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Defense Neutralizes Offense In Second Scrimmage of Spring Practice

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The Gamecocks took the field at WB Saturday afternoon for their second official scrimmage of spring football. Afterwards, head coach Steve Spurrier and co-defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward spoke with the media.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday afternoon the South Carolina Gamecocks held their second official scrimmage of the spring football season. The session, held in Williams-Brice Stadium under an overcast spring day, marked the 12th of 15 spring practices for USC. The event was only open to the media and the ending vaulted the Gamecocks into the last week of spring practice, concluding with this Saturday's spring game.

This past Saturday, the South Carolina defense neutralized any offense that was thrown at them. "I think there was some improvement on the defensive side," head coach Steve Spurrier said after the scrimmage. "I think we're getting better (on defense)," said co-defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward following the workout. "We're going against a real young offensive front. I think they've got two guys that have experience, so we should be doing well against those guys. We're trying to get the system down. I think the guys are getting better. We haven't put anything new in for about a week now and that's a good thing. We're repeating what we're doing so hopefully we'll get better at it. We're continuing to grow daily."

In last week's first official scrimmage, six Gamecock offensive lineman went the distance in the workout. USC has been without Brandon Shell and Mike Matulis all spring while Cody Waldrop and others have been beat up at times. The offense didn't tally any points on the defense until the coaches moved the two sides into overtime situations and the ball was placed on the 25-yard line.

The Gamecock offense began to break open then. Elliot Fry connected on a 43-yard field goal followed by touchdown passes from Connor Mitch and Michael Scarnecchia.

"Connor Mitch held the ball too much at times and threw late at times, as did all of them," said Coach Spurrier. "But the protection probably wasn't all that super at times either. Hopefully we can learn from it. The offense did a lot better yesterday than they did today, but the defense did better than they did yesterday. We've got a lot of work to do, a lot of improvement to do." Mitch, Scarnecchia, and Perry Orth combined to complete just 10-of-22 passes for 121 yards. Mitch threw a touchdown to Deebo Samuel but he also had a ball intercepted off a deflection.

"The offense didn't do much at all," the Head Ball Coach said afterward. "But it was good practice. Nobody got hurt. None of the quarterbacks shined too much. It was not encouraging on the offensive side, but we've got one more week. Hopefully by the spring game time next week we'll throw some completions and look like we know what we're doing on offense."

The Gamecocks have three practices remaining for spring football. They take the field tomorrow for an open session, then hit it again during a closed session Thursday and wrap-up spring practice with the annual Garnet & Black Spring Game Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game time is set for noon and admission is free for all. Steve Spurrier revealed last week that they will have over 100 Gamecock football alumni from the last decade at the game on Saturday. The alumni will have a get-together Friday night before being on-hand Saturday afternoon.

STATS

SCORING PLAYS:

Elliott Fry 43-yard field goal

Deebo Samuel 29-yard pass from Connor Mitch

Matrick Belton 5-yard pass from Michael Scarnecchia

PASSING:

Connor Mitch 4-9-1-77; Perry Orth 4-6-0-29; Michael Scarnecchia 2-7-0-15. TOTALS: 10-22-1-121.

RUSHING:

Devin Potter 3-17; David Williams 4-15; Rondreas Truesdale 2-15; Connor Mitch 4-14; Shon Carson 3-7; Perry Orth 1-4; Michael Scarnecchia 1-2; Brandon Wilds 1-(-1); Terry Googer 1-(-6); Darius Paulk 3-(-10). TOTALS: 23-57.

RECEIVING:

Matrick Belton 3-25; Deebo Samuel 2-46; David Williams 2-8; Jacob August 1-28; Terry Googer 1-10; Devin Potter 1-4. TOTALS: 10-121.