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Aug. 27, 2015

The University of South Carolina football squad worked out Thursday afternoon, just one week from the start of the 2015 season.

Wide receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. confirmed that redshirt freshman Shaq Davidson injured his knee and will be sidelined indefinitely. “Shaq Davidson is wounded,” said Coach Spurrier Jr. “He hurt his knee. What the exact extent is and how long he’ll be out, we’ll know as soon as we know. It was unfortunate.”

Coach Spurrier Jr. said the wide receivers he expects to get the most time in the opener are Pharoh Cooper, Deebo Samuel and Carlton Heard, with Terry Googer, Shamier Jeffery and Matrick Belton rounding out the top six. He also mentioned that freshmen D.J. Neal, Jalen Christian and Jerad Washington could see action. Spurrier Jr. noted that they would like to redshirt Christian Owens, but that the situation is fluid.

“Everybody knows that everybody around them is young except for one guy,” said Coach Spurrier Jr. “There’s one guy that’s qualified to play as many snaps as he wants and everybody else is on a snap-to-snap basis. But it’s a good group and it’s been fun coaching them in the preseason. We’ve just got to get them in there and see what happens.”

“I know they are excited to play,” said co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke of his unit after Thursday’s workout. “They know the game is coming up and I know everybody likes to get ready to play a game, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Coach Hoke and the defensive staff have a lot of new players to work with this fall. “We coach them every day. That’s all we can do. We’re trying to get them there. We’re going to continue to coach assignment, alignment, technique and key. Those are the four things we need to make sure we’re sound in all of those areas, then continue to make sure we understand the importance of getting takeaways in the football game.”

One of the challenges for the Gamecock defense will be going against the fast-paced North Carolina offense. “The pace is tough to duplicate, but we’ve had some drill work at it and we’re continuing to do it,” said Coach Hoke. “I think we’ve done a good job going against our offense when they’ve done it. They do a great job of testing us.”

The Gamecocks will take Friday off before returning to the practice fields on Saturday. Head coach Steve Spurrier will hold his first weekly press conference on Sunday at 1 p.m. He will be followed to the podium by Athletics Director Ray Tanner, who will talk about the new Springs Brooks Plaza.