For USC fans, Spring Game is a ‘great day for football’

mlucas@thestate.comApril 14, 2013 

Zack Sitton was on a mission Saturday. The 8-year-old was more than ready to dispense with pleasantries and get over to Williams-Brice Stadium to see his beloved Gamecocks.

His family, who had driven from Summerville to enjoy the University of South Carolina’s Garnet & Black Game, wasn’t moving fast enough to suit Zack.

Mom, Shana, dad, Brent and big sister, Allie, were taking in a little pregame fun in Gamecock Village on Saturday afternoon and having a good time relaxing near the Gamecock Walk.

“I want to see inside,” said Zack, looking longingly across Bluff Road at the stadium.

And while most 8-year-olds have a hard time being patient, there were just as many adults who couldn’t wait for the start of the annual end-of-spring-practice event. In fact, last year’s Spring Game brought out more than 34,000 fans.

“It’s a chance to see what talent you have and check out the young guys,” said Marcel Glock, of Elgin.

Glock, along with buddy Preston Watkins, were playing cornhole in front of their group’s Cockaboose early Saturday. Both said while Marcus Lattimore’s shoes would be tough to fill, fans shouldn’t overlook the new blood.

“You got three good running backs,” Watkins said. “You got Brandon Wilds, Mike Davis and (David) Williams.”

And don’t forget the quarterbacks, they added. Saturday’s game gave fans a chance to see Dylan Thompson, Austin Hails, Perry Orth, Brendan Nosovitch and Connor Mitch in action as well.

But can USC keep its momentum after off two back-to-back 11-win seasons?

“Yes,” said Mary Ann Cooper, unequivocally. Cooper and her group were having a good time tailgating at the State Fairgrounds.

“I think this is going to be a four-peat (against Georgia), we’re going to kill Clemson and we’re going to get an SEC Championship,” said the Greenwood native.

“She’s optimistic,” said her husband, John Cooper, laughing.

Sitting on a wall near the Gamecock Walk, David Thomas and Kentrell Samuel agreed with the Coopers on USC’s chances of another winning season.

But talk quickly turned to their favorite player, Jadeveon Clowney, and last year’s now famous “hit heard ’round the world” against Michigan running back Vincent Smith during the Outback Bowl.

“He is the beeeeast,” Thomas said.

“I can’t even explain it,” Samuel said. “The power, the speed, and when you put it all together, he’s unstoppable.”

“But I knew when he came in he’d live up to the hype,” Thomas said. “He was the highest-ranked recruit in college football.”

“I hope he wins the Heisman this year,” Samuel said.

Did the two have any other predictions or thoughts on the Spring Game?

“Just that it’s a beautiful day out here,” Taylor said. “A great day for football.”

 

Reach Lucas at (803) 771-8657.

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