USC Gamecocks Football

While one big name still waits to be full go, USC’s running backs are impressing

Ten practices into preseason camp and Will Muschamp knows the following about South Carolina’s running back situation: Rico Dowdle is in great shape, Mon Denson is progressing, A.J. Turner is playing cornerback and Tavien Feaster had an infected tooth.

The USC coach has had time to make on-field observations about nearly everyone in his RB room. But after Monday’s scrimmage, he’s eager to see the room’s latest addition on full display.

Feaster, the ballyhooed Clemson transfer, has yet to practice at full contact because of a dental issue.

“We had to remove his tooth,” Muschamp said. “It was an infected tooth and they didn’t want him to have contact.”

The Gamecocks are off Tuesday. Feaster is expected to be cleared Wednesday. Perhaps it’s then when Muschamp, offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon and company will get their fairest evaluation yet of which Gamecock back should be featured most this season.

“No doubt,” Muschamp said. “We’ve been very pleased (with Feaster). He’s extremely intelligent. He can learn. He’s done a really nice job of coming in, and the guys have really bought in with him as far as moving forward. There’s been nothing but positive … we’re looking forward to him being in some contact situations.”

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Once a five-star prospect, Feaster ran for 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns in three season with the Tigers. The USC offense didn’t have Feaster’s full services Monday, but it was the ground attack Muschamp praised most in his post-scrimmage review.

“We’re actually running the ball better,” Muschamp said. “We need to throw it better. I thought we’ve run the ball pretty consistently in camp, but we’re not as consistent in the throwing game.”

USC finished 12th in the SEC last season in rushing offense. Dowdle, with 654 yards, was the team’s leading rusher, followed by Denson (432).

“I think Rico and Mon did some nice things,” Muschamp said Monday of the seniors. “I think both of those guys have had good camps. Rico’s been in the best shape he’s been in and I like what I saw from those guys running the football.”

Turner, a senior with 1,322 rushing yards to his name, was a corner only on Monday, Muschamp said.

“He did a really nice job,” Muschamp said.

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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