Practice report: Mike Davis will start vs. UNC

dcloninger@thestate.comAugust 20, 2013 

Tailback Mike Davis breaks free for a touchdown during the 2013 Garnet & Black Game at Williams-Brice Stadium.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

It’s getting to be about that time. Starters will be named, even though they may not be much different from the predictions on the preseason depth chart.

Everette Sands certainly hasn’t waited.

“We’ll see all three, but right now, Mike (Davis) is a little bit ahead,” No. 6 South Carolina’s running backs coach said on Tuesday. “He’s going to be the starter in the first one. One thing those guys know is, they’re going to play.”

Davis, the sophomore who is the Gamecocks’ leading returning rusher outside of quarterback Connor Shaw, will get the first carry on Aug. 29 against North Carolina. Sands usually prefers to play three backs during a game, with the top two getting a combined 90 percent of the carries, so Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson will also see time against the Tar Heels.

But it will be Davis who starts and receives the majority of the carries, as long as nothing major happens over the next nine days.

“He made a few more plays in the scrimmage situations,” Sands said. “They definitely can all get it done.”

Davis rushed 52 times for 289 yards and two touchdowns last season, playing in 12 of USC’s 13 games. He had the most yards per carry (5.3) of any tailback on the roster.

Wilds didn’t play last year after redshirting, but had three 100-yard games in five tries in 2011. Thought to be a co-starter with Davis, Wilds may still be viewed as that once the season progresses.

Carson has shown great ability in camp and is hoping this is the year he stays healthy. The redshirt sophomore has only played in three career games due to a knee and a wrist injury over his first two seasons, accumulating three carries for 9 yards and two catches for 1 yard.

Working on a No. 6

Wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. didn’t speak with the media on Tuesday, as he was working with newly converted wideout Pharoh Cooper well after practice ended.

He hasn’t decided on his rotation of six top receivers, though, according to junior Damiere Byrd.

“Right now, we’re still filtering in,” Byrd said. “Everybody’s going in all different types of places, so we’re not totally sure yet.”

Byrd is one of the Gamecocks’ top three returning receivers, with Bruce Ellington and Nick Jones. USC may try to employ the “tall” stretch-the-field receiver, but the Gamecocks won 11 games last year without that kind of threat.

Byrd thinks he’s one of the top six.

“I feel like I am, but coming out of camp, nobody’s too sure right now,” he said. “Spots are open. I guess we’ll figure that out in a couple of days.”

Injury report

Players who did not practice or wore yellow jerseys were: Devin Washington (concussion), Jerell Adams (twisted left ankle), Carlton Heard (hamstring), Kadetrix Marcus (left knee sprain), Chaz Sutton (sprained foot), James King (foot), Gerald Turner (ankle), Kyle Morini (dislocated left elbow), Bruce Ellington (hamstring), Cedrick Cooper (dislocated left elbow), Rory “Busta” Anderson (hamstring), Mike Matulis (shoulder) and Cody Gibson (sprained right knee).

Sutton did some light work while wearing yellow, and Adams was without the walking boot he wore on Monday. Mason Zandi fully practiced.

Next up

The Gamecocks will practice at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday. It is closed to the public.

Follow on Twitter at @DCTheState

Go Gamecocks is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service