It’s a rite of the preseason — South Carolina goes along very well and then one night, doesn’t do so well.
Thursday was that night.
“Pretty sorry practice tonight, it really was,” coach Steve Spurrier said. “Offensive guys didn’t look very good, had trouble snapping the ball to the quarterback, just pretty sloppy. Pass protection was not very good. But, we don’t play for three weeks, so we got some time to, hopefully, get these young guys ready, in case they have to play. Other than that, nothing to brag about from the offense.”
Spurrier pointed out that the defense did well, and it wasn’t all terrible on offense. Receiver Jody Fuller was praised for the second consecutive night.
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And, Spurrier said, there is the worry of peaking too soon. With three weeks to go until the Aug. 29 season-opener against North Carolina, nobody’s panicking. Just the normal struggles.
“Mostly the young guys, and quarterbacks and so forth,” Spurrier said. “Wasn’t real pretty tonight.”
Saturday, here in the park
Saturday’s first scrimmage of the preseason will, like most scrimmages, feature the younger players. All the quarterbacks will play, but Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson will take only a few snaps each.
The scrimmage also will have the Gamecocks in full pads, something they haven’t done yet this preseason. The session is closed to the public.
Receiver Shamier Jeffery, who returned to practice after sitting out a couple of sessions with an ankle injury, said he lost 20 to 25 pounds and is playing at 195 this season. Right tackle Brandon Shell said that he lost eight pounds and is playing at 322.
Don’t call him Dusty
Junior walk-on Sidney Rhodes continues to impress in the preseason, doing whatever needs to be done. It’s not surprising, considering the effort he’s displayed since he transferred from Western Carolina.
Rhodes got his name in print last year when Spurrier praised him for his special-teams work. Rhodes earned a letter in 2012 after recording five tackles in 12 games.
“He’s one of the first guys down on kickoff coverage,” Spurrier said last year. “He’s got a chance to earn a scholarship, hopefully real soon.”
Rhodes said he hasn’t heard the praise.
“I honestly don’t even worry about it,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “I don’t have enough time to watch TV or anything like that. Pretty much, from practice straight to bed, meals and everything in between.”
Rhodes is listed as a third-string cornerback besides his work on every special teams formation.
“Definitely, the biggest role I play is on all the special teams,” he said. “I just try to get in where I fit in. I’m just trying to play my role and earn my keep on the defensive side right now.”
Give me a chance
Freshman David Williams might not be listed on the four-man tailback depth chart, but he doesn’t plan on sitting without a fight. He says he hasn’t heard the term “redshirt” from the coaches, and he’s going to battle for a spot this season.
“I’m coming in every day trying to compete, get the plays down,” Williams said. “I’m just in here trying to get better.”
Spurrier said junior left tackle Mike Matulis will have surgery on Friday to scrape a bone spur on his shoulder. “There’s a good chance he’ll redshirt this year,” he said.
Players who did not practice or wore yellow jerseys were: J.T. Surratt (back), Kyle Morini (dislocated elbow), Bruce Ellington (hamstring), Cedrick Cooper (dislocated left elbow), Rory “Busta” Anderson (hamstring) and Cody Gibson (sprained right knee).
The Gamecocks will practice again at 7 p.m. on Friday. It is closed to the public.
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