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Practice report: Gurley makes WR shift

Tori Gurley
Tori Gurley

The most popular questions among USC fans last year were: When is Steve Spurrier going to use Stephon Gilmore in the WildCock formation, and why can't the Gamecocks get receivers Tori Gurley and Alshon Jeffery on the field at the same time?

Well, Spurrier unveiled the WildCock with Gilmore against Clemson. Now the USC coach is getting Gurley and Jeffery together.

Gurley said following Thursday's practice he has shifted to slot receiver, giving the Gamecocks what could be one of the tallest receiving rotations in the country. Joining Gurley (6-foot-5) and Jeffery (6-4) is 6-4 junior Jason Barnes.

The three combined for 103 catches and 1,490 receiving yards in 2009 - with Jeffery contributing more than half of the yardage.

"We're just going to find a matchup that we like and just go with it, and hopefully it'll lead us to wins," Gurley said.

Gurley's responsibilities will change in the slot, which features more crossing routes and blocking matchups with linebackers. But Gurley believes the move will benefit him and Jeffery, who was held out of Thursday's practice after missing class.

"It's going to give us the opportunity to both be successful," Gurley said. "If teams want to double him, that's going to leave me one-on-one. Or if they want to double the slot, that's going to live him one-on-one. Or it's just going to open up other things."

Touch football. Fullback Pat DiMarco had 24 touches last fall - more than double his total on offense his first two seasons. Still, Spurrier did not think that was enough.

So DiMarco also will play tight end, and Spurrier said the Gamecocks could employ more two-tight end sets.

"He looked pretty good in there," Spurrier said. "This will give him a chance to get on the field more."

DiMarco, who lined up wide a couple times Thursday, is excited about the move but said he needs to work on recognizing coverages.

"People tell me I have decent hands and I'm a good blocker," he said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to put two and two together and work them both at tight end."

Back, for now. Guard Terrence Campbell started the first two games last year before sustaining a neck stinger that sidelined him the rest of the season. But after months of rehab, Campbell was back Thursday with a neck roll and some pent-up energy.

"He's still out here, pushing and shoving, falling down," Spurrier said. "He's full of enthusiasm. We'll see how long he'll last. If he gets another stinger, that may be it for him. ... He wants to play. We'll see how it goes."

Extra points. Spurrier said junior tailback Brian Maddox was the strongest player pound-for-pound in the recent weight room testing at the conclusion of winter workouts. ... USC plans to request a medical hardship waiver for cornerback Addison Williams that would allow him to remain on scholarship his senior year and serve as a student assistant. ... Spurrier on new assistant Shawn Elliott: "He's a typical O-line coach. He gets in there with 'em. He's intense."

Post-practice comments from Spurrier, others

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