Brothers Dixon Jr., Dixon set to start on defensive line, Spurrier banner unveiled on side of Williams-Brice
It’s officially game week in Columbia.
Head coach Steve Spurrier’s first weekly press conference of the season served as an unofficial ribbon-cutting to open the ninth-ranked Gamecocks’ preparation for Thursday’s season opener against No. 20/21 Texas A&M. And with three days before kick-off, things are starting to fall into place.
After a number of offseason position battles around the South Carolina team, the official depth chart for the season opener was unveiled Sunday.
Senior Dylan Thompson has had the starting quarterback position secured since Connor Shaw threw his last pass in January’s Capital One Bowl victory, but throughout the spring and summer, the second-string QB role has been a point of uncertainty.
With redshirt sophomore Perry Orth and redshirt freshman Connor Mitch jostling for the distinction of backup QB, it doesn’t look as though Spurrier will make a decision until he absolutely has to.
“We’re still coaching them up every day out there,” he said. “We’re still hoping one of them will step forward, and we can say, ‘Hey, you’re going in second if something happens.’”
According to Spurrier, until that moment when one of the two quarterbacks wins over the coaching staff the depth chart will still read Perry Orth or Connor Mitch.
On the other side of the ball, South Carolina’s defensive line will be a family affair. Half brothers Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Jr. have both earned starting positions on the defensive line.
Dixon Jr., a redshirt junior and the older of the two brothers, will start at defensive tackle alongside redshirt senior J.T. Surratt. The younger Dixon, a redshirt sophomore, will play defensive end opposite classmate Darius English.
“I don’t know if that’s ever happened here before,” Spurrier said. “I don’t think I’ve every had two brothers starting at defensive line the way we do now.”
Another noteworthy point on the defensive line depth chart is that of true freshman Abu Lamin’s second-string role. The new tackle edges out third-stringers Deon Green, a redshirt sophomore, and sophomore Kelsey Griffin for the backup role.
Williams-Brice Stadium Updates
For anyone driving past South Carolina’s football stadium this weekend, it was hard to miss the new 35-by-80 foot banner being draped down the west side of Williams-Brice.
The sign is one of several improvements that has been made to the exterior of the venue in preparation for Thursday’s clash with the Aggies.
“We’re trying to get our place amongst the best in the country, trying to beautify it and so forth,” Spurrier said. “We had to put the school record holders to get the names up there. We don’t have many championships to brag about, so we’ve got a lot of super individual players and their records up on the wall. Outside we’re trying to make it a little more attractive also.”
Spurrier followed by saying while the decorations around the stadium are nice, he can’t spend too much time worrying about them as he tries to get his team prepared for what happens inside.
He also added that the decision to raise the banner was that of Athletics Director Ray Tanner, and he wouldn’t be held responsible if the team starts to lose and fans begin “throwing eggs” at the sign.
After practicing Sunday evening following Spurrier’s session with the media, the Gamecocks will continue their game week preparation with practice at 4:15 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and a 3:45 p.m. practice Wednesday to iron out the final game plan for Thursday’s main event.