It should be a quiet day around South Carolina football as the Gamecocks hole up the day before taking on North Carolina in Williams-Brice Stadium. The football team will hold an afternoon walk-through, but that will be closed to the media and public, and the only expected media appearances for Gamecocks will come later this morning when head coach Steve Spurrier appears on the first SEC teleconference of the season.
We’ll have live updates for you from that, but until then, let’s take a look at what’s going on in the rest of the SEC.
In Auburn, head coach Gus Malzahn is trying to temper the excitement around new starting quarterback Nick Marshall. In most parts of the football-playing world, a fan base would be terrified about starting a freshman at quarterback who A. did not participate in spring practice and B. was a defensive back at a rival school before getting kicked off the team. In the SEC, the coach has to tell the fans not to expect a national championship right away. What a world, huh?
Speaking of quarterbacks, Georgia’s Aaron Murray just started wearing contacts this week. He doesn’t expect to wear them during games until he becomes more accustomed to their feel, he said. Insert interception jokes here.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema delivered the worst news of the preseason when he said he’s going mostly dark in Twitter during the season. Bielema’s relaxed approach to the social media site, which included often jabbing back at fans who teased him, was one of the best parts of the offseason. Bielema (@bretbielema) did tell folks they should follow his wife Jen (@jenbielema) if they wanted to keep up with the news about the family’s dog.
Johnny Manziel is still working with the first-team offense and being treated very much like the starter at Texas A&M.
Our recruiting fans know that Woodruff, S.C., wide receiver Blake Bone picked Kentucky over the Gamecocks this week. It added to a historic haul the Wildcats are putting together in Lexington, and it was helped by another commitment Kentucky took from South Carolina, quarterback Drew Barker. Barker’s commitment has helped the Wildcats haul in seven more four-star recruits, a record at Kentucky.
“What happens now is schools want to get the quarterback in early," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Woody Wommack told Kentucky.com. "You get him on board, point to him and tell the receivers, 'Look, this is the guy you're going to be playing with.' And a guy like Barker, a lot of the other recruits like him. He's a nice kid. He can connect well with anyone. He's relevant nationally. The guys see him and say, 'Hey, I want to play with him at the next level.' He can reach out to them at camps. He's at every camp, every event trying to get guys on board."
We’ve got a ton of stuff coming the next two days, including a feature on Jadeveon Clowney from GoGamecocks The Magazine that I think everyone will really enjoy so check back often between now and Thursday afternoon. (I know I don’t have to tell you to be here Thursday night and Friday morning for all our game coverage.)