Practice Report: Matthews could play vs. UF

The Gamecocks were forced indoors on Wednesday, practicing in a split session in preparation for their final SEC game of the season. The team has suffered some key injuries in the past couple of weeks, but they may be getting a key defender back just in time for the matchup against #1 Florida.


Coach Steve Spurrier said that while the team has had to adjust its practice schedule for moving indoors, it did not disrupt the quality of the practice too much.

"Bad weather forced us in again, but other than that, nothing much is happening," said Spurrier. "We throw around in there, it's a pretty nice 50 yard facility, it really is. (The) kickers, (Spencer) Lanning and those guys, they kick it up against the wall, so it's not that bad. It's actually better than what we had at Duke or what we had at Florida, we'd go in the gyms there. So anyway, it's not bad. You get more done in there than you would out on the soaking wet field."

Over the course of the past few games, several key Gamecock defensive players have missed time for a variety of reasons. Akeem Auguste has returned from his three game suspension to provide solid play and combine with C.C. Whitlock and Stephon Gilmore to provide more depth at corner. Also, safety Chris Culliver has recovered from shoulder and attitude problems that caused him to miss the Arkansas game. One key half of South Carolina's outstanding pass rush has been banged up the last couple of games as well, with Cliff Matthews suffering neck and shoulder injuries. Although cautioning against a full return, Spurrier said on Wednesday that he is optimistic that Matthews, one of his best defenders, will be able to return against the Gators.

"He's got a chance, they're looking at him today and tomorrow, and there's a chance he may be able to play a little bit," said Spurrier. "He wouldn't play the whole game, but he may be able to rush. We'll just have to wait and see."

Although the Gamecocks are facing a perennial SEC Champion in football in Florida, those in and around the University of South Carolina community have been celebrating the women's soccer SEC Championship all week long. Spurrier said that he has even spoken to the women's team, and was truly excited for what they mean to South Carolina.

"Yeah, Coach Shelly asked me to say a few words to her girls," noted Spurrier. "That was wonderful, that our girl's soccer team won the SEC Championship. It's the first championship since I've been here in the five years of any sport. So that was neat, and those girls have the memory of a lifetime."


Notes:

- DE Devin Taylor will not play against Florida due to a bruised sternum.

- Defensive lineman Melvin Ingram has slid out to defensive end this week in practice, and will play that position against the Gators. Ingram is normally a key contributor off the bench at defensive tackle.

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