst part for me is that I am officially sick of the Johnny Manziel story. Instead of being excited about seeing maybe the most exciting player in college football on the field again, I am just ready for the whole thing to go away. Various Twitter reports indicate Texas A&M may have an announcement of some kind Wednesday.
Florida got some interesting personnel news Monday as it learned starting right tackle Chaz Green is out of the season due to a shoulder injury but that linebacker Antonio Morrison and tailback Matt Jones will be ready Week 2 against Miami (Fla.). Morrison had been under a two-game suspension, but head coach Will Muschamp cut that in half Monday, and Jones has been slowed for more than a month by a viral infection but is expected to be ready against the Hurricanes.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has picked his starting quarterback, but he won’t tell anyone whether or not it’s Jalen Whitlow or Maxwell Smith. Stoops argument is that there is no reason to tell Saturday’s opponent, Western Kentucky, if it is going to face the athletic Whitlow or the flat-footed Smith, and that argument makes some sense.
In Alabama, coach Nick Saban has been profiled by GQ by lifelong Alabama fan and fantastic writer Warren St. John. The combination of St. John’s heritage and talent makes for an interesting read on a guy who keeps everyone at arm’s length. The lead story in the piece is about what you would expect: A golfing buddy relaying Saban’s frustration with missing a week of recruiting to play in, and win, the BCS national title game. If you want to see more, you can find that here.
It’s outside the SEC purview, but if you want to see how former Gamecock Martay Mattox is doing with the Charlotte 49ers startup football program, there’s a good feature here.
We’ve got tons more coming later today, including our weekly look at what Las Vegas thinks about the Gamecocks’ matchup this week so check back often, and, as always, find me in the comments section here or on Twitter (@JoshatTheState) if you’ve got any questions.