Practice report: Quarles, Elder on the mend

GoGamecocks staff reportsOctober 22, 2013 

South Carolina safety Chaz Elder

DWAYNE MCLEMORE — dmclemore@thestate.com

Defensive line coach Deke Adams is hopeful junior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (knee) will be able to return to the starting lineup for Saturday's game.

"He moved around a lot better today than he did yesterday so we are optimistic," Adams said after Tuesday's practice. "Hopefully, the rest of the week will go well and we’ll get him back."

Phillip Dukes will start in Quarles' place if he can't play, Adams said.

Quarles, who had four tackles and a sack Saturday and leads the team with five sacks, has been playing well, Adams said.

"A lot of production this past week," Adams said. "It was really good to see him play well. He played hard. I think he'll be fine. I know he's in the training room all day trying to get back."

Elder eyes return

Safety Chaz Elder still is waiting for the team's training staff to clear him after a concussion suffered against Arkansas, and he thinks that will come on Wednesday.

"In college, they take concussions seriously," said Elder, a redshirt freshman.

Elder said he expects to return to practice Wednesday and be ready Saturday.

When safety Kadetrix Marcus was ejected against Tennessee for a helmet-to-helmet hit, redshirt freshman Chris Moody saw the most significant snaps of his career. Moody finished with three tackles.

Secondary coach Grady Brown said Moody did OK despite limited reps in practice last week.

"It's a good starting point for Chris Moody, a good something to build on," Brown said.

Elder said Moody played well, and he could see his teammate with more playing time against Missouri. Still, Elder said he feels good and is itching to return to the field himself.

"The last game it was killing me not to be out there to help make plays," Elder said. "This game, any chance I get I'm going to make a play."

News and notes

-- Quarterback Connor Shaw (sprained knee) was not in pads but not in a yellow injured jersey either. It was not known how much he practiced, if at all. Steve Spurrier earlier in the day said Shaw might be able to do some running later in the week and could be available in a backup role Saturday. Dylan Thompson will start.

-- Linebackers coach Kirk Botkin said he sees improvement in the linebackers and spurs each week. "We've gotten better week by week by week. The young guys are understanding the defense more. At times we look dang good and at times we don't. It's still consistency with these young backers."

-- The main linebacker rotation remains T.J. Holloman and Kaiwan Lewis at the middle spot, with Jonathan Walton contributing some there. Marcquis Roberts and Skai Moore are rotating at weakside. Cedrick Cooper is still battling to be more of a part of that linebacker rotation, Botkin said. "You've got to earn your job out here at practice and be more consistent, and he'll get on the field," Botkin said of Cooper.

-- Kaiwan Lewis said the team is aware that beating Missouri is key to keeping the team's hopes alive for a trip to Atlanta and the SEC championship game. "We're ready to get after Missouri. We know the meaning of the game. If we beat them, the SEC East is wide open between us and Missouri."

-- Other players who did not practice or wore yellow jerseys were: Ronald Patrick (ankle), Gerald Dixon Jr. (ankle), Brandon Wilds (dislocated elbow), Cody Waldrop (ankle), Devin Washington (concussion) and Mike Matulis (shoulder).

-- The Gamecocks will practice again at 4 p.m. Wednesday. It is closed to the public.

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