The No. 12/10 South Carolina Gamecocks returned to the Bluff Road practice fields Thursday afternoon. The Gamecocks (3-0, 1-0 SEC) are preparing for Saturday’s SEC Eastern Division matchup with the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-0, 1-0 SEC). Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Following Thursday’s practice, assistant head coach – defense, Ellis Johnson met with the media.
“We were definitely out of routine (this week due to the rain),” said Johnson. “We didn’t practice yesterday much. I think we got about 30 minutes in then the storm came. I was a little concerned. We went a little longer today and caught up on it, so I think we’re ok.”
Vanderbilt will present it’s own set of problems under new head coach James Franklin. “They’ve been more of a triple-option team over the past couple of years with some other things mixed in,” noted Johnson. “They’re more of a pro style attack now. Not as much of the options, but they still have that. Smith can really run it because he’s done it for three years. He’s very capable of hurting you on that. They do still have the option element.”
Johnson noted that senior cornerback Akeem Auguste (foot) would not play this week. Freshman defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (concussion) returned and had a good week of practice and is healthy. Brison Williams has the cast off of his broken arm, but still cannot participate in any contact drills.
The Gamecocks have faced nearly every type of offense early in the season. “We’ve seen everything under the sun for the most part,” said Johnson. “Really, you see that in college football quite a bit. (Vanderbilt’s) option is not anything like Navy’s. Playing three really good football teams offensively and having all be very different has certainly challenged our players mentally. We’ll have to see if it helps our development.”
USC Assitant Heaad Coach, Ellis Johnson: AUDIO: Ellis Johnson