The South Carolina football team went out into the heat Monday, donning full pads and practicing in the afternoon sun.
Temperatures were in the low 90s for the 2:50 p.m. practice. USC’s season opener is 3 p.m. Sept. 2 against N.C. State in Charlotte.
The Gamecocks showed a bit of their defensive depth in Monday’s media viewing period, allowing for a few observations.
▪ The defense finished with a drill that had them pursue the ball down the field and then quickly get lined up again. That simulates facing an up-tempo attack, which USC will face in the season’s first two games.
In that drill, they showed several groups in the nickel defense.
Defensive line: end Dante Sawyer, Buck D.J. Wonnum, tackles Ulric Jones, Taylor Stallworth
Linebackers: Skai Moore, T.J. Brunson
Defensive backs: corners Jamarcus King, Rashad Fenton, nickel Jamyest Williams (freshman), safeties D.J. Smith and Chris Lammons
Defensive line: end Aaron Sterling (freshman), Buck Daniel Fennell, tackles Keir Thomas, Kobe Smith
Linebackers: Sherrod Greene (freshman), Eldridge Thompson
Defensive backs: cornerbacks Korey Banks (former wide receiver), Kaleb Chalmers, nickel Antoine Wilder, safeties Keisean Nixon, Javon Charleston
Defensive line: end Shameik Blackshear, Buck Brad Johnson, tackles Aaron Thompson, Javon Kinlaw
Linebackers: Davonne Bowen, Damani Staley
Defensive backs: corners Demetrius Smalls, Jaylan Foster, nickel Jason Senn, safeties Scott Grant, Zay Brown
▪ Practice opened with the “cock drill,” but not for defensive backs or pass catchers. They were on the far side of the field, working on screen collision drills, a staff favorite to start the part of the team off with some hitting. Here are a few of the matchups:
... Linebacker Davonne Bowen got the best of running back Caleb Kinlaw on a couple reps.
... Running back Ty’Son Williams continued to show blocking chops, controlling linebacker Eldridge Thompson.
... Despite being a smaller player, running back A.J. Turner held up well against freshman linebacker Damani Staley.
▪ Most of the team worked on what looked like kickoff drills in the middle open period. Defensive linemen were coming out of their stance and having to run over bags on the ground before delivering a pass-rush move to a foam pad. Quarterbacks were working on bootleg passes off under-center play-action fakes.
▪ Defensive backs Steven Montac (out 10 days with a stress fracture) and Jaylin Dickerson (shoulder surgery) were in yellow non-contact jerseys, as was wide receiver Randrecous Davis (soft tissue injury).
▪ The next practice with a media viewing period is Wednesday morning.