The University of South Carolina football team practiced for about two hours on Wednesday morning at the Bluff Road practice fields. The season is just over two weeks from commencing, as the Gamecocks will host North Carolina in the season opener on Thursday, August 29. Game time is set for 6 p.m. ET and the contest will be televised nationally on ESPN.
After Wednesday's practice, head coach Steve Spurrier confirmed that All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is expected to play against the Tar Heels in the opener. "All communication problems have been solved," said Coach Spurrier. "He's back on the team in good standing. Bruce (Ellington) is still hurt," noted the Head Ball Coach. "Bruce has a lingering hamstring that prevents him (from practicing). He hasn't done anything for a good week now."
Coach Spurrier reiterated that Connor Shaw was his starting quarterback. "(Shaw and Dylan Thompson) are ready to play. We'll try to find a way to get them both in there, but Connor Shaw is the starter. Dylan is going to play somewhere it looks like. We're still working on that two-quarterback system offense. We're thinking about it."
A key member on the defensive side of the ball remains sidelined. "Chaz (Sutton) is still out," said defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. "We just want to make sure his foot is well so it's not something that's going to be lingering all season."
Others who remain sidelined are Cedrick Cooper (elbow), Kyle Morini (elbow), James King (foot), Gerald Turner (ankle), Rory Anderson (hamstring), Mike Matulis (shoulder) and Cody Gibson (knee).
The Gamecocks have not spent much time game planning for the Tar Heels. "I looked at them a lot over the summer but haven't looked at them any in this camp because we're trying to prepare for the season," noted Ward. "But it's hard to simulate what North Carolina does because they go so fast. We just got to be ready for the pace. I think we picked up the pace in practice the last three days. We'll try to give them some idea of what the game is going to be like. Missouri was an up-tempo team, so I think they'll be very similar."
ESPN color commentator Tood Blackledge was on hand at practice Wednesday. Blackledge will work the Gamecocks' SEC opener at Georgia on Saturday, September 7, with Brad Nessler and Holly Rowe. Kick time for that contest is set for 4:30 p.m. ET.
The Gamecocks will hold their second of three scheduled "two-a-days" on Thursday, with practices scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.