So, we’re less than 10 days out from the start of the season and the injuries are beginning to pile up for South Carolina.
Injuries are a part of any preseason camp and there’s nothing that any coach can really do to limit them. You don’t hit enough, then you’re soft and not ready for the season. You hit too much and, well, there are injuries.
I wasn’t that concerned about Bruce Ellington’s hamstring injury a week ago, but now, it’s looking more and more likely that the former Berkeley High School star might miss the Gamecocks opener against North Carolina on Aug. 29.
He missed practice again on Tuesday. If he doesn’t return by Thursday this week, then I doubt he’ll play.
I saw Bruce jogging lightly and catching passes following the scrimmage on Saturday. He said he hoped to be back this week.
Well time is running out.
The same goes for linebacker Cedric Cooper, who dislocated his elbow at the beginning of camp. He had a soft cast on his arm at Tuesday’s practice. If he’s not back by Friday then Marcquis Roberts will start at will linebacker against UNC.
If Cooper comes back and he’s starting then I think that tells a lot about what the coaching staff thinks of Cooper and maybe even Roberts.
There was a little bit of good news on the injury front as defensive end Chaz Sutton returned to practice Tuesday morning.
He’d been out more than a week with a sprained foot. Remember he was second on the team a year ago with five sacks.
Others who remain sidelined include Rory Anderson (hamstring), Kyle Morini (elbow), James King (foot), Gerald Turner (ankle), Mike Matulis (shoulder), Cody Gibson (knee), Devin Washington (concussion), Kadetrix Marcus (knee), Jerell Adams (ankle) and Carlton Heard (hamstring).
Zandi making moves
After Saturday’s lackluster performance from the offensive line in the scrimmage, assistant coach Shawn Elliott could be considering making a move at left tackle.
That move comes in the form of redshirt freshman Mason Zandi,the biggest dude — at least height-wise — on the team.
Zandi has been backing up both the right and left tackle spots. Right tackle Brandon Shell, appears to have nailed down his starting job, but Corey Robinson is getting some heat from Zandi. In some recent practices, the 6-9, 295-pound former Irmo High School product has gotten some work with the starters.
“I feel like every day I’ve been in camp I’m competing for a starting job,” Zandi said.
In general, Elliott has been pleased with the offensive line’s work as a whole during preseason camp.
But after Saturday’s scrimmage, USC head coach Steve Spurrier called the offensive line “soft.”
“We were pitiful on Saturday,” Elliott said. “Preseason camp is normally a roller-coaster ride. Some days we’re really good and some days we’re really bad. We’ve had some peaks and valleys. This year is no different. It’s been a good camp. We didn’t play well on Saturday. I wasn’t discouraged by the scrimmage. We came out and got better the next practice.
“When the head coach says something I listen. I rely that to my guys. When you’re boss tells you you’re bad, does it get to you? Of course it does. At that point on that day certainly I agreed.”