Go ahead and squash any notion of a quarterback controversy at South Carolina.
Barring any unexpected injury news, the Gamecocks have their starter for Saturday night against Kentucky and likely for the foreseeable future.
“Assuming everything is good with Luke (Doty), he will be our starting quarterback on Saturday night,” head coach Shane Beamer said in his weekly news conference Tuesday.
After missing the first two games of the season with a foot injury, the sophomore Doty entered USC’s 40-13 loss at Georgia in relief of injured starter Zeb Noland, whose throwing hand was stepped on during the team’s first offensive drive.
Doty completed 13 of his 26 passes for 153 yards, an interception and a touchdown and seemed to settled into a groove deeper in the game, connecting with receiver Josh Vann in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Doty had only just returned to full 11-on-11 practice the Thursday before that matchup in Athens, and Beamer called the second-year signal caller a “warrior” for his efforts.
“Zeb gets hurt, and Luke just handled it fantastic,” Beamer said. “There’s no no flinch, no bright eyes. It was, ‘All right. let’s go, what’s next?’ And he’s just very calm with all that going on out there and the noise and some adversity that we’re facing on offense. ... He’s really smart, very poised.”
Though Doty played more than expected coming off his foot injury, Beamer said Doty was available for practice the very next day after the Georgia game and has experienced no setbacks.
Meanwhile, Noland still hasn’t thrown a ball after his throwing hand was stepped on Saturday, causing a cut that required stitches and numbness that kept him out of the game. Beamer said that Noland should get the stitches removed from his finger this week and should be available Saturday night. The 24-year-old former graduate assistant started the first three games of the season for the Gamecocks due to Doty’s injury, but Doty has seemingly reclaimed his spot at the top of pecking order.
Doty and the Gamecocks will welcome Kentucky to Williams-Brice Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Update on Sherrod Greene
The Gamecocks lost a key defensive leader when redshirt senior linebacker Sherrod Greene went down with a lower leg injury at Georgia and had to be carted off the field.
Greene had surgery Sunday morning, and though the Gamecocks don’t anticipate the injury to be season-ending, Greene is due to miss a significant chunk of time.
“That’s a huge loss. It really is,” Beamer said. “I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. Leader of the defense who had just been so fantastic for us since January. Steady in his leadership, playmaking ability, and he was playing on a really high level.”
In his place, the Gamecocks will turn to a combination of Brad Johnson, Mo Kaba, Damani Staley and Darryle Ware, whom USC just placed on scholarship Tuesday morning.
The injury for Greene is his second major ailment in as many years. Greene fractured his hip in the season opener against Tennessee in 2020, ending his season.
“What a great kid that was playing really, really well for us, and I hate it for him,” Beamer said. “He’s had some injuries in the past and I hate this one crept up, but we’re still optimistic that we can potentially get him back before the end of the season. But obviously he’ll be out this week.
“Saw him in the training room yesterday morning and was in good spirits and a lot of the players and coaches were down there, spending time with him trying to pick his spirits up.”
Other injury notes
Beamer said that redshirt sophomore defensive back Cam Smith practiced Tuesday and is at 100% heading into Saturday’s matchup. Coming off a preseason foot injury of his own, Smith had that foot stepped on in the second half against Georgia, forcing him out of the game.
Beamer also said that wide receiver Xavier Legette is questionable this week after suffering minor scrapes in a “traffic incident” last week.