No. 12/15 USC (3-0, 1-0 SEC) were back at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds” Thursday afternoon as they continue preparations for Saturday’s SEC showdown at No. 17/14 Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC). Game time Saturday is set for 7:47 p.m. ET (6:47 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium) with a national television audience watching on either ESPN or ESPN 3D.
Junior linebacker Shaq Wilson, the squad’s leading tackler a year ago, is expected to play on Saturday after missing the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury. “He’s done well,” said Ellis Johnson, Assistant Head Coach – Defense. “Physically he’s fine. Like you would imagine, he’s been out awhile and a few little things will pop up here and there – a little rusty – but physically he’s fine.”
Johnson was uncertain whether he would start Wilson or Tony Straughter at the Will linebacker position. “(Wilson) deserves to start, but so does Straughter. (Wilson’s) going to play early and play a lot.”
C.C. Whitlock did not practice on Thursday while attending to a death in the family, but is expected to make the trip this weekend. “We don’t know what frame of mind he’ll be in, but hopefully he’ll be ok and ready to go.”
The Gamecock defense will have its hands full on Saturday trying to contain Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
“What everybody’s got to remember is Cam’s a young player. He’s making some really good throws. He can throw any throw that’s ever been invented. I’ve seen him throw a lot of balls that can stretch you vertically and horizontally. He can get that ball out on the quick throws or he can throw it a mile on the deep balls. He’s obviously a big time threat with both his arm and his feet.”
There will be a pep rally on Friday afternoon in the southwest corner at Williams-Brice Stadium. Fans are encouraged to attend the send-off event, which will begin at 2:30 p.m. with the team expected to depart at approximately at 3:15 p.m. In addition, the Gamecock Club will have a promotional tent with giveaways for fans in attendance while supplies last.