The offense had its moments, but the defense won the day Saturday during South Carolina’s first live action of spring practice.
“The defense, I think, got the best of the offense today, but that was expected,” coach Steve Spurrier said after the Gamecocks worked out for two hours in Williams-Brice Stadium.
South Carolina had planned to hold one of its three spring scrimmages Saturday, but changed that plan and only ran scrimmage plays for the last half of its practice. The Gamecocks plan to use their three NCAA-allotted scrimmages the next three Saturdays, concluding with the April 9 spring game.
South Carolina’s offensive players are probably happy this one did not count.
“We’ve got some young offensive linemen that need to learn how play,” Spurrier said. “We are a little thin in the O-line. Maybe we need to recruit some of those defensive linemen who are not playing, maybe that would be the thing to do.”
The Gamecocks’ first offensive line had senior Rokevious Watkins at left tackle, senior Terrence Campbell at left guard, junior T.J. Johnson at center, freshman A.J. Cann at right guard and senior Kyle Nunn at right tackle. South Carolina rotated in Ronald Patrick, Kaleb Broome, Cody Gibson and Corey Robinson.
None of the team’s young linemen stood out enough “to brag on them yet,” Spurrier said.
Sophomore Connor Shaw, South Carolina’s top quarterback in the absence of the suspended Stephen Garcia, was 6-for-15 passing for 78 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.
“He did OK,” Spurrier said. “I thought he’d be a little quicker with his decisions, but then again the protection at times was not very good. He had done such a good job of getting the ball out of his hands in practice and then all of a sudden we were just a little hesitant out here today. That’s why we practice. I expect him next week to be just a little quicker making decisions and getting the ball out of his hands.”
Redshirt freshman Dylan Thompson had the best day among the quarterbacks, completing 8-of-14 passes for 86 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown pass to DeAngelo Smith.
“DeAngelo, D.D., we call him, made a beautiful grab on a deep ball, and he’s had a good week of practice,” Spurrier said. “D.D. Smith is coming around, and Jason Barnes has made some nice-looking grabs.”
Ace Sanders had the only other touchdown catch, a 45-yard grab from Seth Strickland.
Standouts such as running back Marcus Lattimore, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and defensive tackle Travian Robertson didn’t participate in the scrimmage because the team wanted to evaluate less proven players.
Safeties D.J. Swearinger and Jared Shaw and linebacker Shaq Wilson had interceptions.
“I’m sure we’ve got a ton of missed assignments,” assistant head coach for defense Ellis Johnson said. “It was to me a typical first scrimmage, not very smooth or crisp or sharp.”
DeAngelo Smith 38-yard pass from Dylan Thompson (Adam Yates kick)
Jay Wooten 35-yard field goal
Ace Sanders 45-yard pass from Thompson (Joey Scribner-Howard kick)
PASSING: Dylan Thompson 9-15-1-131, 2 TDs; Connor Shaw 6-15-2-78; Seth Strickland 7-9-0-23. TOTALS: 22-39-3-232, 2 TDs.
RUSHING: Eric Baker 7-34; Josh Hinch 2-12; Kenny Miles 5-8; Joshua Blue 1-5; Ace Sanders 1-2; Seth Strickland 1-1; Connor Shaw 5-(-1); Dylan Thompson 1-(-3). TOTALS: 23-58.
RECEIVING: Ace Sanders 4-61, 1 TD; Eric Baker 4-17; Jason Barnes 2-45; Kenny Miles 2-20; Chaun Gresham 2-13; Lamar Scruggs 2-5; DeAngelo Smith 1-38, 1 TD; Nick Jones 1-14; Byce Sherman 1-7; D.L. Moore 1-5; Billy Byrne 1-4; Corey Simmons 1-3. TOTALS: 22-232, 2 TDs.
Steve Spurrier's post-practice comments