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Aug. 26, 2014

The South Carolina football team is putting the finishing touches on their game preparations for the 2014 season opener. The No. 9 Gamecocks will host No 21 Texas A&M on Thursday, August 28. Game time is set for 6 p.m. ET at a sold-out Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.

Following Tuesday’s practice, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said that sophomore Jonathan Walton would get the nod at WILL linebacker over projected starter Skai Moore, although Moore would play early. “You just got to make sure he does what he was supposed to do when you ask him to do something,” said Ward of Moore. “He has to get treatment. He hurt his shoulder a little bit, so he didn’t go to treatment. You don’t go to treatment you don’t play. You got to go to treatment.”

Ward also said that T.J. Holloman has edged Kaiwan Lewis for the starting MIKE linebacker position, but he expressed confidence in the entire linebacking corps. “We’ve got nine guys when you count the two Spurs that can play (linebacker),” said Ward. “I don’t care who will start. You can shake them in a bag and I think you get really good players in all of them.”

In the secondary, Ward indicated that senior Brison Williams and Al Harris Jr. would be the starting cornerbacks, with Harris Jr. getting the nod over Rico McWilliams. “Either one could start,” said Ward of Harris Jr. and McWilliams. “Coach Brown feels good about both of them. Whether (Harris Jr.) makes mistakes or not, Rico will play early. Rico has earned the right to play and so has Al. They both will play.” Chaz Elder and Chris Moody will be the starters at safety, ahead of T.J. Gurley and Kadetrix Marcus.

Ward said he is pretty confident in the defense he will put out on the field in the opener. “You’ve got to be confident in the young men you put on the field,” noted Ward. “It’s a reflection of you. We’ll play well. We just got to get lined up in a hurry because they’re going to go fast, and execute our assignments.” Ward indicated that he would get both his 4-2 and 3-4 alignments in early to see which was having the most success. “It will be dictated by their personnel,” noted Ward.

Ward confirmed that former Gamecock DeVonte’ Holloman would join the staff next week. “He’ll do what Seth (Strickland) is doing in helping in the video department. In the spring, hopefully he’ll get into grad school and be a G.A.”

Thursday’s game will be televised nationally on the SEC Network with Brent Musburger calling the action and Jesse Palmer providing the analysis. Maria Taylor and Kaylee Hartung will work the sidelines. John Sadek will have the national radio call for Westwood One with Chris Doering providing the color commentary. Every Carolina game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Sports Network with Todd Ellis and Tommy Suggs in the booth and Langston Moore on the sidelines. WNKT-FM (107.5 the Game) is the Columbia home for Carolina Football.