Defense was the theme of the day Tuesday afternoon during South Carolina's seventh practice of the spring. During 7-on-7 drills and 11-on-11 drills, it was the defense that got the best of the offense.
"We had a sorry practice from the offensive guys," head coach Steve Spurrier said. "They looked pretty pitiful, pretty sad. The quarterbacks were pretty lousy, the offensive line was pretty bad; couldn't block anybody. Hopefully we can get a little bit better on offense but it was said watching our guys today."
The offense looked good early in practice in the 7-on-7 drills in their own territory. Connor Shaw was 3-of-4 passing including a nice corner route to tight end Drew Owens. Dylan Thompson was 2-of-4 passing, but overthrew both long balls he attempted. Andrew Clifford was 1-of-2 passing and Tanner McEvoy overthrew Sidney Rhodes on a long ball in his only pass attempt on a play that Rhodes gave up on.
On 11-on-11 drills, the quarterbacks were fairly effective. That is when they did not have the defensive line breathing down their backs. Shaw was 4-of-5, including a deep pass to DeAngelo Smith after stepping up in the pocket and allowing Smith to get behind Jimmy Legree. Thompson was 0-for-2, having his pass deflected by Gerald Dixon and overthrowing Damiere Byrd.
"Maybe we're practicing too many quarterbacks," Spurrier said. "They all looked pretty average."
Seth Strickland got a chance to throw the ball last and did well. Strickland completed 6-of-7 passes, all of them being short or intermediate passes. It was still enough to get the attention of the head coach, drawing Spurrier's annual back-up quarterback recognition comment.
"Seth Strickland needs to play more," Spurrier said. "He's the only one that knows what to do all the time. He'll get rid of the ball. Maybe we need to get him playing more."
Tuesday's practice was the return of Bruce Ellington, who had two catches and ran the Wildcat twice.
"Bruce was out here. Bruce wants to play both sports," Spurrier said. "He thought it over and thought he made too quick of a decision.
"He was quick out here; his legs were fresh. He was one of the fastest guys on the field today."
Despite the good start for the offense in the 7-on-7 drills, it was all defense at the end of the practice.
"The defense played faster," Spurrier said. "Our offensive guys, you can slap them upside the head, they don't even get mad, some of them. They don't even tackle them; we tell them ‘just tackle Jadeveon when he comes in there.' They can't even grab him."
Passing notes (Does not include running plays or sacks)
7 on 7
Damiere Byrd 1
Ace Sanders 2
Austin Hails 1
Kenny Miles 1
Drew Owens 1
7-on-7 from 20-yard line
Overthrows Kelvin Rainey in corner of the end zone.
Hits Corey Simmons over the middle inside the five. Simmons shows some good speed.
Nice pass to DeAngelo Smith for a touchdown at the front pylon.
Pass nearly intercepted by Cedrick Cooper over the middle. He probably should have caught it.
McEvoy finds Byrd on a comeback route inside the five.
Overthrows Byrd on a stop-and-go.
From the three
No one open, overthrows Smith in the back of the end zone.
Doesn't see Bruce Ellington wide open, throws pick to Brison Williams.
Shaw rolls right, finds Ellington in the end zone.
Jump ball to Shamier Jeffery was a bit overthrown. Would Alshon have caught it?
No one open, throws it away.
Looks for DeAngelo Smith, Kadetrix Marcus knocks it down.
Shaw stays in the pocket, steps up and finds Smith behind the defense for a long completion. Smith beat Legree on the play.
Steps up in pocket again, finds Bruce Ellington open over the middle.
No one open and throws it away.
Screen to Byrd is snuffed out by the defense for a loss.
Pass deflected by Gerald Dixon.
Overthrows Byrd on the sidelines.
Drops snap, finds Justice Cunningham at the sidelines.
Overthrows Byrd, nice coverage.
Finds Drew Owens over the middle.
Finds KJ Brent on comeback.
Finds fullback Connor McLaurin for a nice gain over the middle.
Rolls right and finds DeDe.
Looks for Sanders, but Ace is well-defended.
Finds Miles out of the backfield.
Checks down to Hails.
Spurrier: Offense was lousy
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