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.