Just got back from the W-B. Here is a probably too-long rundown, broken into the good, the bad, along with general and personnel observations:
GOODReid McCollum, other than one interception, had a very good day. He hit Tori Gurley on a wide-open 57-yard pass, Weslye Saunders on a nice play-action left sideline pass for 30 yards, and even had some running yards on designed keepers.
Kenny Miles may have cemented himself into the tailback conversation. He showed good ability to run up the middle, gaining 11 in his first carry, then broke open down the sideline on his second carry for a 39-yard gain.
The running game as a whole did well, especially in getting runs up the middle. That may have had a lot to do with one projected starting DT, Nate Pepper, being held out, and the other, Ladi Ajiboye, getting sporadic reps. But Ellis Johnson made a point of praising the improvement of the Gamecocks’ running game.
Saunders looks to be a good safety valve, and more. McCollum and Garcia both found him on long pass plays. Saunders did most of the work on a 49-yard play from Garcia.
NOT-SO-GOODThe snaps from center were almost comically poor. There were two long losses on the first drive alone, and one fumbled snap recovered by the defense. Another the offense fell on. Besides that, a lot of the snaps were just slow getting to the quarterback, throwing off the timing of the play.
Stephen Garcia did not have his best showing. There was a pick-six to Chris Culliver, and some incompletions. He did, however, have a nice third-and-25 pass where he threaded in a 14-yarder to Saunders.
PERSONNELC.C. Whitlock opened at right cornerback with Akeem Auguste being held out. But Ellis Johnson said after the scrimmage that it’s getting to the point where Whitlock may be giving Auguste a real push, mainly because one guy has been out there and another has not.
Aramis Hillary got sporadic playing time. He’s a long way now from actually pushing for the No. 2 job.
Lemuel Jeanpierre started at center. Garrett Anderson came in next, and Seaver Brown in later. But none of them could snap the ball well.
Elsewhere on the line, Heath Batchelor got the start at right guard, Terrence Campbell at left guard, and Quintin Richardson at right tackle.
Stephon Gilmore was the only punt return man on Sunday. We did not see him at QB in any Cocky formations, however.
Melvin Ingram ran first-team at defensive tackle. He’s the guy right now, according to Johnson, with Ladi Ajiboye set to be out the first three games.
GENERAL OBSERVATIONSAlshon Jeffery will be on the field this season, and perhaps a lot. The freshman receiver brought “oohs” from the team when he juked one defender then carried two more tacklers on a 22-yard gain. And on a 54-yard touchdown pass from McCollum, Jeffery caught the ball on the right sideline, and looked effortless as he cut upfield and into the end zone.
Eric Wolford is very loud. He also is taking a big role, yelling instructions at Garcia, even though Wolford is the offensive line coach and running game coordinator.
Bryce Sherman was getting a long look. The speedy walk-on showed he could take a hit and occasionally even move a few tacklers forward.
For what it’s worth, Spencer Lanning was the designated field-goal kicker, and he struggled. Lanning missed a 36-yarder near the end, then was given three straight chances to hit from 47 yards. He only made the last one. Lanning and Yates split the extra-point tries, while Yates was the kickoff guy.