Leading off Judging by his 3.0-plus grade point average in the spring, USC tailback Jarvis Giles had no trouble hitting the books.
But the Gamecocks’ playbook was another story.
Giles admitted being a little overwhelmed at times after graduating high school early and enrolling in January. But he credited teammates Stephen Garcia and Brian Maddox for helping him through the transition, and believes his experience in the spring will pay off in the fall.
“I feel a lot more advanced from January. My head was spinning (from) all the plays. Looking at the playbook, (it was) thick. … I was like, ‘Whoa, I don’t know what’s going on,’” Giles said Thursday. “I didn’t even study my playbook in high school. So coming into college and studying my playbook was actually a big change for me. I was like, ‘Wow.’”
Giles adds the ‘Wow’ factor to the USC offense with his quick burst and cutback ability – both of which were on display during the team portion of practice. The Tampa native said he does not mind sharing carries with Maddox and the other backs, saying each brings a different element to the rushing attack.
Giles just wants to play.
“I really hope (Steve) Spurrier puts me out there on that field,” he said. “That’s my dream.”
Stock rising Maddox’s toughness quotient. Known as a power runner, the 5-foot-11, 224-pound Maddox delivered a couple of punishing hits – leveling 6-8, 281-pound end Clifton Geathers on a chip block and running over strong safety Darian Stewart, one of the team’s best defenders.
Stock falling The coaches’ patience. The first day in shoulder pads prompted several coaches to ramp up the intensity – and decibel – levels. It could get saltier Saturday when the full pads come on.
“We’ve got a bunch of coaches that don’t like mistakes around here,” Spurrier said.
Injury report Cornerback Addison Williams, who has been working with the first team in place of the injured Akeem Auguste, pulled his right hamstring during 1-on-1s. Center Garrett Anderson (ankle) was back after missing part of Wednesday’s practice. Auguste, receivers Dion LeCorn (leg) and Lamar Scruggs (hamstring), defensive back Jay Spearman (shoulder), offensive lineman Ryan Broadhead (hamstring) and tailback Eric Baker (hernia) remained out.
Quote of the day “They’re a little on the pudgy side, if that’s what you mean. But they were on the pudgy side when we signed them. They haven’t had coach Fitz’s offseason program at all. So they don’t quite look like our other players right now,” – Spurrier on former Georgia Military offensive linemen Steven Singleton and Rokevious Watkins, who will go through a couple of acclimation days before practicing.
Extra points Spurrier said freshman Matt Coffee will greyshirt while rehabbing a knee injury that ended his senior season after two games. Coffee, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., will enroll in January. … USC continues to wait for freshmen Ben Axon and Leon Mackey to be cleared. … Devin Taylor looks like he could be a weapon on special teams: The 6-7 defensive end blocked a field goal when he jumped up and got his right hand on Spencer Lanning’s kick.
Up next The Gamecocks return to the practice fields for another helmet-and-shoulder pads workout at 7:30 p.m. today. The session is open to the public.