Notebook: Gilmore more concerned with defense

Spurrier eager to add freshmen linemen

jperson@thestate.comApril 11, 2010 

USC's Stephon Gilmore gains yardage after making an interception against quarterback Stephen Garcia during the Garnet and Black Spring game at Williams-Brice Stadium.

C. ALUKA BERRY/CABERRY@THESTATE.COM

Stephon Gilmore was responsible for two of the three interceptions in South Carolina's spring game - one he picked and another he threw.

He was more concerned about the former.

Gilmore had a tough time throwing Saturday during his only series in the WildCock formation. The freshman from Rock Hill short-hopped the intended receiver on his first pass, and his second one was underthrown and picked off by Brandan Davis.

Gilmore pointed out that he does not get much time to work on his passing.

"I'm not a quarterback. I'm a cornerback," Gilmore said.

Gilmore, a freshman All-American last season, said improving as a corner is his first priority.

"I'm not the best I can be at cornerback right now. I don't want to be struggling at cornerback, and then try to be somewhere else on offense," he said. "I'll do (passing drills) on my own."

Gilmore hopes to improve on his performance in 2009, when he had eight pass breakups but only one interception.

"I think this year is going to be better than my freshman year tackling-wise and making a play on the ball and (recognizing) where the receivers are lining up."

Waiting on linemen

There was no blitzing, but that was only part of the reason Saturday's game was a poor predictor for whether the offensive line will improve this fall.

There were 10 healthy linemen available for the spring game. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks are awaiting their class of six offensive linemen, which Rivals.com ranked eighth nationally at that position.

"We're looking forward to some of those freshman offensive linemen getting in here and seeing what they look like," USC coach Steve Spurrier said.

Spurrier was asked if a freshman lineman could play in the SEC.

"If he's the best player, he'll play," Spurrier said. "It doesn't matter if it's here or the Southern Conference. Coaches try to play the best players."

Tradition continues

USC called the Scott Spurrier play in the second quarter when receiver Cedric Snead ran off the bench to catch a 70-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Clifford. Even better than the trick/illegal play, which was wiped out by penalty, was Snead's reaction.

After somersaulting into the end zone, Snead did a celebratory dance with Davis and threw the ball into the stands, drawing more flags.

"He got a bunch of penalties on that play, didn't he? Celebration, into the stands, off the bench," Spurrier said. "I don't know what would've happened in a real game if that had occurred."

Spurrier runs the play every year in the spring game. His son was on the receiving end in past years.

The envelopes please

USC handed out its annual spring awards before the game. Linebacker Shaq Wilson and tight end Patrick DiMarco received the Joe Morrison MVP awards. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore was named the MVP of the Clemson game, while safety DeVonte Holloman, whom Spurrier said has a 3.2 GPA, received the presidential scholar-athlete award.

Take a bow

Several of USC's active NFL players attending the game were recognized on the video board: Carolina offensive lineman Travelle Wharton, New Orleans offensive lineman Na'Shan Goddard and Denver defensive back Andre Goodman.

Shaw, players comment on game

Coach Johnson's comments

Seth Emerson contributed to this report. Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.

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