Steve Spurrier is hopeful he’s keeping opponents guessing this preseason.
The Gamecocks’ eighth-year coach has preached since the end of last season that his squad now has a run-first offense.
“That’s what we want everybody to think that we’re going to be a big running team,” Spurrier said Monday after South Carolina finished its fourth practice of fall camp. “And then we may be one.”
Coaches spend a lot of time analyzing what their opponents say during the preseason, Spurrier indicated.
“They are saying, ‘Spurrier thinks we believe they are going to be a running team, and they are going to come out and try to throw the first game,’ ” he said. “So we’re probably using reverse psychology that they think we’re thinking that they think that we think they’re not going to do that. And then you try to do the opposite, whatever that is.”
Spurrier also wants to keep his opponents in the dark when it comes to sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The Gamecocks will play Clowney at end, defensive tackle and maybe even at middle linebacker at times this year, Spurrier said.
“Yeah, we are going to teach him some middle linebacker,” Spurrier said. “There are all kinds of things you can do as long as you’ve got 11 out there.”
Clowney lined up at defensive tackle during Tuesday’s practice but has yet to be spotted in a linebacker drill.
“We are going to move him all over the place,” Spurrier said. “I think our opponents know that. We have to put him somewhere he is hopefully one-on-one with somebody. It’s a pass rush almost now as everybody knows. Nobody lines up and runs it like we do. We are the last of the runners almost. It’s a passing game.”
Starting cornerback Akeem Auguste, who missed 12 games last year due to a foot injury, missed the last half of Tuesday’s practice after aggravating a groin injury. Auguste walked off the field with no assistance and didn’t appear to be in any pain.
“I am glad it wasn’t his foot,” Spurrier said. “Hopefully, he’ll be OK.”
Freshman cornerback Rico McWilliams will have season-ending ligament repair surgery, Spurrier confirmed Tuesday. McWilliams injured his left knee on Saturday night.
READY TO GO
Freshman spur Jordan Diggs will be thrust into action early this year, and he’s more than ready, he said. Thanks to the three-game suspension of Sharrod Golightly, Diggs will begin the season as the only backup for starting spur DeVonte Holloman.
“I am excited about the opportunity,” said Diggs, a four-star prospect from Fort Myers, Fla. “I am working my hardest, going out learning my plays and trying to get better at something every day. I feel real good out there. I feel real comfortable. The biggest thing is just getting more and more reps.”
... Andrew Clifford and Seth Strickland are competing for the third-string quarterback position, Spurrier said.
Strickland and long-snapper Walker Inabinet, both seniors, have been placed on scholarship.
The Gamecocks will practice at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The workout is open to the public.