South Carolina begins spring football practice

Kevin C. Cox

The Gamecocks took to the Proving Grounds on Tuesday to partake in their first team practice of 2013.

The South Carolina football team held its first practice of the spring on Tuesday.

In addition to the excitement of following along with each 7-on-7 rep through the miracle of Twitter, we also got to enjoy Steve Spurrier's reaction to his first full day playing with his new toys. After practice, Spurrier and several other South Carolina assistants made themselves available after practice to answer questions.

The Head Ball Coach had this to say about his wide receivers...

One player that I'm going to predict is going to be a good player is Shamier Jeffery. Shamier has finally, after a couple of years here of just hanging around watching, I think somehow he decided he wanted to be a ball player. You can tell his body shape is completely different. He's probably lost 15 pounds or more. He's fit. He can run faster and catch the ball. I think he's going to be a real player.

Shaq [Roland] had an academic issue and he was not allowed to practice. So hopefully he'll be out here Thursday.

Damiere Byrd was out here watching. He had LASIK surgery on his eyes... I think his eyes being better will help him.

On the replacing Marcus Lattimore...

Brandon Wilds and Mike Davis both have had excellent winter conditioning. They've improved their strength, speed - especially Brandon Wilds. He's faster than he's ever been... We've got huge confidence in both of those guys.

On the speculation that Jadeveon Clowney would be better served by sitting out in 2013...

Hopefully that will die out real soon, but I know it's something people like to talk about. On those talk shows they've got to have something to talk about.

On wanting his Q&A with the media to be over...

Alright, that's enough.

Defensive Coordinator Lorenzo Ward

On Jadeveon Clowney...

If I could get him to play 100% every time then he might be unstoppable. If he wants to be the number one player taken in the draft, he's got to play harder. It's not that he takes [plays] off, it's just that Clowney's a player that knows that, when he wants to make a play, I think it's obvious - he's shown he can do that... I want him to make a play all the time.

On new defensive line coach, Deke Adams...

Deke is closer to the players' age and he can relate to them more. They're different in their technique and their fundamental teaching, but I think they're both doing similar things and getting the right point. I really liked what I saw today. When Deke had the guys going through the bags, trying to get their hips through, they weren't doing it right. Well, when we went to special teams, he took the guys over there and walked through it. And that's the sign of a good coach to me. You do what a player can't do. You work on it. So that's a good start for me.

Tight Ends Coach and Special Teams Coordinator Joe Robinson

On who will replace Ace Sanders as punt returner...

We're going to look at a ton of guys there this spring... We think we've got a lot guys back there that deserve a look to see how well they catch it, how well they judge it, how well they burst after they catch... We're going to have to narrow that one down. But obviously the guy with experience right now is Vic Hampton.

[Pharoh Cooper] has got tremendous potential. We'll see if he can get out here and realize some of that potential in the fall. But he'll certainly get a bigtime look once he gets here.

On kickoff returns...

There's gonna be some more guys back there besides Bruce [Ellington]... We'll try a bunch of new faces back there and see if we can find some more guys who can make an impact... We did a good job protecting our punt returner last year, but we didn't do as good of a job helping Bruce out. We've got to do a better job this year of helping Bruce be more effective.

On the placekickers...

I think Landon Ard and Nick St. Germain are both very talented. I think they're going to push each other very hard every day... I thought it was a very good competition today. We'll chart it and see where it ends up.

Linebackers Coach Kirk Botkin

On the linebackers...

There are no starters right now... TJ Holloman is doing a good job. Very smart, very intellectual kid. Helps line up the defense.... He and Kaiwan Lewis are learning both MIKE and WILL.

On the SPURs...

[Sharrod] Golightly is a little bit older [than Jordan Diggs]. He's starting right now. But it could change Thursday. We could go and watch the film tonight and it may switch. Just them competing and learning the process and understanding what's going on around them. But competition between those two guys will make them better. We need them both to step up and be dangerous contributors next year.

[Jordan Diggs] is an athletic kid and a strong kid and cover, can play out in the slot, can play out on the grass, line up on a tight end. He's got everything you want from a SPUR... Two years ago when we signed him, we signed him for that SPUR spot... He's got a chance to be really good.

Secondary Coach Grady Brown

on Chaz Elder...

Chaz [Elder] is a back and forth guy. He played both [cornerback and safety] in high school. He's right at home at in the middle of the field just as he is at corner. We're definitely playing him at safety right now.

Check out the Pre-Spring Depth Chart here.
Check out The Big Spur's spring practice updates here.
Check out Tony Morrell's impressions of the first spring practice here.

The Gamecocks are set to hit the practice field again on Thursday.

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