Beamer: No trepidation to start Doty at UGA if ready
The bridge South Carolina will need to cross when it gets to it is just up the road now.
Luke Doty, the Gamecocks’ starter coming out of spring and all camp before injury, is nearing 100 percent health and could be fully ready to go as early as this weekend against Georgia.
If ready, it presents a question for the coaching staff of playing him over starter Zeb Noland or anyone else on the roster, especially if his first game action is on the road at No. 2 Georgia.
But, Shane Beamer said Sunday night South Carolina won’t be afraid to trot him out if they want to between the hedges.
“When Luke’s ready to play, Luke will go regardless of who the opponent is. When I say he’ll go, if we need to use Luke we won’t say, ‘Let’s wait until another week.’ He has to go out there and get game action at some point,” Beamer said. “Luke’s a competitor, so whether it’s against Georgia, Eastern Illinois or the Green Bay Packers if we need to put him out there we’ll throw him out there.”
Doty, who missed about three weeks of practice with a foot sprain, was back in a limited practice role last week and didn’t play in a 20-17 win over ECU this weekend.
The sophomore hasn’t played at all this season but Beamer said Doty is getting much closer after seeing him Sunday at practice.
“We’re only out there for about 45 minutes but did quite a bit more in practice than he did last Sunday,” he said. “We fully expect him to be 100 percent on Saturday night in Athens.”
South Carolina practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, all data points being vital to see if Doty can handle the live reps he’ll get in practice and if his body is able to handle it from a recovery standpoint.
“We’ll see how practice goes. Like I told you guys before, I’m not going to put Luke out there until he’s 100 percent. Everything we do in this program is about competition,” Beamer said.
“Luke has to be able to get into live team reps, live 7-on-7 reps and feel good and be able to execute but also feel good the next day as well. We’ll see how practice goes. We’re only on the field for about 45 minutes on Sunday night so Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday practices will be critical.”
If Doty can’t go, it’ll likely be Noland starting again. Noland struggled early in the game, starting 7-for-15 for 109 yards (7.3 yards per attempt) with an interception but finished 6-for-9 for 80 yards (8.9 yards) and a score.
“He was up and down. Early on I think he missed some throws and had some mistakes at the line of scrimmage with some protections we have to get better at. But he made some great throws,” Beamer said. “Overall, I would say it’s up and down but he, like our team, got better as the game went on.”
• Not a subscriber? Learn more about Gamecock Central here!
• Watch our live show and subscribe to our YouTube channel.
• Sign up for Gamecock Central's FREE news alerts and daily newsletter.
• Subscribe to our podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer!
• Follow Gamecock Central on Instagram @GamecockCentral.