A day after University of South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said some of the team's key players may not play against North Carolina, some of those previously sidelined players returned to practice and the Head Ball Coach clarified his position.
The team worked out for a little over two hours Tuesday morning at the Bluff Road practice fields. Back on the field were Jadeveon Clowney, who has been nursing an injured shoulder, and Damiere Byrd and Kyle Fleetwood, who were both sidelined with hamstring issues. Bruce Ellington watched from the sidelines.
After Monday night's practice, an unhappy Spurrier touched upon the absence of several Gamecocks. "So we got a bunch of hurt guys that act like they're really hurt," said Spurrier. "Right now, they may not play."
The arrival of Clowney, Byrd and Fleetwood on the practice field Tuesday morning prompted a member of the media to ask Spurrier about his ailing players.
"Jadeveon is doing fine. Bruce is doing fine. Damiere is doing fine. We had a communication problem," said Spurrier. "They didn't know they were supposed to be out here watching practice. Now they know they're going to be out here watching practices. We had a communication problem and now we're ready to go."
"They're out here doing something," said Spurrier. "So they weren't in the locker room jiving around playing on their cell phones like they were last night. And that's my fault. They said 'Coach nobody told us we had to be out there.' So I'm the dummy, not them."
Clowney did not participate in Saturday's scrimmage and Monday's practice session. The coaching staff has said the All-American junior defensive end's shoulder injury is not serious.
Looking ahead to the season, Spurrier said he hopes several of his players will develop into all-conference players.
"We have next to the bottom of the SEC in all-conference players," said Spurrier. "We've got four guys – one first-teamer and three second-team All-SEC guys. Only Kentucky has fewer than us. So our expectations, hopefully with our players, need to be known that we are not a super-duper team by any means."
"We've got one superstar and that's it," continued Spurrier. "Everybody knows who he is. But one superstar doesn't win many championships as we all know. Hopefully a bunch of guys can come around. I think our guys have got the message that we've got a long way to go."
The Gamecocks are scheduled to be back on the practice field on Wednesday morning at 8:15 a.m.
The practice is closed to the public.
USC opens up the 2013 college football season on Aug. 29 against North Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium.