The Gamecocks had plenty of it Monday morning after moving their football practice from last week’s evening time slot.
The players admitted the hot, muggy morning took its toll on their first go-around.
“It’s tough out here,” senior tight-end/fullback Patrick DiMarco said. “A lot of guys froze up mentally just because they got a little tired so we need to work on that. We’re going to get a couple of more mornings in, and a couple of nights in, and mix things up so we’re used to everything.”
But he believes the players will gradually build their stamina as they get used to the daytime conditions.
“I’m sure we’ll adapt with a couple of days under our belt with all this heat,” DiMarco said.” (Then) it’ll be just like a night practice and won’t seem so hot anymore. Hopefully, we can get our minds right.”
The coaching staff was cognizant of the toll the heat could take.
“They tried to give us a little break between each thing so we can get our breath and kind of get back together and put things where we need to put them,” DiMarco added.
Senior wide receiver Dion LeCorn, who battled injuries much of last season, stated the practice wasn’t any different drill-wise with the switch to morning. He believes the early practices will help the team once the season starts.
“The night is a little cooler, but we’ve got to play in the daytime, too,” LeCorn said. “With Georgia, we’ve got a 12 o’clock (noon kickoff on Sept. 11) so we have to get used to it.”
And the award goes to
USC junior quarterback Stephen Garcia was named to the watch list of 60 players nationally for the Maxwell Award, given to the top college football player in the country since 1937.
Garcia, who threw for 2,862 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, wasn’t alone either.
Sophomore cornerback Stephon Gilmore was one of 60 players named to the Bednarik Award watch list. The Chuck Bednarik Award, named after the collegiate and NFL Hall of Famer, has been given to the nation's top defensive player since 1995.
Semifinalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik awards will be announced Nov. 8 with the three finalists for each award announced Nov. 22. The winners will be announced on the ESPNU College Football Awards Show Dec. 9.
Two to go
Senior defensive end Cliff Matthews and DiMarco are the team’s two captains to date. But DiMarco expects a couple of more players to be named for the honor.
“We’ll probably announce here in the next week or two. I think it’s a team vote. So we’ll have two good guys to help back us up,” he said.
Ready to rumble
LeCorn said the players are excited about the team’s first scrimmage scheduled for Tuesday’s practice. The banter has already begun on both sides of the football.
“There’s been a lot of locker (room) talk, a lot of competiveness,” LeCorn said. “There’s going to be a lot of competition going on. It’s been offense and defense. ‘We’re going to get y’all, defense. We’re going to stop y’all.’”
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was still wearing a yellow jersey, but he practiced once again. A number of players, including running back Kenny Miles and linebackers Qua Gilchrist and Shaq Wilson, remained on the sidelines again with hamstring problems. Offensive tackle Jarriel King, who was out the first week, was at practice in a regular jersey.
Quote of the day
“That’s a big part of it. We don’t really have any set starters. Everybody is working for their starting positions so there’s a lot of competition going on,” said LeCorn, referencing the team’s talent and depth level one week into practice.
The Gamecocks will practice Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., with the first half of the session at the Bluff Road facility. The team will move Williams-Brice Stadium for the remainder of the practice, when the “younger guys” will scrimmage, according to a USC release quoting coach Steve Spurrier, who did not address the media Monday.
Tuesday’s practice is closed to the public and the media.