USC Gamecocks Football

Practice report: Jerell Adams returns; D-lineman swaps positions

Senior tight end Jerell Adams and junior linebacker Jonathan Walton returned to practice Tuesday after missing time with injury and are expected to be ready against North Carolina, head coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday night on “Carolina Calls.”

“We will wait and see how they feel Thursday night, but they were running around today,” Spurrier said.

The Gamecocks play North Carolina on Thursday at 6 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

Adams missed three days due to a hamstring injury, and Walton did not practice Monday due to back stiffness. Both are expected to start this season.

Position move. South Carolina moved junior college transfer Ulric Jones, 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, from defensive tackle to offensive line on Tuesday, and he could contribute as early as Sept. 12 against Kentucky, Spurrier said on “Carolina Calls.”

“The second line is a bunch of freshmen and some of them are not quite ready to play yet,” Spurrier said. “Ulric is a big strong kid, long arms. (Offensive line coach Shawn) Elliott believes he will be able to help us next week. We may get an offensive line number on him, and he may play this week.”

Jones was considered a three-star prospect at Butler Community College last year, but he did not crack the two-deep depth chart at defensive tackle. Jones will play offensive tackle, Spurrier said.

Practice to deceive. The Gamecocks will use two people to signal in defensive plays from the sideline rather than one as they did last year, Spurrier said.

“I think we have been guilty of using the same play caller too much,” he said. “There is some evidence that people have picked up some of our play calls. We are going to use different guys to signal in.”

Proof in the pudding. First-year defensive co-coordinator Jon Hoke is eager to see how his players react in a game, he said.

“I think they have done a good job through training camp of trying to understand what we are looking for,” he said. “We’ll see how it works.”

Quotable. “This is the most important game of all of our lives right now because it’s the next one.” -- Spurrier