Fresh legs and key returners will help the Gamecock football team prepare for its matchup versus East Carolina on Saturday.
Junior running back Kevin Harris and senior defensive back R.J. Roderick will return to the lineup this week, giving the Gamecocks more depth and pieces they can utilize.
Harris, who led the SEC in yards per game last year, returns to a running-back room that rushed for a net total of 254 yards in last Saturday’s win against Eastern Illinois. Harris’s return will split the reps even more. When asked if the game plan has changed for Saturday, offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said no.
“It doesn’t really change much. Soon as we can get back to full strength, we’ll be a lot better off getting all those guys out there, but it really won’t change the plan dramatically,” Satterfield said.
The Gamecocks understand the importance of having a deep depth chart at key positions.
“The focus is right now is to get as many guys as we can, get as many fresh legs to cover bodies as we can,” defensive coordinator Clayton White said. “We are going to continue to keep guys fresh, this road gets a little thicker, a little bit, so I want to make sure we got fresh legs.”
South Carolina will look to carry over a strong defensive performance from last week into this week's game. The Gamecocks defense held EIU to 0-9 on third downs. They will need to keep this momentum up if they want to stop a very pass-reliant ECU offense.
“Our guys understand how important it is on third down. Sometimes, those are clutch moments that your guys got to be really locked in,” White said. “I think that’s very important that our guys have that mindset of get off the field, get the offense back on the field.”
As far as the quarterback position is concerned, the team has not announced who will start and is not expected to until game day. Graduate student Zeb Noland started in Saturday's win, but sophomore Luke Doty is returning from injury and nearing 100% reps at practice, according to Satterfield. However, that is no guarantee he will be out there Saturday, despite optimism in his play from Satterfield.
“He was moving around well today, throwing the ball well. This week we’ve really pushed him,” Satterfield said.
No matter who is taking the snaps on Saturday, the coaching staff will stick to the plan and hope to see improvement all around so that the team is better prepared for what is to come.
“We are going to keep it rolling the way it is right now," White said. "I just know you got to have bodies ready, the way this thing is set up in the SEC. Right now we are just going to keep grinding guys, and keep — it’s all about development.”