Bryan McClendon didn’t like the inference of talking about redshirting for his guys.
The South Carolina wide receivers coach may well end up holding back one of his freshmen for development, but that’s not something you talk about two weeks into fall camp.
“Where we are mentally right now, (we’re) getting all those guys ready to play,” McClendon said. “So those guys, right now, we’re not even talking about redshirting. We’re getting everyone ready to play.”
That mean’s there’s no plan to bring someone along slowly, even if coming along slowly is the path Gamecocks freshman Chad Terrell happened to take in his first set of practices in Columbia.
Terrell came in with OrTre Smith and Shi Smith, two four-star talents who were each rated the top prospect in the state of South Carolina by at least one recruiting service. Shi Smith has already received praise from coaches and teammates, and OrTre Smith got a jump on things by enrolling early.
Terrell has gone though his own process.
McClendon said Terrell picked things up once last weekend started, and Will Muschamp echoed that, saying he “made tremendous strides” in terms of being able to contribute this season.
There was a key reason for it.
“He’s a really sharp kid, kind of over-analyzes stuff because he so intellectual about everything,” McClendon said. “Some of that stuff you just got to go out there and get to it. At first he was playing slow, and then he’s kind of started to crank it up a little more and playing at the tempo that we need him to play at. Now he’s still not there, but he’s gotten a lot better.”
McClendon called it a natural process for many freshman players, and he certainly knows the ropes, having been a solid wide receiver who built himself into a productive player at Georgia before getting a cup of coffee in the NFL.
Terrell had 64 catches for 1,236 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at North Paulding High in Dallas, Ga. He is a bigger receiver at 6-foot-3, 212 pounds, and McClendon has said his explosiveness is exceptional for that size. Throw in leaping ability and good ball skills, and he’s at least and interesting prospect going forward.
He’s also facing a crowded position. USC has a pair of established star receivers, two sophomores who played last year and the two members of his class rated ahead of him. USC’s staff prefers to go into games with six or seven receivers, and with veteran Terry Googer in the mix, Terrell has ground to make up after starting camp slow.
But the staff and team aren’t to the end yet.
“When it gets a little bit closer to that, I’m sure that’s when decisions will be made,” McClendon said. “There is no, ‘We want to bring a guy along a little slowly,’ and things like that. We want to get guys ready to play and competing and having guys fight for playing time and fight for starting jobs.”