South Carolina football is going under wraps now until the season-opener on Aug. 30 against Vanderbilt.
Wednesday night’s open scrimmage, which drew an impressive 8,000 or so folks to Williams-Brice Stadium, was the last open workout of the season (unless Steve Spurrier changes his mind, which has been known to happen).
Junior Marcus Lattimore looked as good as he could be expected to look, carrying the ball five times (for 23 yards) against teammates who clearly are hesitant to hit him full speed. The only challenge remaining for Lattimore can’t be met until he plays the Commodores, so I wouldn’t expect him to get much more full contact work this preseason (although, we won’t know for sure, as the gates are closed for media, too).
For me, the most interesting element of Wednesday was the herky-jerky nature of the passing game, which was reminiscent of the entire 2011 season. Sometimes, the Gamecocks looked great and sometimes they did not.
Starting quarterback Connor Shaw hit 9-of-12 passes but more telling were the times he didn’t throw the ball due to good coverage or indecision. Those are the type of plays that drive Spurrier crazy.
“I thought we would throw and catch a little bit better tonight when we had time to throw,” Spurrier said. “We had a few overthrows, a few misfires, but that’s the way it happened. That’s why we keep rating them and judging our players.”
Make no mistake, Shaw will be the starter on Aug. 30 and throughout the season barring injury, but Wednesday night proved there is still room for the Gamecocks’ passing game to grow.
In case you missed it, here are the full statistics from Wednesday night’s scrimmage:
... Kenny Miles 5-yard run (Adam Yates kick)
... Jerell Adams 16-yard pass from Seth Strickland (Landon Ard kick)
... Justice Cunningham 22-yard pass from Connor Shaw (Yates kick)
... Landon Ard 28-yard field goal
PASSING: Andrew Clifford 10-13-0-142; Connor Shaw 9-12-0-98, 1 TD; Dylan Thompson 4-11-2-77; Seth Strickland 3-7-1-41, 1 TD. TOTALS: 26-43-3-358, 2 TD.
RUSHING: Damiere Byrd 2-28; Joshua Blue 3-24; Marcus Lattimore 5-23; Kenny Miles 5-18, 1 TD; Dylan Thompson 6-17; Mike Davis 4-8; Shon Carson 2-2; Andrew Clifford 7-(-14); Connor Shaw 4-(-33). TOTALS: 38-73, 1 TD.
RECEIVING: Jerell Adams 4-83, 1 TD; Bruce Ellington 3-38; K.J. Brent 3-31; Shamier Jeffery 2-24; Mike Davis 2-17; D.L. Moore 2-14; Shaq Roland 1-42; Blair Lowery 1-24; Justice Cunningham 1-22, 1 TD; Kenny Miles 1-18; Ace Sanders 1-10; Qua Gilchrist 1-9; Jody Fuller 1-8; DeAngelo Smith 1-8; Marcus Lattimore 1-5, Damiere Byrd 1-5. TOTALS: 26-358, 2 TD.