COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's injury situation sounded rather dire after Saturday's loss to Arkansas. By midweek, though, it's a much more hopeful prognosis for several Gamecocks as this week's game against Florida nears.
"Yeah," USC coach Steve Spurrier said, "we're really pretty healthy."
Cornerback C.C. Whitlock and left tackle Jarriel King, who both suffered concussions against Arkansas, are being monitored carefully. But both are expected to play, although walk-on Marty Markett might start over Whitlock.
Center T.J. Johnson (knee) practiced Wednesday, returning a day earlier than expected.
"It was never a question," USC defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said of his availability. "I will play in this game."
A true freshman, Ronald Patrick, played in Johnson's place when he had to leave the Arkansas game. Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott was extremely complimentary of Patrick, but having experience is important for the game to decide the SEC East.
Quarterback Connor Shaw (ribs) said he's fine to play. Running back Marcus Lattimore (bruised left knee) said the same Tuesday. He was a full participant Wednesday and doesn't need a brace of any kind, running backs coach Jay Graham said.
"I think he feels well," Graham said. "He had a little pep in his step today. He's been practicing hard. … He's ready to go. He's 100 percent."
Earlier in the week, Spurrier called this the second "loud" game USC will have played. Others, including a loss at Kentucky, weren't in necessarily hostile environments. The 35-27 loss at Auburn was the other "loud" game.
Spurrier said non-verbal signals -- hand motions and stomping foot -- will be used more for the Swamp.
"Personally, I kind of like it," Johnson said. "I get to say go. It's kind of hard to jump offside when you're saying go."
Muzzling the QB
It's not surprising when quarterback Stephen Garcia isn't allowed to speak to the media during game weeks. It's essentially the norm.
But it was especially a foregone conclusion Wednesday that interviews requests would be denied after Spurrier's line about Garcia on the league teleconference.
"No, that's not true," Spurrier said. "Please don't listen to Stephen when he talks all the time. He's speaking sometimes for Stephen."
Spurrier was referring to Garcia saying Saturday that the Florida game is the biggest in the history of the program. Spurrier is working to downplay the game.
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