USC Gamecocks Football

Injured Gamecocks lineman back with starters, at different spot

The South Carolina football team wrapped up three consecutive open practices Wednesday, the last time the public can watch the team until the opener Sept. 1 against Vanderbilt. Below are observations from the session.

▪  Center/guard Alan Knott was working at first-team guard in place of guard Zack Bailey. A 17-game starter the past two seasons, Knott was sidelined much of the offseason with a thumb injury, which kept him from playing center.

▪  Defensive back Steven Montac was no longer in a yellow no-contact jersey.

▪  The first team offense regularly lined up in two tight end sets, using Hayden Hurst and Jacob August.

▪  The team broke out some dime looks, flooding the field with defensive backs.

▪  Despite 90-plus degree temperatures, several Gamecock coaches were in sweatshirts, a few more in long sleeves.

▪  Linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams was at Buck again for much of the practice, often standing up in the middle of the line, bouncing between different interior gaps.

▪  True freshman defensive end D.J. Wonnum again worked with the second team. His playing time has risen steadily since the start of camp.

▪  There was a spate of drops in a later portion of practice, mostly from reserves.

▪  Tight end K.C. Crosby made a big catch over the middle on a nice throw from quarterback Perry Orth. In the final drill, a late-game situation, Hurst did the same thing.

▪  With the second team, quarterback Brandon McIlwain threw a dart to the corner to hit freshman tight end Kiel Pollard.

▪  Running back A.J. Turner broke a big run, reading his blocking and getting a good angle to find a hole.

▪  Running back Rod Talley looked good running behind pulling blockers.

▪  In a late-game situation drill, linebacker T.J. Holloman stuffed a Talley run on third down, shoving him for emphasis.

▪  Freshman quarterback Jake Bentley is forming a strong third-team passing connection with wide receiver Matrick Belton, hitting at least one long pass to the walk-on for a third day in a row. Bentley later hit a couple quick passes on what looked like run-pass option plays against the starting defense.

▪  After practice, offensive coordinator Kurt Roper admonished his group because of alignment issues.

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