Senior Brison Williams is the leader of South Carolina’s secondary, a title he earned with 24 starts in 33 games over the past three seasons. It’s no surprise that the Gamecocks’ coaches are leaning on him to help ease the transition of the rookie class of defensive backs.
Williams, listed as starting strong safety on the preseason depth chart, will be pulling double duty this year. He’ll rotate from corner to safety, wherever the coaches need him the most.
“I can do that, because my last three years, I’ve been playing safety,” Williams said on Friday. “I wouldn’t mind jumping back at safety if the defense really needs me.”
Named Most Improved Cornerback in the spring, Williams is helping freshmen Al Harris, D.J. Smith, Chris Lammons and Wesley Green learn the intricacies of playing corner. The freshmen will play, but there will be a lot of in-game switching if the expected rough days occur.
“If the young guys are doing good at corner, I might go back to safety,” Williams said. “If the safeties are doing very good, I’m going to play corner. I’m just going with the flow every day.”
The Gamecocks worked out for two hours Saturday night, avoiding the rain until the final moments of practice.
The highlight of the workout was an 80-yard touchdown catch by quarterback-turned-tight end Brendan Nosovitch near the end of practice. The final play of practice saw Nosovitch complete a pass to Nick Jones, who made a circus catch.
Senior receiver Nick Jones is being picked to have a breakout year. Catching passes from his buddy Dylan Thompson (both are Upstate natives), Jones could be the answer to the question of Bruce Ellington’s replacement.
“Starting a new journey, it felt good,” Jones said. “All of (the receivers) are real talented guys.”
Smell the glove
Thompson continues to sport a glove on his non-throwing hand. Predecessor Connor Shaw was known for wearing a glove on his throwing hand.
Senior Tyler Hull continues to work at first-team punter. Hull, a two-year starter, averaged 39.4 yards per punt in 2012 but dropped to 37.8 in 2013.
The Gamecocks imported sophomore Zach Cimaglia, a transfer from North Carolina A&T, to challenge Hull and senior Patrick Fish is also on the depth chart. Fish, the team’s starting holder, has three career punts, all in 2012.
Junior defensive tackle Abu Lamin and incoming freshman wide receiver Terry Googer joined the injury report Saturday with undisclosed injuries. Lamin and Googer conditioned on the sideline during practice and did not appear seriously injured. Googer appeared to injure his hamstring during Friday night’s practice.
Other players who did not practice or wore yellow jerseys were: TE K.C. Crosby (right foot), WR Shaq Davidson (right knee), TE Rory “Busta” Anderson (right tricep), DE Blake McClain (foot, hand), TE Jacob August (right foot), OL Alan Knott (right knee), RB Mike Davis (hamstring), OL Brock Stadnik (knee), CB D.J. Smith (wisdom teeth) and OL Donell Stanley (wrist).
Media Day is Sunday afternoon. The Gamecocks will next practice at 7:15 p.m. on Sunday. It is open to the public.