As the South Carolina football team crossed the halfway point of spring practice, the players got a little something extra from coach Will Muschamp.
But maybe more the sort of thing a team appreciates in the moment when it wrapped up Saturday morning.
“We’ve gone three days in a row kind of purposely for me to push our guys through,” Muschamp said. “Thursday was a very physical day. Friday was more of a loose downs, one-minute, third downs. (Saturday) was a very physical day.”
Building the team’s toughness has been a big emphasis for the Gamecocks through this spring. A year ago, the Gamecocks often struggled to win battles up front on either side of the line.
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USC regularly struggled to run the ball inside in 2016 and it’s defensive tackles had trouble standing up to double teams.
The stresses placed on a team through the grind of out-of-season practice often provide something extra once the games begin, and the Gamecocks closed the three-day run with a scrimmage that was longer than expected.
“We needed that,” Muschamp said of what his team went through across the three days. “We needed to grind them through that. I appreciate how our guys responded.”
Eight and eight
The midway point of spring practice is as good a point as any to take stock, and as Muschamp looked at where his team is now, it’s a long way from last year.
“It’s night and day,” Muschamp said. “More than anything, I think we’ve got some depth on the offensive line. We’ve got some depth in the front seven, not at linebacker, but certainly in our front four. We’ve got depth at defensive back. We’ve got options as far as skill guys are concerned. To have that experience back, to understand a little bit more what we’re expecting as far as how practice needs to be administered.”