Jeffery making good progress
COLUMBIA -- South Carolina junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is adept at making one-handed catches, such as his 18-yard touchdown grab in the Gamecocks' last game, a 34-13 win over Clemson on Nov. 26.
But he would certainly prefer to have use of both hands. He currently doesn't, as he continues to recover from left hand surgery -- the result of him breaking a bone in the hand during the Clemson game.
USC held its second practice Sunday in preparation for the Jan. 2 Capital One Bowl against Nebraska, and Jeffery participated on a very limited basis. He ran and caught a few passes with only his right hand. Jeffery said his left hand "feels fine" and is "starting to get better." As for the timetable on when he can catch with both hands, he said, "as soon as possible." Will he be ready for the bowl?
"I definitely feel good about that," he said.
Said head coach coach Steve Spurrier: "The docs say in another week or so, he should be full go."
Jeffery deflected a question about his thought process in the coming weeks, as he decides whether to leave early for the NFL. "Right, I'm just thinking about the bowl game," he said. "That's all I'm focused on. I'm not focused on nothing else."
Campbell still out, Quarles hurt
Right guard Terrence Campbell broke his fibula against Clemson and has yet to return to practice. Spurrier has said he believes Campbell should be OK for the bowl.
Free safety D.J. Swearinger (nagging foot injury) and cornerback C.C. Whitlock (knee) also didn't practice Sunday. Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles limped off with a lower leg injury, the severity of which remains unclear.
"Terrence Campbell is not practicing this week and I don't think D.J. is going to practice," Spurrier said. "But hopefully when we get to Orlando, they can get in shape a little bit."
The Gamecocks break for Christmas after Friday's practice and fly to the bowl Dec. 27.
Johnson should coach bowl
Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson interviewed last week for Southern Mississippi's head coaching job and is reportedly a top candidate.
"From what I've heard, I think he's got a good shot at it," said Spurrier, who hired Johnson before the 2008 season. "That's all I've heard. We'll wait and see what plays out."
No matter what happens, Johnson likely will coach against Nebraska, Spurrier said, adding that he thinks Southern Miss might wait until after its final game, Saturday's Hawaii Bowl, to hire a replacement for Larry Fedora, who will coach the bowl before heading to North Carolina. "We're going under that assumption right now, that (Johnson) is going to definitely coach the bowl game," Spurrier said.
This and that
Spurrier said he probably will wait until after the bowl to hire a replacement for running backs and tight ends coach Jay Graham, who became the running backs coach at Tennessee, his alma mater. In the meantime, Spurrier and graduate assistant Tommy Galt are coaching the running backs and tight ends. ... Spurrier said wide receiver Bruce Ellington will practice with the football team today. Ellington is splitting time with the USC basketball team this month and didn't practice with football on Saturday or Sunday. Spurrier said he and Ellington haven't talked yet about whether Ellington will return to the football team in the spring. ... Spurrier on USC's self-imposed scholarship reductions for NCAA violations: "I think it's smart, and that's what you have to do when mistakes occur, which they can happen sometimes. So you suggest that, and then of course it's up to the NCAA to tell you the final decision."
--- Darryl Slater