Everyone wants to know when linebacker Skai Moore and safety Chaz Elder are going to be ready to return to the field – and nobody can say, not Moore, not Elder and not any coach or trainer.
The pair, two of the most promising young players on South Carolina’s defense, suffered concussions against Arkansas. Their availability for Saturday’s Tennessee game is unknown, but that didn’t stop a half dozen people (full disclosure: me included) from asking them if they thought they would be able to play against the Vols. The truth is, they just don’t know. Both players, like every player who has a concussion these days is supposed to do, undergo concussion testing every day after the injury, and only after they reach the required threshold can they play.
That could mean two days or six days. It’s clear from the way the Gamecocks coach talk that Moore and Elder are starters of the future at their positions. Whether that future is this week, next week or next year depends on their development and most importantly, their health.
Steve Spurrier speaks as glowingly about Moore as about any young defensive player on the team, and it’s clear secondary coach Grady Brown and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward think Elder has turned a corner, although Brown stopped short of calling him the starter at free safety.
“I will tell you this, whenever Chaz Elder is healthy I expect him to be playing,” Brown said.
With all we know about concussions and the future brain health of football players, it’s imperative that Elder and Moore take care of themselves before they worry about taking care of the Vols.
Around the SEC:
In what is a sneaky-good SEC matchup this weekend, Texas A&M and Auburn will play. Gus Malzahn, who was Cam Newton’s coordinator with the Tigers, sees similarities between Newton and Aggies star quarterback Johnny Manziel. That’s high praise from an Auburn man.
“I would say probably those two are probably two of the best that ever played the game in college football,” Malzahn told AL.com. “We only got to see Cam Newton for one year, but this guy, he’s in the same element. They’re different but they’re still some of the best to ever play.”
Here’s an update on Missouri quarterback James Franklin. The most interesting part is the fact that Tigers coach Gary Pinkel thinks the play that injured Franklin should have been flagged.
"We thought, the second guy in, the ball was clearly away" before he hit Franklin, Pinkel said. "We turned that in. There's a process we go through. Plus, I don't want to get a $10,000 fine."