Gamecocks Make Expected Changes On Defense

USC Athletics

COLUMBIA, S.C. (September 24, 2015) – USC head coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday night that both running back Brandon Wilds (cracked rib) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) will miss Saturday’s game against UCF.

Wilds suffered his injury in last Saturday’s loss at Georgia. Samuel went down in practice Wednesday.

The defense will have some new faces in the starting lineup, confirmed co-defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. David Johnson will get the call at defensive end in place of Cedrick Cooper. Skai Moore moves from MIKE linebacker to WILL linebacker and T.J. Holloman steps in at the MIKE position.

“We feel like we’ve got to get more productive at the (defensive end) position,” said Ward. “So we mixed that up. That’s Coach Spurrier’s mentality. So now it’s David Johnson’s time since we’re not getting the production that we needed from Cooper. I think the linebacker move is going to be really good for us, and hopefully we’ll be more productive up front.” True freshman Shamiek Blackshear could also see his first action of the year at defensive end, noted Ward.

Jamari Smith was moved back to cornerback this week after a short stint at wide receiver, and Toure Boyd has also spent some time at corner. How much they play will be up to Coach Jon Hoke and Grady Brown, according to Ward. “Watching on video, it doesn’t look like Jamari lost from the time he was on offense to come back to knowing what we’re doing on defense. With Chris (Lammons) being out injured and Chaz (Elder) being out injured, hopefully we’ll see them a little bit.” Lammons definitely will not suit up this week, while Elder is more day-to-day, according to Coach Ward. Ward hopes that Lammons will be ready for next week’s game at Missouri.

The Gamecocks will have their final walk-thru on Friday afternoon.

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