Gamecocks searching for a second receiving option

Alshon Jeffery has accounted for 177 of the Gamecocks’ 273 receiving yards this season.

Jeff Siner

South Carolina spent most of the preseason searching for a second wide receiver to complement All-American Alshon Jeffery.

It hasn't happened yet.

Through the first two games of the season, running back Marcus Lattimore is the second leading receiver with five catches for 41 yards.

The coaching staff thought they'd found at least one weapon in freshman Damiere Byrd, but he's been suspended for four games by the NCAA for receiving 'improper' benefits.

Ace Sanders has started to emerge as a big play threat, but has only four receptions.

Bruce Ellington, the Berkeley High School star, has not caught a pass this season. Neither has veteran Jason Barnes.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier understands the Gamecocks' passing game needs to become more versatile, but first has to complete a few more passes.

'The solution is we're just not throwing some completions,' Spurrier said. 'Jason and Bruce, we're trying to get them more involved this week. There are a lot of guys we need to get more involved.'

Not intimidated

Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said playing in front of 80,000 fans at Williams-Brice Stadium should be no big deal for the Midshipmen.

Navy played at Notre Dame and Ohio State in 2009. The Midshipmen beat Notre Dame, 23-21, and lost to the Buckeyes, 31-27, in 2009.

'We've been to the Horseshoe and Notre Dame and they were both very impressive venues,' Niumatalolo said. 'I think it was Military Appreciation Day at Ohio State, and they actually clapped for us when we got on the field. I doubt the South Carolina fans will do that.'

The Midshipmen have been using loud speakers during practice this week to simulate the crowd noise they expect on Saturday.

'We're trying to recreate that kind of atmosphere,' Niumatalolo said. 'I don't know if that's possible without about 14 more speakers. I know the players are excited about playing an SEC school that is contending for a national championship. If you can't get up for this one, I don't have a motivational speech that will help.'

Going home

Three players from Navy call South Carolina home.

Junior slot back Gee Gee Greene (Richland Northeast), junior safety/outlinebacker Tra'ves Bush (Strom Thurmond) and Quinton Singleton (Manning) all played their high school football.

Bush, who helped lead Strom Thurmond to a Class AAA title in 2005, is a cousin of Gamecocks free safety D.J. Swearinger.

'I know a lot of those guys on the team,' Bush said. 'It's a great feeling to be able to go back down to South Carolina and play in front of my family and friends again.'