COLUMBIA — One starter returns, while another’s status is in doubt.
It’s been that kind of season for South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier as injuries and personnel shifts have struck the 15th-ranked Gamecocks.
Spurrier said quarterback Connor Shaw was cleared to return to practice after suffering a concussion last week and is likely to play against Florida on Saturday. Safety DeVonte Holloman, who also had a concussion in the 44-28 loss at Arkansas, has not yet been cleared by doctors and is questionable for Saturday’s game.
Then again, it’s been like that all year. Star linebacker Antonio Allen was out of last week’s game with neck spasms. Cornerback C.C. Whitlock has missed time with a concussion, and safety D.J. Swearinger will miss most of practice this week with a foot injury.
On offense, lineman Kyle Nunn has been out since September with back problems, receiver Bruce Ellington was slowed by a hamstring and, perhaps the most significant loss of all, star tailback Marcus Lattimore went down with a season-ending knee injury at Mississippi State in October.
“Well, it’s a little unusual,” Spurrier said Tuesday.
Still, Spurrier said the Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) remain in reach of several milestones when they close the SEC season with the Gators.
A victory would give South Carolina six SEC wins, something it’s never accomplished. And it would keep the Gamecocks in contention for the SEC Eastern Division and another trip to the league title game.
“When you look at the way our team has played this year, you have to say, ‘Hey those guys are 7-2 and have a chance to achieve something this year,’ ” Spurrier said. “We are not here moping that we are 7-2. We have to play one of our best games and have some fire and emotion.”