COLUMBIA — South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward continues to be encouraged by the play of his young linebackers.

he Gamecocks will feature three new starters at linebacker this fall. Some of the true freshman linebackers are pushing for more reps during practice.

“Guys were flying around,” Ward said. “I’m really excited about the young (freshman) linebackers. Skai Moore, Lorenz Bryant and Jonathan Walton have done an excellent job. I’m excited about where they’re at right now.”

The Gamecocks practiced 25 minutes longer than they did Tuesday night.

Even head coach Steve Spurrier was in a good mood after practice was done Wednesday.

“It was a decent practice tonight,” Spurrier said. “We went a little longer. We were a little short last night to try to get the guys a little fresher legs. Guys were hustling and trying so it was encouraging. The young guys got to play a bit, so it was good to see some of those guys come around.”

Matulis to have surgery

Junior offensive tackle Mike Matulis is expected undergo shoulder surgery soon.

Matulis, who has 10 career starts and has started at left and right tackle, has had surgery on both shoulders.

Matulis missed spring practice rehabbing his shoulder after surgery in the offeseason. Matulis has practiced on a limited basis so far this preseason, but he has been limited in any contact drills.

“He’s been through most of the fundamental drills,” said USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott. “He’s working hard. I’ve put him through some team segments. He’s got a little glitch in his shoulder and he’s going to have it scoped. I think it’s a minor scope. I haven’t been real concerned about it and we’ll see how he does when he comes back.”

If Matulis’ shoulder injury turns out to be more serious he could redshirt, Elliott said.

“He does have that redshirt season and that’s a great thing for Mike,” Elliott said. “He’s a good football player. I’m really excited about him. It’s unfortunate. It’s bad luck and we’ve got to deal with it. He does have that redshirt if we need it.”

Anderson added to injury list

Junior tight end Rory Anderson joined the list of players sidelined with injuries. Anderson suffered a hamstring injury late in Tuesday’s practice.

“I don’t think it’s that serious, he should be OK,” Spurrier said.

Bruce Ellington (hamstring) and Shamier Jeffery (ankle) did not practice as well. Offensive tackle Mason Zandi returned to practice after missing a couple of days due to illness.

Scrimmage closed to public

The Gamecocks scrimmaged schedule for Saturday at 4:15 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium will be closed to the public and the media.

“We can’t open it up,” Spurrier said. “There’s too many cellphone videos. All of our business will be on the street if we open it up. We might have some trick plays we haven’t run in a long time.”