On a chilly Saturday afternoon the South Carolina Gamecocks held their first scrimmage of spring football. The scrimmage, closed to fans and media, was the eighth practice for USC, marking the halfway point of spring practice.
After the scrimmage the university provided the media with statistics while coaches and players were made available to the media. Head coach Steve Spurrier was swarmed by reporters first, forced to give his thoughts on his team's first simulation.
"We came out and let the quarterbacks pitch it around a little bit," Spurrier said. "I was hoping all of them would get at least 10 throws." The group of quarterbacks combined to complete the first 14 passes thrown. Perry Orth, Connor Mitch, and Michael Scarnecchia had nine, 11, and 12 attempts respectively. Spurrier noted that Orth is a good thrower and just knows what to do with the football. He also felt Scarneccia was coming along nicely but also mentioned it was simply a good day for all three of his quarterbacks.
"The receivers did pretty well," Spurrier said after practice. "We still had several drops. The guys caught some and dropped some too." Redshirt freshman tight end Jacob August led the way, catching five balls for 44 yards. Spurrier mentioned after practice on Thursday that he was impressed with August's development. The Head Ball Coach was asked about the wide receiver depth chart after Pharoh Cooper, saying it is "pretty much wide open." The wide receivers that have garned the most chatter in that mix are Deebo Samuel and Shamier Jeffery. They finished with two catches apiece, with Samuel churning up 29 yards and Jeffery piling up 19. After the scrimmage, Orth discussed his wideouts. "Deebo Samuel, he's really impressed me," Orth said. "Shamier (Jeffery), Terry Googer, they have played really well." Googer, a redshirt freshman, finished with two catches for 19 yards today.
Co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke also met with the media after today's activities. He revealed that his defense is almost completely installed but still needs to see improvement in multiple areas. "There were some good things and some things we've got to get better at (on the defensive side of the ball)," said Hoke. "We're still not as clean as you'd like to be. I thought the effort for the most part was getting better to what we're looking for. We've still got a ways to go. We're always going to be about assignment, alignment, technique and key," added Hoke. "Those four things are going to drive us. We want to make sure we understand what we're doing, what our alignments are going to be, what our technique is, and how well we can read our key."
Hoke also discussed his personnel. Besides Hoke's arrival, the two main storylines on his side of the ball this spring have been fellow newcomer Marquavius Lewis and the Diggs-Gurley position switch. "He's done a nice job, he's jumped out," Hoke said of Lewis. "For being his first time being here, he fits." Hoke's first experiment was moving T.J. Gurley to SPUR and Jordan Diggs to strong safety. "They're doing good," Hoke said of their transition. "Gurley fits what we're looking for there. Diggs fits the profile of a safety (in our defense). They've made the transition really easy."
Hoke also commented on his work with these players after they're coming off such a poor season in their responsibilities. "You never get too high or too low, just keep working and you'll start to see some things," Hoke said after the scrimmage. In my first experience with Hoke, he seems knowledgeable, endearing, and the pure picture of a football coach. Will that translate to success? Who knows but he's a technician, not a screamer, and I personally believe he'll make his mark by the time this spring is done.
The Gamecocks have two days off before they hit the practice field next. Tuesday afternoon's session is open to both fans and media.
David Williams 1-yard run (Elliott Fry kick)
Elliott Fry 23-yard field goal
Perry Orth 7-9-0-80; Connor Mitch 6-11-1-74; Michael Scarnecchia 9-12-0-72; Brendan Nosovitch 1-1-0-7. TOTALS: 23-33-1-233.
Rod Talley 2-14; Devin Potter 2-6; Shon Carson 1-5; Brendan Nosovitch1-5; David Williams 2-2; Brandon Wilds 1-1; Darius Paulk 2-0; Rondreas Truesdale 1-(-1); Perry Orth 1-(-4); Michael Scarnecchia 2-(-12); Connor Mitch 2-(-16). TOTALS: 17-0.
Jacob August 5-44; Deebo Samuel 2-29; Matrick Belton 2-29; Shamier Jeffery 2-19; Terry Googer 2-19; Rod Talley 2-17; Carlton Heard 1-23;Shon Carson 1-16; Shaq Davidson 1-13; Clayton Stadnik 1-10; Devin Potter 1-9; Darius Paulk 1-7; David Williams 1-0; Kevin Crosby 1-(-2). TOTALS: 23-223.