Gamecocks open spring drills without Clowney, Lattimore

South Carolina hit practice football fields for the first time in 2012 on Tuesday, the first of 15 allotted practices in the spring, without its top players on each side of the ball.

Noticeably absent were injured running back Marcus Lattimore, who is still sidelined following knee surgery, and sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who did not participate in Tuesday’s practice due to an academic issue. He is expected to be at practice on Thursday.

“It was a typical first day of spring ball,” said head coach Steve Spurrier, who is beginning his eighth year in Columbia. “A lot of young guys running around and hustling. The effort was very good. Throwing and catching at times looked good, at times not so good. The defense looked pretty sharp. But a good first day and hopefully we’ll get a little better as the week progresses and be ready to have an excellent spring game on April 14.”

In other news, Spurrier expects running back Kenny Miles to be back this fall. Miles went through Senior Day ceremonies last fall, but has a year of eligibility remaining. “We fully expect him to be ready. He’s one injury away from being the guy. He knows the potential there.”

Spurrier said the decision that Bruce Ellington made to give up football and concentrate on basketball was up to him. “That’s a decision a young man has to make. Basketball was my first love too. Hopefully it will work out for Bruce. We’re all for him. We wish him the best certainly.”

In other news, Corey Robinson has been moved over the offensive line and will work at the tackle position. “He showed very good effort in winter conditioning,” noted Coach Spurrier. Qua Gilchrist has been moved to fullback.

Several players are expected to sit out the spring as they continue to recover from surgeries. The list includes Akeem Auguste (foot), TB Shon Carson (knee), FB Matt Coffee (knee), OC Travis Ford (foot), DE Deon Green (shoulder), TB Marcus Lattimore (knee), OT Mike Matulis (shoulder), OT Brock Stadnik (shoulder) and FS D.J. Swearinger (foot).

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