South Carolina Spring Football Practice Report

<b>Columbia, SC</b> - South Carolina went through an 84-play controlled scrimmage Saturday before sunny skies at Williams-Brice Stadium. It was USC's first controlled scrimmage of the spring ...

o The defense had the upper hand for much of the scrimmage. All-SEC defensive end candidate Moe Thompson had an interception and returned a fumble 34 yards for a touchdown. "Moe Thompson is just an excellent player," said head coach Lou Holtz, "but, it's a total defensive effort and the defense played pretty well today."

o Cornerback Fred Bennett also had an interception, returning an errant Blake Mitchell pass 35 yards for a touchdown.

o Quarterback Dondrial Pinkins was consistent in his play. The senior scored on a 17-yard run and a 12-yard run. He also looked efficient in moving the offense for most of the afternoon. "We didn't emphasize the passing game today, and that's something we need to work on," said Coach Holtz. "Dondrial did a nice job of moving the team, checking off and getting into the right play. In my opinion, Dondrial will shock the conference this year. I think he will play pretty well. He'd better not shock me.

o Tailback Gonzie Gray showed some quickness running the football. Gray broke up the middle for a 70-yard touchdown run early in the scrimmage. Later in the scrimmage, Gray took a screen pass from Pinkins and went 65 yards down to the four-yard line. "Gonzie Gray is starting to come to the forefront," said Holtz.

o Other touchdowns were scored by Daccus Turman on a 28 yard run and Blake Mitchell connected with tight end Andy Boyd for a six-yard scoring play.

o "We focused on the running game," said Coach Holtz. "The hitting was good and both sides of the ball were physical. The defense came up with some turnovers. The offensive line did some good things. John Strickland will be our center and Jabari Levey and Na'Shan Goddard will be our tackles. I don't know who our guards will be right now. We moved (tight end) Fran Person to center at approximately 12:27 p.m. today. A few times he snapped the ball when he was ready, not on the snap count. But, he finally got it down right ... Syvelle Newton was impressive at times at quarterback, and while this was Blake Mitchell's first real scrimmage, he may not be pleased with how he played, but I was. He's going to be a fine quarterback. Dondrial (Pinkins) is having an excellent spring practice. He knows what our standards are."

o There was one injury to report. Safety Jamacia Jackson sprained his right ankle during the scrimmage.

o USC was originally scheduled to return to practice Monday, but due to excessive class conflicts, the team will practice in shorts and shoulder pads Sunday evening.

o Thirteen former Gamecocks who are currently playing in the NFL came back this weekend. They ate dinner with the coaching staff Friday night and spoke to the team on Saturday and watched the scrimmage. The Gamecock coaching staff looks to make this an annual event.

o Coach Holtz said that Oklahoma State is his pick to win the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. "I told you Oklahoma State before the tournament even started," said Holtz. Last year, Holtz picked Syracuse prior to the beginning of the tournament and the Orangemen went on to win the national title.

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