Mike Davis might not play against Coastal Carolina; Shon Carson will start

Wesley Hitt

Injuries to Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds have cleared the way for Shon Carson to start against the FCS Chanticleers.

Mike Davis might not play against Coastal Carolina on Saturday after sustaining a series of minor injuries over the past several weeks. The practice summary issued by South Carolina on Tuesday lists Davis' injuries as "assorted," a catch-all for his nagging ankle, shoulder, and rib injuries. Backup running back Brandon Wilds will also be limited in practice this week as he recovers from a hamstring injury, clearing the way for Shon Carson to make his first college start.

"[Mike] didn't practice yesterday today, not gonna practice today," Steve Spurrier said during his press conference on Tuesday. "So he's banged up a bit. I don't know that he'll suit up. He probably will, by Saturday, but Shon Carson is all set to be our starter... Shon Carson is going to get his first start as a Gamecock. Shon played well last week and had the big run to get us out of the hole there."

South Carolina was down 14-13 and pinned back at its own 5-yard line when Carson ripped off a 58-yard run that flipped the field and set up the game-winning points. It was probably the most important play of the game, and Carson's speed in hitting the gaping hole was a big reason that it came to pass.

However, I would exercise caution in rushing to anoint Carson as the next great Gamecock running back following his 102-yard performance against Florida. Excluding the 58-yard run, on which Carson was quite literally untouched (until he was tackled, of course), Shon gained an average of just 3.67 yards on his 12 other carries, consistent with what many have observed about the sophomore running back; he picks up what the offensive line has blocked, but can't get past the second level of the defense.

Of course, Carson's 50 career carries represent a very small sample size, and expectations for him going forward could be raised considerably if he seizes this opportunity and plays well against Coastal Carolina.

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