David Cloninger

All things Gamecocks, especially basketball and football

Cloninger Soundoff: Surprising development on special teams

08/22/2013 9:17 PM

08/22/2013 9:22 PM

Elliott Fry was brought in for a reason. If Thursday’s practice was any indication, this is why.

Steve Spurrier said Fry has taken the lead in South Carolina’s place-kicking competition, a bit of a surprising development considering that the freshman walk-on was competing with scholarship kicker Nick St. Germain and the listed leader on the preseason depth chart, Landon Ard. Ard might still be the Gamecocks’ kickoff artist, but it might be Fry who’s called on to hit the field goals and PATs.

Fry wouldn’t be running with the first team unless he had been consistent in practice. While Spurrier has said it might come down to who looks best in warm-ups before the game, it’s a big shot of confidence to name one guy now and have him know that for the next week.

USC is starting to realize how lucky it was to have Ryan Succop and Spencer Lanning, each in the NFL and each either stunningly talented or just a gritty kid who would never be out-worked. They’ve been trying to replace that the past two years, but more and more, USC started going for the touchdown instead of kicking.

If Fry can boom one from 45 yards or so on Aug. 29, perhaps it helps change USC’s game plan. Then again, if he shanks one from 23 and the competition gets re-opened, perhaps the recruiting class will shift focus to the top-ranked prep kickers that are still out there.

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