Gamecock FB: Victor Hampton out/Ahmad Christian in
South Carolina was expecting to replace Kadetrix Marcus in the secondary this weekend after he suffered an elbow injury against North Carolina.
However, news came out Thursday that a second member of the Gamecocks' secondary will be on the sidelines for Saturday's game against Georgia.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward was asked about Victor Hampton Thursday night after practice and said that Hampton wouldn't be in the starting lineup for this weekend's game, being replaced by redshirt sophomore Ahmad Christian. This will be Christian's first career start.
“He's better... he's getting better," said Coach Ward when asked about the health of Victor Hampton. "Ahmad's (Christian) gonna start. Victor only really practiced today. Did a little bit yesterday. I think he's getting better.”
It's a tough blow for Hampton and the Gamecocks as Hampton provides a bit of energy and confidence on the Gamecocks defense with his attitude.
Hampton also served as South Carolina's kick returner and punt returner against UNC but Coach Ward said Hampton wouldn't be handling those duties for awhile.
"No, I think we're gonna relieve him of those duties for awhile," Ward answered when asked if Hampton would return punts. "He took a lot of hits and he understands it. So, he decided that even if he was healthy now, he probably would have gave up the role. Bruce (Ellington) will be the punt returner.”
Ward was unsure of Ellington's role as kick returner for the Gamecocks but he was South Carolina's kick returner last season and would have served in that role against UNC had he been of full health that night.
The Gamecocks defense will have their hands full trying to slow down the running game behind Todd Gurley on Saturday but will also have to contend with a dangerous quarterback in Aaron Murray.
"We always want to affect the quarterback. As a defensive coordinator, you have to find out who's running the engine of the train and of course Aaron Murray is. He makes this team go."
Handling Murray will be even tougher with Hampton likely limited in this weekend's game. The play of Ahmad Christian could be a key area to watch this Saturday and the Gamecocks defensive coordinator is hoping that he won't miss a beat this weekend.
Other notes from Thursday:
-- Chris Moody will back up TJ Gurley at strong safety this weekend with Kadetrix Marcus out with an injury. Marcus was the starter for South Carolina last week against UNC and Gurley replaced him in that game and finished with nine total tackles to lead the team.
-- Redshirt freshman Chaz Elder will back up Brison Williams at the free safety position. Elder failed to register a tackle in the season-opening win against North Carolina.
-- Cedrick Cooper has returned to practice and will be on the travel squad this weekend and is expecting to play against Georgia. Cooper suffered an injury early in fall camp and has remained out for most of the team's practices the past few weeks.