Gamecocks work through final two-a-day
When Thursday rolls around, the coaches will turn their attention towards preparing for the season, meaning reserve players are running out of chances to position themselves on the depth chart.
"After the scrimmage [Wednesday] night we'll start coaching those we think can play, and we'll start having a scout team," said Steve Spurrier. "Of course, they can move up or down, once they are on that team. We've practiced a whole bunch, and we're trying to find out who can play in certain positions, so we'll see how it goes [Wednesday] night."
As he has done throughout camp, a day after Spurrier ripped into his offense, he came back with a more positive approach on Tuesday night. He was asked if he had seen any improvement, and Spurrier joked, "A little bit, throwing against the air."
"When we started blocking though, we had trouble. If we didn't have to block, we'd have a heck of an offense right now. Unfortunately, blocking is a big part of the game. The o-line did some good things. I still think they are going to be alright."
The offensive line is one area that Spurrier expects to finalize during the scrimmage. He wants to know which five guys will line up next to each other. The tackle positions are settled, with Jamon Meredith and Justin Sorensen, and Web Brown seems to have locked up the center position. The guard positions, where youth and inexperience reign, are where the competition will play out.
"It's expected for them to struggle somewhat," Spurrier said. "Hopefully they will get it together. I think we'll be alright when we start running the ball a little bit. I'm hoping [they are struggling because] our defensive line is pretty good. I'm hoping they are going to run through a lot of people."
Even though he wants to have the depth chart in place after the scrimmage, Spurrier said he still plans to get a lot of players into the game against Louisiana-Lafayette to see how they fare in game action. While many Gamecock fans are expecting backups to see action in a blowout, Spurrier said players will see the field regardless of score.
"We'll play a lot of people in the first game, especially on defense and possibly on offense," Spurrier said. "We may get beat, but we're still going to play a lot of people. I'm not saying we'll play a lot of people because we'll be way ahead, but we've got to play a lot of people because clearly some of them are not better than the others."
Maddox To See The Field This Fall
One player who is not relying on the Wednesday night scrimmage to secure his spot on the depth chart is freshman running back Brian Maddox. Early in camp, Spurrier said he wanted to redshirt Maddox, but the talented newcomer protested, stating his intent to play this year, and he backed it up with his play in practice.
"I don't think redshirting is an option anymore," Maddox said. "I'm just penciled in at number three. I hope I get to play a lot this year."
Even Spurrier is acknowledging Maddox's talent.
"I told him the other day that if he'd come here two years ago, when Mike Davis wasn't here and Cory [Boyd] wasn't playing, he'd be a true freshman starter," Spurrier said. "We've got players ahead of him, fortunately now, and he'll wait his turn, and he's going to be a good one."
Brian Maddox has impressed the South Carolina coaches with his natural ability out of the backfield so far in fall camp.
Maddox has shown his ability to run the ball and catch out of the backfield, but he knows pass protection is what will keep him off the field.
"During the recruiting process, some schools were telling me that I could come in right away and start," he explained, "but I just don't see that happening because of pass protections and things of that nature. That's a lot of stuff to learn, especially in this offense."
However, it was in pass protection that Maddox made his biggest, and loudest, play of the scrimmage last weekend. With Blake Mitchell rolling away from pressure, Maddox peeled back leveled a crushing block on Cliff Matthews. The sound of the collision echoed through Williams Brice Stadium, all the way back to Anderson, SC.
"That was the headline back at home, in the newspaper in Anderson," Maddox laughed. "That was a key block, and I'm just trying to protect. That's one of the toughest things from high school to college. I've got to go out and impress the coaches, and impress my teammates to let them know that they can trust me. I'm just working hard trying to impress everybody."
- Shane Matthews, Spurrier's former quarterback at Florida and with the Washington Redskins, attended practice Tuesday night. "Shane is going to get into coaching, and wanted to come up and hang around for a couple of days. It's good to see one of my former players come up and visit with us and hopefully learn a little bit about coaching.
- Spurrier noted that offensive lineman Gurminder Thind is now working at left guard, competing with second year players Garrett Anderson and Kevin Young for positioning on the depth chart.
- Spurrier's first radio call-in show will air this Thursday, although Spurrier did not realize it began this week and joked that in order to avoid missing practice, he would send Media Relations Director Steve Fink in his place.
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