The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks begin preparing for 2013 season

Several positions up for grabs as camp opens

Fans hoping to see the 2013 Gamecock football team will finally get their chance, starting this week.

South Carolina will open fall camp Friday evening as the Gamecocks search for their third consecutive 11-win season. The Gamecocks will have less than four weeks to prepare for their season opener against the North Carolina Tar Heels. USC’s first practice of camp will begin at 7:15 p.m. at the Bluff Road practice fields across the street from Williams-Brice Stadium and is open to both fans and media. The first week of practices are currently scheduled to be open to the public.
Along with practices, South Carolina will also host its annual Media Day on August 4 at 1 p.m. and Fan Appreciation Day the following week on August 11 at the Colonial Life Arena at 1 p.m. The Gamecocks are also scheduled to scrimmage twice during the fall, on August 10 and 17.

The Gamecocks come into fall camp with several holes to fill from last year’s squad. South Carolina has a battle for the starting running back spot between Mike Davis, last year’s breakout freshman in the backfield, and Brandon Wilds, who filled in capably after Marcus Lattimore went down with a season-ending injury in 2011. USC also has Shon Carson, who has seen limited playing time due to injuries as a candidate for reps at tailback. The Gamecocks also signed David Williams, a Philadelphia native who may make a push for playing time.

The majority of the wide receiving corps returns from last year, including team-leading receiver, Bruce Ellington. Speedsters Nick Jones and Damiere Byrd are expected to be more involved in the offense, while Shamier Jeffrey and Kwinton Smith will look to make their mark in the rotation.
The Gamecocks lost tight end Justice Cunningham to the NFL, but Rory Anderson and Jerell Adams will look to fill that void. Receiver and punt returner Ace Sanders is gone, but Ellington and Victor Hampton are likely to take over in the return game.

At quarterback, returning starter Connor Shaw will be back after missing all of spring camp due to an ankle surgery. Dylan Thompson, who led the Gamecocks to a win over Clemson and tossed the game-winning touchdown against Michigan last season, is also expected to see plenty of playing time this year.

The Gamecocks lost five linebackers to graduation and will likely be playing three new starters at the position. DeVonte Holloman is now with the Dallas Cowboys and Shaq Wilson is a member of USC’s coaching staff as a graduate assistant. Junior Sharrod Golightly is the front-runner for the “spur” position, while sophomores Cedrick Cooper and Kaiwan Lewis enter camp as the starters at the other linebacker spots.

USC enters camp ranked in the top ten of most preseason publications and is one of the favorites to capture the SEC Eastern division crown. South Carolina only played for the SEC title once, in 2010. USC has won 22 of its last 26 games and is looking to extend its streak of five consecutive bowl appearances. The Gamecocks also own a three game winning streak against division rival Georgia and a four game streak over Clemson.


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