Dec. 25, 2014
After a cold and windy day on Wednesday, weather conditions were much more favorable as the University of South Carolina football team practiced at Loyola Prep in Shreveport on Christmas Day. The Gamecocks (6-6) are preparing for the 2014 Duck Commander Independence Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes (6-6) on Saturday, December 27. Kick is set for 3:30 p.m. ET (2:30 in Shreveport) and the contest will be televised nationally on ABC.
The big news of the day, although certainly not unexpected, was that junior running back Mike Davis would be playing in his last game for the Garnet & Black on Saturday.
“Yes, this will be my last game,” said Davis. “You always want to go out with a bang. I just tell my teammates that I love them. I’ve enjoyed this long ride. I knew when it was coming down to it and I had made my decision, I started bringing a camera in to start recording my last moments with my teammates – a lot of good moments. I’ve just enjoyed being around them.”
“He’s ready to go,” said running backs coach Everette Sands of Davis, both for Saturday’s game and for the NFL. “He’s feeling good. He’s ready to put his best foot forward. I don’t think it’s a mystery that Mike’s going to take his talents (to the NFL). He had an up and down year,” continued Sands. “He’s had a lot of good runs throughout the year and he had some injuries that not allowed him to be at full speed all the time. But the thing is, he’s still at 930 yards so, he’s still put himself in a position for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in the SEC, which is not an easy task.”
Saturday’s game could turn into a contest between two top running backs, as Davis will be matched against Miami standout Duke Johnson. “They’re friends,” acknowledged Sands. “I’m sure they’re ready to have a head-to-head battle as well.”
Wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said that K.J. Brent would make the start on Saturday, along with Nick Jones and Pharoh Cooper following Shaq Roland’s departure from the team. Shamier Jeffery would also see significant action, according to Spurrier Jr.
“K.J. plays really well,” said Coach Spurrier Jr. “I think he’s caught every ball we’ve thrown to him this year. He hasn’t played a ton. He’s a good player and just keeps playing really well. Looking back, if he had gotten more balls thrown at him he may have played better. But every opportunity he’s gotten, he’s made the most of it. He’s certainly earned the right to start in this game. He’s intelligent, he lines up and plays hard, he’s got good hands. Just as time went on, there are some guys that had a little bit more talent.”
The Gamecocks will spend part of Christmas afternoon bowling before enjoying a Christmas dinner at the hotel. The team will work out one final time on Friday afternoon at Independence Stadium before Saturday’s showdown.