Notebook: Botkin knows the Hogs

Ellington hopes for hoops transition after Clemson game

jkendall@thestate.comNovember 7, 2012 

New linebackers coach Kirk Botkin works with players during the first USC spring football practice of 2012.

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — kkfoster@thestate.com

  • GAMECOCKS VS. RAZORBACKS WHO: USC (7-2, 5-2 SEC) vs. Arkansas (4-5, 2-3) WHEN: Saturday, noon WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium TV: CBS RADIO: WNKT-FM 107.5 SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 91/XM 91 LINE: USC by 14

First-year linebackers coach Kirk Botkin will see a lot of familiar faces on the opposite sidelines Saturday when the Gamecocks take on Arkansas.

Botkin played for the Razorbacks before a four-year career in the NFL and coached there for two seasons (2008 and 2009) under Bobby Petrino. After being dismissed by Petrino, Botkin spent two years as a high school assistant coach in Texas before being hired at South Carolina.

Still, he said, Saturday will be “just another game.”

And if Petrino were still the Hogs’ coach?

“No, it’s still a game,” he said.

Steve Spurrier believes Botkin, he said.

“Every game is a big game with Kirk and all of us,” Spurrier said. “I guess I can only relate it to when I coach against Florida. It’s always a big game, but I don’t know how much extra you want to beat somebody because you want to beat everybody almost the same every week.”

Botkin has done “an excellent job,” with the Gamecocks, Spurrier said.

“The linebackers have played well,” Spurrier said. “Kirk is an excellent recruiter; we are fired up he’s with us.”

Botkin is surprised Arkansas, which began the season with expectations among the highest in the school’s history, has struggled this year, he said.

“I know they do a really good job coaching and they have some really good football players,” he said. “In this league, week in and week out, anybody can beat anybody. You have to line up and play.”

Hoping to hold him out

Brandon Wilds is practicing this week and will dress out Saturday, but the Gamecocks plan to redshirt him this season if they can, running backs coach Everette Sands said Wednesday.

Wilds has missed the first nine games because of a severely sprained ankle. Kenny Miles will start against the Razorbacks and be backed up by Mike Davis.

“If those other two guys stay healthy, we’ll redshirt him,” Sands said.

Shaw healthy

Junior quarterback Connor Shaw, who was “gimping around” Monday because of a foot injury, returned to form Tuesday, Spurrier said.

“He was much better. He was running around close to full speed,” Spurrier said. “Our trainers say he should be fine by Saturday. He should be 100 percent.”

Transitioning to hoops

Wide receiver Bruce Ellington hopes he can transition to the basketball team after the Clemson game, the same way he did last year. USC plays the Tigers on Nov. 24.

He still needs to discuss the time frame with coach Frank Martin, who last month said Ellington would not practice with or join the team until January, after the football team’s bowl game.

“I heard him say that, but we haven’t talked about it yet,” Ellington said. “Hopefully, after Clemson. If not, I’ll just wait until after everything is over.”

Ellington leads the team with 366 receiving yards. He has 23 receptions, three of them for touchdowns. He averaged 11 points per game last year for the basketball team. He said he hasn’t put any thought yet into whether or not he’ll play both sports next year.

“I’m just taking it one sport at at time,” Ellington said.

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