Bailey Earning Early Praise
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — The University of South Carolina football team (1-2, 0-2 SEC) practiced for two hours Wednesday afternoon on its new practice fields in preparation for Saturday‘s noon ET contest with the UCF Knights (0-3, 0-0 AAC). The game will be televised on ESPNU with Clay Matvick and John Congemi in the booth. The offensive line will have a new starter, as true freshman Zack Bailey makes his first career start following ankle injuries to Alan Knott and Cody Waldrop. “It‘s kind of funny,” said offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, “when we put him in their last week (at Georgia) I kind of smiled at him and said ‘alright big boy, let‘s go play.‘ He didn‘t bat an eye. He‘s excited. He never thought in a million years he‘d be playing center and starting against Central Florida, so it‘s a good time.” The running back corps may be without starter Brandon Wilds, who is listed as questionable after not practicing again on Wednesday due to bruised ribs suffered at Georgia. “Rod Talley is the third guy right now if Brandon is down,” said running backs coach Everette Sands. Shon Carson is the likely starter with David Williams serving as the top backup. “It‘s not that (David) is playing bad, I have high expectations for him,” noted Sands. “I expect him to be more productive. He needs to relax and play – just go out and play,” added Sands. The starting wide receivers will likely remain the same with Pharoh Cooper, Deebo Samuel and Terry Googer slated to start. “D.J. Neal is going to get a chance to play a little bit more,” said wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. “He played pretty well. We have to keep getting him better every day.” Coach Spurrier Jr. also mentioned that Carlton Heard would rotate in as well. Other notes of interest: “¢ After a brief stint at wide receiver, Jamari Smith has moved back to cornerback and will wear number 22. “¢ Lorenzo Nunez will become the first true freshman quarterback to start for head coach Steve Spurrier since Jesse Palmer did so for Florida at Auburn in 1997. “¢ The last true freshman to start at quarterback for South Carolina was Mikal Goodman during the 1999 season. Goodman earned the start against Ole Miss, Kentucky and Tennessee that season. “¢ The last true freshman to start at quarterback and win a game for South Carolina was Steve Taneyhill in 1992. “¢ The last time South Carolina had three different quarterbacks start games during the season was in 2008 when Tommy Beecher, Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia all made starts.