The first one’s in the books.
Hard to take too much from an opening night practice in shorts and helmets, but a couple players caught my eye.
Tight end Justice Cunningham, a freshman from Pageland Central, looked athletic for a guy his size (6-3, 242). He made a nice catch in pass skeleton, and he plays a “need” position for the Gamecocks with no established tight ends behind starter Weslye Saunders.
All of the tight ends have to improve their blocking. That’s not based on anything from Tuesday night … just sayin’.
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Tailback Brian Maddox picked up where he left off in the spring, looking every bit like the most complete back on the roster.
Steve Spurrier was impressed, too. “Brian Maddox is a lot quicker,” he said. “I watched him going one-one-one with linebackers and he looks like a different athlete than he was last year.”
–RBs coach Jay Graham said he expects Ben Axon to be on campus soon, and he plans to give the freshman from Florida a shot once he gets here. Axon entered pretrial intervention in his home state last month on a marijuana charge.
–Spurrier has not confirmed the suspensions of DT Ladi Ajiboye and OL Kyle Nunn, though I’m told each will miss the first three games for violating athletics department policy.
–Associate athletics director Charles Waddell, who handles football scheduling, said in addition to finding a replacement for UNC on next year’s schedule, officials are trying to move games against Troy and Furman so the Gamecocks will have an open date after four games rather than the week before the Clemson game.