Josh Kendall

Gamecocks get some good news on defensive standout

After a disappointing loss on Saturday, South Carolina at least got a dose of good news Sunday.

The Gamecocks expect junior defensive end D.J. Wonnum, last year’s team leader in sacks with six, to return to the lineup the next time they take the field, which will be on Oct. 27 against Tennessee in Williams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina, which has an open date Saturday, fell to 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC over the weekend after losing 26-23 to Texas A&M.

Wonnum hasn’t played since the first game of the season, when he suffered ligament damage in his ankle during a 49-15 win over Coastal Carolina.

The Gamecocks athletics trainers “say he’s moving really well,” head coach Will Muschamp said Sunday night. “They seem to be very pleased with how he’s coming along.”

Wonnum may not practice this week but is expected back on the practice field next Sunday when the team begins its preparations for the Volunteers.

“I think we will get him back for Tennessee,” Muschamp said.

The Gamecocks have missed Wonnum’s presence in the lineup. They are 12th in the SEC in sacks with 10.

“He’s traveled with us the last two road games. He’s a veteran guy and a calming factor for some of our young players.”

Running backs A.J. Turner (concussion) and Mon Denson (hamstring) remain questionable.

Open date schedule. Muschamp gave his players Sunday and Monday off. They will practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday then take Friday and Saturday off before beginning their regular game week schedule on Sunday evening.

Dropped passes. After watching tape from the Texas A&M game, Muschamp believes most of the Gamecocks’ five drops were a result of players trying to run before fully securing the ball. South Carolina had five dropped passes against the Aggies.

“Biggest issues I saw was some guys looking down the field,” he said. “You have to catch it first.”

Edwards struggles. Junior wide receiver Bryan Edwards has struggled with drops and fumbled against the Aggies is taking his mistakes hard, Muschamp said.

“He’s a very prideful young man and very hard on himself,” Mushcamp said. “It concerns you a little bit. Different guys handle things different ways. Bryan is really hard on himself. There is no one harder on themselves than Bryan Edwards. I’m glad he’s a Gamecock. That’s what people don’t always see — the amount of investment these guys put in, to go out there and not finish a play the way they are capable of doing is very hurtful for him.”