The Daily Gamecock

Spurrier relying on first-team players against North Carolina

Wide receiver Bruce Ellington hopeful to play against Tarheels

If Steve Spurrier had it his way, the first-team players would play the entire game when South Carolina opens up its season Thursday against North Carolina.

“We don’t talk too much about the depth around here,” Spurrier said at his first weekly press conference of the season. “If they have to play though, they’ll go in there and play. Hopefully the first line of guys can go the distance. That’s what we are planning on.”

Both Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson could see the field against the Tar Heels, Spurrier said. He mentioned this year’s Outback Bowl win against Michigan, where both Shaw and Thompson played well, but he did say he hopes Shaw plays “extremely well.”

But Spurrier said he’ll have to wait and see what happens during the game.

“We are just coming to the ballpark on Thursday night with all of our players ready to play,” Spurrier said. “Whatever it takes to win the game. We have to use all of them, simple as that. If Connor gets nicked up or gets the wind knocked out of him, Dylan will be ready to go play.”

Spurrier expressed concern about the quarterbacks’ and receivers’ performance during practice the last few days.

“I wish we were throwing better,” Spurrier said. “I wish our quarterbacks and receivers were hitting and catching better. We’ll keep working on it up to game time and see if we can’t pitch around a little bit better. Other than that, everything is going about according to schedule.”

Hurry up

A lot of the talk surrounding the UNC offense has to do with the speed at which they play. Spurrier compared them to Clemson’s offense and said that the Gamecocks might try a little bit of a hurry-up of their own, although not as consistently.

“We go quickly occasionally, and then occasionally, we stand up there and look around for 15 or 20 seconds,” Spurrier said.

Spurrier said the best way to combat the hurry-up offense is to stop them and force a punt or stay on the field and limit the amount of times the opponent can run the hurry-up offense.

Spurrier also touted versatility in the defense, including different alignments and assignments.

“You have to change it up,” Spurrier said. “It’s a challenge for the defensive guys. Those lineman need to get lined up and ready for it. They can’t be standing around. You have to practice against it, and hopefully, we have enough to be ready for it.”

Injury Report

Wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who has been hampered by a hamstring injury, was able to “run around a little bit” Saturday at practice, according to Spurrier, and is hopeful to play against the Tar Heels.

However, tight end Rory “Busta” Anderson is still hobbled, also because of a hamstring injury, and is doubtful to play Thursday. Tight end Jerell Adams, who was dealing with an ankle injury, should be ready to go against UNC.

Linebacker Cedrick Cooper (elbow injury) is also doubtful to play against the Tar Heels