South Carolina will boast one of its more experienced offensive lines under Steve Spurrier. The Gamecocks five projected starters up front have combined for 52 career starts, and four of them are upperclassmen.
And despite the lines rough day in Saturdays scrimmage, when Stephen Garcia was sacked five times, Spurrier thinks the oft-maligned unit will be OK.
We had some older guys in the past, we wish they could have played a little better. Just because youre a fourth- or fifth-year guy doesnt necessarily mean youre a really, really good player, Spurrier said Monday. But theyre bigger and stronger, and I really think our lines going to play better this year.
But weve got to wait and see. Ive been saying that every year, it seems like.
The porous protection in the scrimmage backups Connor Shaw and Andrew Clifford also were sacked was a troubling sign for a line that has given up an average of 38 sacks the past two seasons.
The performance did not sit well with first-year offensive line coach Shawn Elliott, the former Appalachian State assistant who replaced Eric Wolford in the offseason.
Its not going to be tolerated. I agree with him 100 percent, center T.J. Johnson said. We had a lot of lack of efforts and people just going through the motions. That cant happen.
Tight end Weslye Saunders finally got a little good news. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound senior was named to the 32-member John Mackey Award watch list, an annual award given to the nations best tight end.
Saunders has practiced under the shadow of an NCAA investigation for the past month.
On the field, however, Saunders, has looked good. Heading into his final season, he has caught 60 passes for 718 yards and six touchdowns.
The offensive line depth continues to take a hit. With backups Ryan Broadhead and Cody Gibson already out with knee injuries, two more reserves joined the injured list freshman Tramell Williams (shoulder) and senior Steven Singleton (concussion).
A pair of freshmen are currently working with the second unit A.J. Cann and Ronald Patrick.
Freshman defensive lineman J.T. Surratt is sidelined with a right shoulder sprain, while reserve safety Corey Addison continues to recover from a concussion. Starting tight end/fullback Patrick DiMarco, who has a cracked bone in his left forearm, sported a larger wrap on the arm Monday. DiMarco is expected to be out another week.
Quote of the day
The weathers much better than it has been. This is fat man weather here. I believe we just stepped it up and had a lot better day, the 6-foot-4, 302-pound Johnson on Mondays cooler temperatures.
... Kenny Miles, the returning starter at tailback, is back running full-speed after nursing a hamstring injury the first two weeks of camp. It feels good. I finally got to have a full practice, Miles said. It was good to be out there and be with my linemen again.
Spurrier said a trio of redshirt freshman wideouts played well in Saturdays scrimmage Lamar Scruggs, DeMario Bennett and DeAngelo Smith.
After Mondays practice, players went to the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center for its annual pool party.
The Gamecocks will practice Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.