Leading into Saturday’s scrimmage, the South Carolina football team wasn’t in pads and opened Friday’s practice with a long stretch of individual position drills. Then they turned to offense and defense working against loose scout teams made of players from their own side of the ball.
With the caveat those groups can be pretty fluid, a few things stood out.
▪ With safety Steven Montac in a yellow non-contact jersey, corner Chris Lammons was at safety with the first-team defense. The coaches seemed to be moving players around, so it looked like Jamarcus King either moved to safety for a few plays or at least played the deep middle.
▪ The defense was mostly playing three linebackers instead of the standard nickel. The trio of Sherrod Greene, Eldridge Thompson and Antoine Wilder formed the second group of linebackers, with Javon Charleston and Keisean Nixon at safety and Tavyn Jackson and Jamyest Williams at corner. Williams slid inside to nickel later on.
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▪ On the offensive side, junior college transfer Dennis Daley was at first-team left tackle. The Ridge View High School product has drawn praise from coaches and is battling with Malik Young and Sadarius Hutcherson for the job.
▪ The starting group of skill players was mostly the standard one the depth chart shows, though Shi Smith rotated into the slot. One of the reserve groups of receivers was Chad Terrell and Smith on the outside, with Kiel Pollard and Kyle Markway as tight ends.
▪ Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper showed some fire, getting after a receiver who didn’t run out a play. He later looked pleased when Pollard raced up the middle on a shovel pass and didn’t slow down. USC broke out a couple shovel passes during the open period of practice.
▪ The second group of linemen that went in was Javon Kinlaw and Kobe Smith at tackle, Daniel Fennell at Buck and Keir Thomas at end.
▪ The rest of the drills were mostly position-specific. Running backs were running over bags to get knees high and negotiate though obstacles on the ground. Tight ends had to catch passes and then duck under a frame as they turned upfield. Offensive linemen worked through various double teams, while defensive backs caught balls while going through different drops and breaks. The quarterbacks, at one point, were doing strength drills, throwing and catching heavy medicine balls.
▪ Shameik Blackshear, who Lance Thompson said Thursday has missed time with a concussion, was at least in a helmet and jersey. Jaylin Dickerson remains in a yellow jersey.
▪ An Indianapolis Colts scout was in the building, as was USC AD Ray Tanner and radio play-by-play man Todd Ellis.