Gamecocks prep for final preseason scrimmage
Defensive line coach Brad Lawing said after practice that sophomore Travian Robertson will not redshirt this season. Robertson is making the transition from defensive end, where he played as a freshman, to defensive tackle. Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said earlier that he wanted to redshirt Robertson, giving him a year to add bulk and improve his technique as a tackle. Lawing dismissed that option emphatically.
"I don't know who started that," he said, ignoring the fact that it was his coordinator. "He's pulling your leg."
Lawing went on to say that Robertson is too talented a player to be kept off the field. Robertson will play both end and tackle this season as he transitions inside.
The opposite decision has been made regarding Melvin Ingram. Ingram played middle linebacker last season, but made the move to the defensive line this fall. Lawing said that Ingram will redshirt this season as he adjusts to the new position. The redshirt will allow Ingram to fully recover from a broken toe that has slowed his progress as he learns new techniques.
The Tuesday night scrimmage will again be geared toward younger players. However, that will once again include at least one starter. Quarterback Tommy Beecher will be the biggest name to participate in the scrimmage, as he tries to get as much experience as possible before the season opener.
"We'll let all those guys play who haven't played much," said Steve Spurrier. "So that means our starting quarterback, he hasn't played much. He'll be out there pitching it around."
For most of the rest of the players, it will mark the last chance to make a case for playing time this year. Those who fail to impress will be relegated to the scout team, and likely have to wait until next year to try and make the two deep.
Anderson motivated to reach potential this fall
Although he has yet to officially earn the nod from Spurrier, junior Garrett Anderson appears to be the presumptive starter at center on August 28. Anderson has played in 22 games, with eight starts, during his first two seasons, all at guard. Anderson missed most of the spring due to a back injury, which is probably the only reason he has not secured the starting nod. That, along with a couple minor injuries early in fall camp, forced him to miss or be limited in a few practices, and Anderson says he doesn't plan to miss anymore valuable practice time.
"It's been frustrating to me," he said."I'm sick of not being out there every play and every down. I don't think I'm pleased with anything right now. I'm more upset with everything right now. I need to be out there [practicing] to play. I'm going to try to make sure I'm there every snap and nothing holds me back no matter how bad it hurts. Whatever happens I want to be there to play."
Anderson's frustration has been tempered by the fact that he has not missed any significant time. While tackles Jamon Meredith and Jarriel King have had to sit out almost a week of practice or more recently, Anderson's absences were isolated cases at the beginning of camp.
"I don't think I've had anything serious right now," he said. "I haven't had anything that's taken me out completely, but I feel like I can be better, and I'm trying to be there. I'm trying to get to that point to help out this team."
Anderson did not mince words when he talked about why it is important for him to help the team.
"I've been disappointed in this team for two years, and I don't want to do it anymore," said Anderson. "We're playing in the SEC, I think the best conference in the nation. We're going to play some great opponents, and you can't ask for more than that out of your college career."
Anderson went on to say that because Carolina plays in the SEC and faces top teams on an almost weekly basis, he is not concerned about the Gamecocks starting the season unranked. If the Gamecocks can win on Saturdays, they will move up the polls on Sunday.
"It really doesn't matter what you come in at, it's what you finish at," Anderson said. "It's how you come in every week and how you face every opponent. Right now all we're worried about is N.C. State. It doesn't matter what the polls say, because we were number six last year, and that's when everything fell apart."
If there is anything positive to come from that season-ending disaster, Anderson thinks it could serve as a learning experience. He knows now that with that sort of recognition comes increased pressure and expectations. Last year, the Gamecocks did not recognize the level of play they needed to maintain that lofty ranking. While the season ending slump may be a motivating factor for the team, Anderson said that is not what drives him to improve.
"I don't know if 6-6 motivated me, [but] I know how I played last year, and who I played, and how I could have played better [and that] motivated me," Anderson said. "I just know that I sort of wasted a year last year not playing, and I've only got two left and I've got to make something out of them."
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