South Carolina held its first on-site practice for the Duck Commander Independence Bowl on Wednesday, and coach Steve Spurrier proclaimed it “the coldest practice of the year.”
The temperature hovered in the 40s throughout the two-hour, early afternoon workout, and a strong wind blew throughout. In fact, Spurrier traded it his customary visor for a black stocking cap.
“About the whole team was in stocking caps the last couple days,” he said. “We had a decent practice, little different from Columbia, that’s for sure. Dylan (Thompson) actually threw the ball around I thought very well today in this cold wind.”
The Gamecocks are practicing this week on the artificial surface of Messmer Stadium, home of the Loyola College Prep Flyers. South Carolina will practice twice more here (Thursday and Friday) before taking on Miami at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
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The Gamecocks will hold a chapel service and a team meal to celebrate Christmas, Spurrier said.
“I think we brought 99 players, and all the (coaches’) kids and grandkids and babysitters so, we got the entire entourage that we have been traveling to bowl games with,” Spurrier said.
The bowl game also is offering each team a bowling trip Thursday afternoon.
“Merry Christmas to all the Gamecocks back in South Carolina and all over the country,” Spurrier said. “Hopefully, our team will really play well here Saturday.”
Backup still up in the air
Spurrier would not reveal (or had not determined) Wednesday if Connor Mitch or Perry Orth would be the backup quarterback, if one is needed, against the Hurricanes.
“I’m not sure, probably rotate them,” Spurrier said.
Mitch has thrown six passes this season. Orth has thrown two. The pair will compete with Michael Scarnecchia for the starting job in the spring, Spurrier said Wednesday.
Defensive end David Johnson, who started the final five games of the regular season, will not play Saturday due to a concussion suffered in practice before the team left for Shreveport. Johnson accompanied the team here and watched Wednesday’s practice from the sidelines. Offensive lineman Cody Waldrop (knee) also sat out Wednesday’s practice and will miss the game.
Other players who did not practice or wore yellow jerseys were: OL Donell Stanley (left wrist), RG Mike Matulis (right knee) and TE Rory Anderson (left tricep).