Bowl report: Spurrier touts player behavior

Shon Carson ready for first game action of the season

jkendall@thestate.comDecember 29, 2012 

  • Outback Bowl WHO: USC (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4) WHEN: 1 p.m., Jan. 1 WHERE: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. TV: ESPN RADIO: WNKT-FM 107.5 LINE: South Carolina by 6

— It’s been a quiet week for South Carolina off the practice field, which is what Steve Spurrier expected from this team, he said Saturday.

“We have a good bunch of guys now,” Spurrier said. “We don’t have as many goofy-type guys as we had in the past. I don’t know why particularly. Maybe we’ve just recruited some smarter guys.”

Spurrier and his assistant coaches don’t have concerns about player behavior like they have had on previous bowl trips, he said.

“We aren’t worried about a guy coming in late from drinking too much or something like that,” he said. “We’re just not worried about it. Hope it doesn’t happen. I know guys are going to have a few beers on bowl week, but it seems like there is nobody in particular we are worried about getting trouble the way some of these other schools we’ve been reading about. That’s a little different. We haven’t always had that.”

Carson’s role

Freshman running back Shon Carson will play for the first time this season on Tuesday. How much hasn’t been decided, running backs coach Everette Sands said.

“He does bring a little excitement, and he’s a little hungrier than everybody else because he hasn’t been out here for two years,” Sands said.

Carson was South Carolina’s No. 2 tailback headed into last season but suffered a torn ACL in the second game. During this year’s preseason, he suffered a dislocated wrist that required two surgeries. Rather than apply for a sixth year of eligibility at the end of his career, Carson decided to play in this year’s bowl game.

Carson, who will wear a brace on his wrist, will be the third-team running back behind starter Kenny Miles and backup Mike Davis, Sand said.

Robinson returning kicks?

Michigan coach Brady Hoke hinted Saturday he might use dynamic quarterback Denard Robinson for kick returns, and that would be fine with South Carolina special teams coordinator Joe Robinson.

“I think No. 26 and No. 10 are the two best I have seen this season, so if they want to take them out and put Denard in, it’s just going to be another great player back there as far as I am concerned,” Robinson said. “All their returners I think are great players.”

Punt returner Jeremy Gallon (No. 10) and kickoff returner Dennis Norfleet (No. 26) must be more impressive in person than they are on the statistics sheet. Gallon averaging 5.5 yards per punt return, and Norfleet is averaging 23.4 yards per return (No. 49 in the nation).

Dual citizenship

While South Carolina spent its fourth day in Florida on Saturday, the Wolverines were on Day seven of their stay. Michigan traveled to the Tampa area on Dec. 23 and celebrated Christmas in Florida.

“We got acclimated a little bit to the area,” Hoke said. “Obvioulsy in Ann Arbor, Michigan, right now it’s not quite what it is down here in Tampa.”

Spurrier joked about the Michigan weather during his news conference Saturday, asking members of the media from Michigan how the weather was back home with a chuckle. The temperature in Ann Arbor isn’t expected to rise about 34 degrees for the next 10 days.

Extra points

... Nick Jones will wear No. 5, and Damiere Byrd will wear No. 10 in Tuesday’s game.

... D.J. Swearinger will play exclusively at safety rather than alternating at safety and cornerback as he did in some games this year, he said.

... Freshman wide receiver Shaq Roland has had “some pretty good practices,” Spurrier said. “He may play a little bit,” Spurrier said.

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Saturday practice

Steve Spurrier

Shawn Elliott

Everette Sands

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