Five football story lines for Gamecocks assistant coaches to ponder as we await the first day of fall practice next Friday, Aug. 1:
1. SHARING THE LOAD
Sophomore Pharoh Cooper will have plenty of jobs this fall, from wide receiver to wildcat quarterback to punt and kickoff returner. That in mind, Damiere Byrd, Shaq Roland, Chris Moody and Shon Carson will get plenty of practice at the return positions this fall.
“Pharoh did a fantastic job last year as a young guy, but we are hoping some guys will step up and compete favorably with him and maybe take some of the load off him,” special teams coach Joe Robinson said. “I’ve been through a bunch of seasons, and it’s tough to go through a season with one guy doing both of those jobs, regardless of how much he is playing elsewhere, so we need to create some depth there.”
2. TOUGH LITTLE GUYS
Robinson praised the USC wide receivers for their contribution on special teams during his tenure at South Carolina.
“Since I have been here, I have been really proud of our wide receivers,” he said. “I think the wideouts have contributed as much as anywhere I have been.”
3. REPLACING CLOWNEY
Defensive line coach Deke Adams says the Gamecocks know life will be different without Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles and Chaz Sutton.
“We are going to have to change things up to help us just a little bit,” Adams said. “Last year, we could line up and rush four and get pressure on the quarterback. That’s probably not going to be as easy this year, so we will have to come up with some creative ways to get some guys free.”
4. A PLACE FOR COOPER
Cedrick Cooper never could crack the lineup at linebacker, but linebackers coach Kirk Botkin expects the junior to contribute now that he has moved to defensive end.
“He has bought into it,” Botkin said. “He’s trying to gain some weight, and he’s going to try to help the team however he can. That’s just the type of kid he is.”
5. A GOOD LOOK
Redshirt freshman running back David Williams was hampered by a hamstring injury for much of spring practice, and running backs coach Everette Sands is interested to see his young back at full speed this fall.
“We got a glimpse of what he can do but I am anxious to see what a 100 percent David Williams can do,” Sands said.