Josh Kendall

There’s a big difference in South Carolina’s punt practice this fall

Rashad Fenton, Bryan Edwards, Keisean Nixon and Deebo Samuel all will get a chance to win South Carolina’s starting punt return job this month, and this year, that audition process is going to be a little more dangerous.

“We are going to have some live coverage (in practice),” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said.

In Muschamp’s previous two seasons, there was no live tackling on punt return and coverage drills, but Muschamp didn’t think the team’s punt coverage or return game early in the season last year was good enough.

“We will do some live kicks,” Muschamp said. “When you have an untested returner, which we’re going to probably have, it’s important to see live bullets. At the end of the day, that’s going to be important.”

Chris Lammons returned 19 punts for 141 yards last season. No other Gamecock returned a punt. South Carolina finished 12th in the SEC in punt returns (7.1 yards per return) and sixth in punting (40.5-yard net average).

“The No. 1 thing is that at the end of the play we have ball possession,” Muschamp said.