South Carolina will practice for the final time Friday before Saturday’s annual Garnet and Black Spring Game, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium.
It has been well documented that star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney probably will not play due to precautionary reasons concerning his sprained neck, but fans can expect to see most other starters in the first half before giving way to younger players for most of the second half.
The Gamecocks will play four 12-minute quarters with the clock stopping in the first half but running continuously in the second half.
There are plans to introduce the USC women’s basketball team and the SEC champion equestrian team during halftime. Ted Hendricks, the former college and NFL great, will be on hand to give Clowney the 2012 Ted Hendricks Award that is given to the nation’s top defensive end each season. Coach Steve Spurrier will present the spring awards during intermission.
“We’re looking forward to a big crowd on Saturday,” Spurrier said. “The weather is supposed to be beautiful. At halftime, we’ll honor a couple of the girls teams — the women’s basketball team and the equestrian team, the 2013 SEC champs. They will be out there at halftime, then we’ll have our halftime awards. Hopefully, we’ll have a good crowd out, and the game will go according to plan, no injuries and everybody leave in a good frame of mind.”
Spurrier said quarterbacks Dylan Thompson, Austin Hails and Perry Orth will be on one team against Brendan Nosovitch and Connor Mitch. The offense will be in garnet jerseys, while the defense will wear white jerseys. The quarterbacks and kickers will be in either garnet or black jerseys and the score will be kept depending on who is quarterback at the time of any scoring plays.
The rest of the team will split snaps.
Back in good graces
The small controversy from a couple of weeks ago when 12 recently departed players missed a dinner in their honor at the USC President’s House and had their weight room privileges suspended seems to be over. South Carolina will hold a banquet in their honor Friday night when the team receives rings for an 11-2 record and Outback Bowl championship.
Spurrier expects nearly all the players to be in attendance, and they will be introduced to the crowd at halftime of the spring game. He named DJ Swearinger and Justice Cunningham specifically; those were two of the players that were the most vocal on social media about not being allowed in the weight room.
“Most of them are all in good graces,” Spurrier said. “They’ve written their apology letter. We’ve called it a misunderstanding. Maybe word didn’t get to them effectively and the importance of the word didn’t get to them as effectively as maybe as we could have. We’ll make amends and everybody will be happy.”
Spurrier showcased the ring for the media after Thursday’s practice. It is very similar to last year’s rings with the Block C inside the number 11 with a black background.
After the spring game, workouts and practice times will be spearheaded by the players. Spurrier expects that aspect to be fully covered despite the fact the Gamecocks have four scholarship seniors.
“We’ve got excellent leadership,” Spurrier said. “Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson will organize the receivers and running backs to do pass skeleton stuff. Over on defense, we’ve got some older guys — Victor Hampton, Jimmy Legree and Brison Williams — that will help organize that. I think we’re in good hands for the summer.”
Steve Spurrier Jr. believes his young unit got much better over spring practice. They had to replace leading receiver Ace Sanders, who departed for the NFL after his junior season.
“We wanted to develop leadership and try and identify those guys that can play,” Spurrier Jr. said. “Finding guys that are tough, guys that can think quick, move quick and play quick. We’ve gotten better and really improved. The spring is for the young guys to learn how to play. I’ve talked about Shaq Roland. He’s had some sloppy days, but he’s improved and he’s moving quicker. Shamier Jeffery has done well. K.J. Brent had a banged-up shoulder some, but he has played well.”
Video: Steve Spurrier from Thursday