There’s one key South Carolina offensive player who might play defensive back this week and there’s another that definitely won’t, Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp made clear on Tuesday.
Sophomore wide receiver Shi Smith, who is third on the team in catches with 24 for 396 yards, will be ready to play cornerback in an emergency situation, Muschamp said. Smith will not take any snaps on defense at practice this week but the coaching staff has talked to him about the possibility, Muschamp said during his weekly news conference.
“He was a really good defensive back at Union (High School). He’s got good cover skills, good ball skills, ball judgment down the field. He’s tough, he can tackle, he’s on special teams for us,” Muschamp said. “So we just met with him to mentally prepare him. It’s not as much about repping, it’s about getting him to our sidelines and if we get into a jam, we need to communicate with him on the things he needs to do. He’ll be fine.”
Muschamp has said more than once that Smith has a skill set that would fit well at defensive back. South Carolina doesn’t have safeties Jamyest Williams (shoulder), Javon Charleston (foot), J.T. Ibe (knee) or Nick Harvey (concussion) available due to injury.
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However, third string quarterback Dakereon Joyner will not be considered for a position change, even a temporary one, Muschamp said when asked.
“We are committed to him at quarterback,” Muschamp said, offering no additional comment.
Freshman Jonathan Gipson and senior walk-on Jason Senn are practicing at safety this week.