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Practice report: Culliver, Auguste test new roles

USC head coach Steve Spurrier watches as players warm up during practice.
USC head coach Steve Spurrier watches as players warm up during practice.

Leading off

It just looked like some routine cross-training when Chris Culliver and Akeem Auguste flipped positions for a few plays in Saturday’s scrimmage.

But it could end up being more than just a few plays.

Ellis Johnson, USC’s assistant head coach for defense, said he could foresee a permanent switch at some point. Culliver, who started 12 games at safety last year, might be a more natural cornerback. And Auguste, penciled in to a starting spot at corner, is the team’s most natural safety, according to Johnson. “Akeem is the best safety, and if Cully continues to develop a little bit at corner, that’s a switch that may be made at some point in time, and I don’t know when,” Johnson said. “We’re starting to develop a little bit of depth. The problem is it’s kind of double-teaching everybody.”

A big part of the equation is the better depth at cornerback. Johnson admitted he would be more comfortable with backup C.C. Whitlock at one of the cornerback spots, whereas nobody has really emerged to back up Culliver or Darian Stewart at safety.

At a minimum, the experiment gives the secondary a little more flexibility, and isn’t just about a possible long-term switch.

“It’s a little bit of both. We’ve gotta be prepared in an emergency, or a disaster,” Johnson said.

Stock rising

Defensive end Devin Taylor, a redshirt freshman, took Clifton Geathers’ spot on the first-team defense.

“If (Geathers) is not here, Devin Taylor gets his shot,” Steve Spurrier said. “That’s the way life is: One guy’s not here, the next guy gets his chance.”

Stock falling

Kevin Young, Seaver Brown and Pierre Andrews. The three offensive linemen were competing for key roles when camp began, but were not among the nine players listed on the two-deep by assistant coach Eric Wolford on Monday night.

Injury update

Tailbacks Brian Maddox and Eric Baker both practiced. Maddox, the starter, missed all of last week with a bruised shoulder. Baker, one of the top backups, was out most of camp with a sports hernia injury.

Extra points

Wolford named his starting offensive line and top backups, with no major surprises.

The lineup: Jarriel King at left tackle, Terrence Campbell at left guard, Garrett Anderson and Lemuel Jeanpierre in a platoon at center, T.J. Johnson and Heath Batchelor platooning at right guard, and Quintin Richardson at right tackle.

Rokevious Watkins can back up at both tackles, Hutch Eckerson at right tackle, and Jeanpierre could also back up at both guard spots. …

Offensive lineman Steven Singleton (6-3, 300) is taking occasional reps at noseguard in a certain scheme, when the defense “needs a big body,” said defensive line coach Brad Lawing.

Quote of the day

“We had ‘em all come in and talk. And we all know how to act. Unfortunately, I guess, one of our team didn’t act that way so it’s embarrassing to all of us, the whole program. But we’ll live it down. It’s not going to damper our spirits.” – Spurrier on the various law enforcement officials who have spoken to his team.

Up next

The Gamecocks return to afternoon practices, starting at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. The session is closed to the public.

- Seth Emerson

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