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Oct. 23, 2013

October 23, 2013

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The No. 20/20 South Carolina football team practiced Wednesday afternoon at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds.” The Gamecocks (5-2, 3-2 SEC) are preparing for Saturday’s contest with the SEC Eastern Division-leading and No. 5/7 Missouri Tigers (7-0, 3-0 SEC).

Offensive guard Ronald Patrick (ankle) and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles (knee) returned to full practice on Wednesday. Safety Chaz Elder (concussion) practiced, but did not engage in any contact. Among those who were dressed in yellow “no practice” jerseys were center Cody Waldrop (ankle), running back Brandon Wilds (elbow) and defensive tackle Gerald Dixon Jr. (ankle). Quarterback Connor Shaw (knee) again was dressed in the garnet jersey that the offensive team wears, but did not have on shoulder pads.

Head coach Steve Spurrier announced on Tuesday that junior Dylan Thompson would make the start at quarterback on Saturday night at Faurot Field. “Dylan’s a good player,” said quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus. “He’ll get his chance to go this week. He’s practiced good the last couple of days, but he always does. Dylan gets himself ready like he’s a starter, that’s why I don’t worry about Dylan. He’ll be ready to roll.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Thompson. “Missouri has a great defense. They’re really talented. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to go in there and looking forward to that challenge. We’ve done it before. I’m really excited about the game and about our team this week. We’ve really prepared well and we’re looking forward to the challenge. This is the biggest game we’ve played yet. Coach does a good job of making it about the next game and right now Missouri is the next game. That’s what we’re going to focus on. That’s what we’ve been working for all this week.”

Mangus is not surprised by the progress Connor Shaw has made this week after suffering a sprained knee in the loss at Tennessee. “He’s throwing it around a little bit. Nothing surprises me with him,” noted Mangus. “He’s got a little ligament down there that’s taking a little bit of time.” Mangus would not count Shaw out completely for Saturday. “You never know. We’ll see. Today is Wednesday. He’s getting better every day. He goes to rehab. He’s rehabbing every day and he’s good with all that stuff. He takes care of himself and does what he has to do to get rehab, so we’ll have to see how the next couple of days go.”

Saturday’s game is set for 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. local) and will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Joe Tessitore and Matt Millen will be in the booth with Maria Taylor working the sidelines.