– The No. 14/16 South Carolina football squad worked out Wednesday afternoon at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds.” The Gamecocks (6-2, 4-2 SEC) are preparing for Saturday’s contest with the Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-3, 1-2 SEC).
Senior quarterback Connor Shaw returned to practice on Wednesday after missing Monday and Tuesday’s workouts due to illness. Running back Brandon Wilds (elbow) was full-go at practice for the first time since dislocating his elbow against UCF. Offensive guard Ronald Patrick (ankle) also returned to practice on Wednesday, while center Cody Waldrop (ankle) and defensive tackle Gerald Dixon Jr. (ankle) remained sidelined.
Running backs coach Everette Sands believes that Wilds would play on Saturday only in an emergency situation. “Today was his first day out. Hopefully we won’t have to use him on Saturday.” Wilds still wears a brace on the elbow. “We did some ball security drills and he was able to hold on to it,” noted Sands. Mike Davis, the SEC’s leading rusher, is expected to carry the load, with Shon Carson and Jamari Smith as his backups.
Waldrop has been sidelined for several weeks, but offensive line coach Shawn Elliott hopes to have him back soon. “I think he’ll be back next week,” said Elliott. “I think he’s making progress. He’s moving around out here. We expect him back next week.” The Gamecocks are off next week, so that would give Waldrop two weeks to get ready for the Florida game.
The Mississippi State defensive line presents some problems up front. “They’re real similar to us,” said Elliott. “They’re big. Probably not as athletic as we saw a week ago with the speed, but they’re big up front. We’ve got to move them off the football, something we didn’t do last week. So we’ve got our work cut out for us to see if we can run the football a lot better than we did last week.”
Elliott was proud of Patrick for playing last week despite being hampered by an ankle injury. “I think he’s a lot better than he was last week. He went out there and played his guts out on a bum ankle and that’s hard to do up front. He should play much better this week.”
Saturday’s game is set for 12:21 p.m. ET and will be televised by SEC TV. Dave Neal and Andre Ware will be in the booth with Cara Capuano working the sidelines. A few hundred tickets remain on sale for the game through the Carolina Athletics ticket office.
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