Gamecocks Spring Practice News and Notes

Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks held their first spring scrimmage yesterday at Williams-Brice.The stats were as follows, courtesy of Joe Person on Football:

Scoring Summary
Giles 3 run
Gilchrist 25 interception return
White 10 pass from Clifford

(Red-zone offense)

Saunders 5 pass from Garcia
LeCorn 25 pass from Shaw

Passing – Garcia 6-15-1 88 yards, 1 TD; Shaw 8-13-0 120 yards, 1 TD; Hillary 0-2-1 0 yards; Clifford 3-3-0 33 yards, 1 TD; Brindise 1-3-1 30 yards.
Rushing – Giles 8-82; Garcia 3-(-7); Maddox 4-42; Miles 2-9; Gurley 1-(-6); Shaw 3-2; Sherman 4-15; Hillary 2-18; Brindise 1-(-7).
Receiving – Jeffery 4-75; Miles 1-2; Flint 2-31; LeCorn 3-56; Moore 2-28; Sherman 2-32; Bennett 1-22; White 1-10; Saunders 1-5; Maddox 1-0.

A few interesting points to note about the scrimmage:

Quarterback report. The big news out of spring drills continues to be the stellar play of freshman early enrollee Conner Shaw. An old saying goes that the the backup quarterback is the most popular player on the team, and that continues to be the case here, as many--including, apparently, Spurrier--are wondering if Shaw has what it takes to supplant Stephen Garcia at the quarterback position.

My thinking on this issue is as follows. If Shaw is indeed good enough to challenge Garcia, then he'll get his chance to prove it over the summer, and I'm all for that. While I think, because of his experience, that Garcia is likely the guy, I want the best players on the field at all times, and if Shaw is our best quarterback, then he's our best quarterback. I also think it's clearly a good thing for Garcia to feel a bit of pressure. It will make him work harder to keep his grip on the first-team spot. All in all, it's great to have better options at quarterback this year. Just think what would have happened last year if Garcia had gone down.

However, if Shaw is not ready to start this season (and, again, I think this is likely to be the case), then I think we should do whatever we can to redshirt him and give any garbage time to Andrew Clifford or Aramis Hillary. Shaw already appears to be significantly better than either of those two players, so we should definitely keep him ready to take over if Garcia goes down. We shouldn't, though, burn a year of his eligibility needlessly, as it's very likely that--barring us signing a bluechipper over the next couple of years--he'll need to be a multiyear starter after Garcia graduates. I also really--and I mean really--do not want to see Spurrier burn that year of eligibility because he wants to keep Garcia on a short leash. Like I said, if Shaw is better, then he's better. But if that's not the case, then I believe Garcia should take just as many snaps as he did in 2009. I know Spurrier likes to have options at quarterback, but in this case he has a talented veteran who is probably the best option and a talented freshman who needs all the eligibility he can hang on to. Please, Spurrier: don't let your ego muck this situation up.

Runningback Report. The other big news we're hearing a lot about is the play of Jarvis Giles. Kenny Miles remains the first-team back, but Giles stole the show on Saturday, averaging over 10 ypc. Giles has put a lot of effort into getting his name back in the conversation for starting back, working on his game and spending time in the weightroom. I wouldn't be surprised if you see him overtake Miles by spring's end. Whatever happens, it's good to have so many options in the backfield.

Shawn Elliott. Elliott has reportedly made strides implementing the zone-read, and the results so far are positive. Of course, we were hearing this last year, and then when the season began we were--save a few key games--back to the same draw plays that Spurrier has always run, so the jury is still out on this.

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