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Thursday, August 1, 2013
Opening camp: South Carolina Gamecocks

By Edward Aschoff

Schedule: The Gamecocks begin practice at 7:15 p.m. ET on Friday. The first week of practice will be open to the public. The first day for full pads will be Tuesday, Aug. 6. The first two-a-days session will be Aug. 15.

On the mend: Senior quarterback Connor Shaw is returning after missing all of spring following offseason foot surgery. Safety T.J. Gurley missed spring as he recovered from a knee injury, but he should be ready to go for fall camp.

Key battle: The hybrid linebacker/safety "Spur" position has become a staple in South Carolina's defense. With DaVonte Holloman gone, junior Sharrod Golightly and redshirt freshman Jordan Diggs spent the spring vying for the spot. However, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward left spring without a ton of confidence in the position. Golightly enters the fall with the edge, but he's spent his college career primarily playing special teams for the Gamecocks.

Of note: Steve Spurrier enters his ninth season at South Carolina as the Gamecocks' all-time winningest coach with 66 victories. He's already Florida's all-time winningest coach with 122 victories and joins Paul "Bear" Bryant as the only other coach to own the most wins at two SEC schools.

Predicted order of finish at media days: Picked second in the SEC East at SEC media days.

They said it: "Gosh, we hoped last year we'd have a chance and we did have a chance last year. We were just one game away from getting in the [SEC] championship game and were one game away the year before. So we're hoping and believing we gotta chance, but we know we gotta play well, a lot of guys gotta come through. We've got some talented players. We're not going to be favored, but we should be right up in there with the top four or five with a chance, I would think." -- Spurrier