The addition of former graduate assistant turned quarterback, Zeb Noland, to the active roster last week was still the talk of the town during South Carolina Head Football Coach Shane Beamer's weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Beamer and several players spoke to the media discussing Noland, week one prep and injury issues.
In his opening remarks, Beamer said that his team is treating this week like a game week schedule so it can work out kinks before next week's game against Eastern Illinois.
A starter for the quarterback position has still not been named, though Beamer plans on naming someone next week.
Noland, the team's newest addition, joined the team as a graduate assistant in June but recently converted into a quarterback following sophomore quarterback Luke Doty’s foot injury.
Beamer said Offensive Coordinator Marcus Satterfield brought the idea up of Noland playing in late June. Noland is able to play because he has an extra year of eligibility.
Noland played quarterback at Iowa State in 2017 and 2018 before transferring to North Dakota State University in 2019 where he would play through the FCS spring season this year.
During his time at Iowa State he threw for over 1,000 yards. At North Dakota State University, Noland backed up No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick Trey Lance.
Noland said he really enjoyed the process of putting the pads back on and his team has welcomed him with open arms.
Beamer gave Noland high praise for his knowledge and experience of the game saying, “He’s got such an easy demeanor about him. He’s very cool and collected."
Beamer is optimistic about star-running back Kevin Harris’s status for the game.
Harris has been recovering from a minor back surgery during the summer, causing him to be unable to fully practice with the team. Despite this, Beamer confirmed that Harris’ will still play for the Gamecocks this fall saying, "We know he’s going to be carrying the football for us a lot this year and a lot starting in September.”
Beamer said many new faces will be playing at the beginning of the season because the team needs to fill holes left from lingering training injuries.
The two running backs that fall behind Kevin Harris in the depth chart, redshirt freshman Marshawn Lloyd and true freshman Juju McDowell, spoke to the media together Tuesday.
Lloyd, who tore his ACL in 2020, confirmed that he is ready to play. Lloyd said he's playing as he has before his injury, without boundaries.
"I feel like right now, I'm where I was before I got hurt," Lloyd said. "Mentally, it is a struggle coming from an ACL injury but as far as now, I'm running like I could before."
McDowell said it has been a blessing to have all of the experience around him and has learned quickly in such a deep running back room.
"Honestly, I feel like we have the best running back room in the country, so I'm taking it day by day and doing as much as I can for the team," McDowell said.
Coach Beamer emphasized McDowell's role in the game plan and said McDowell will play a lot from a capacity standpoint.
Sophomore cornerback Cam Smith is still out but has the potential to play, Beamer said.
The Gamecocks will start the season by taking on the Eastern Illinois Panthers next Saturday, Sept. 4, at 7:30 p.m.