Gamecocks ready for first spring scrimmage
On Saturday morning the South Carolina football team will shift its spring practice activities from the practice fields off of Bluff road to Williams-Brice Stadium where the Gamecocks will hold their first scrimmage of spring practice. For USC coach Steve Spurrier, the scrimmage will be a chance to gauge where his team is at in the early going, especially the young faces that fill his roster.
"We're going to try to play a little bit with the young guys tomorrow about 11:15 in the stadium. If the fans want to come out, it's open to the public," Spurrier said.
With an abundance of early enrollees and redshirt players on the roster, Spurrier and his staff are hopeful that scrimmages will give the players a chance to shine and rise above as they continue to figure out where everyone fits in on the depth chart.
One of the biggest areas of concern for the Gamecocks in spring practice has been the quarterback position where the team returns just one player with any real game experience and only three scholarship quarterbacks. In all, there are six quarterbacks on the depth chart, but not all of them will be getting a shot to take field at the scrimmage.
"All of them? We've got six of them out here, but at least four (will get work). Yeah, four of them probably," Spurrier said. "Probably four of them will play a little bit."
While scholarship quarterbacks Stephen Garcia, Aramis Hillary and Reid McCollum will definitely see significant time on the field, Spurrier and his staff have not fully made a determination on which of the walk-on players will get a chance to play.
During Friday's practice, Myrtle Beach native Willis Mills caught the coaching staff's eyes with good work which could help him factor in to the scrimmage.
"He's got a chance in a year or two. He's not too bad. In fact, he's pretty good. He's got a chance," Spurrier said of Mills.
Of the three scholarship passers, Garcia comes in with the most experience while Hillary and McCollum spent last fall redshirting. Former Summerville quarterback McCollum, who left school after enrolling early last year, has progressed according to Spurrier but still needs more time to develop.
"Reid's coming around. Reid just needs a full spring, summer, jumping rope, learning the offense and he's a good passer," Spurrier said. "He just needs time. Time and training."
Along with plenty of questions at quarterback, the Gamecocks are still trying to figure out where the best players are at each position. South Pointe native Stephon Gilmore is listed as a defensive player but has seen snaps on offense in the spring. Gilmore, who played quarterback in high school, along with wide receiver Dion Lecorn could factor into the new "cocky" offensive package Spurrier and his staff have installed.
Along with Gilmore, Spurrier is looking at other defensive players that could make an impact playing on both sides of the ball.
"Stephon, we've got to use him a little bit more at shotgun quarterback and have him available each week," Spurrier said. "And Cliff Matthews got a little tight end blocking over there. He may be the best blocking tight end we've got right now so we need to use him there some. And Melvin Ingram, he may be in there at fullback some."
While Spurrier and the coaching staff work out those types of issues, running back Eric Baker is just happy to be headed to the stadium tomorrow for some real action for the first time this spring.
"I can't wait, man. We're going to be playing. We're going to full go, full tackle, everything," Baker said.
Stewart, Miles sidelined
Running back Kenny Miles is still out of practice with strep throat. Spur linebacker Darian Stewart is also on the shelf for a few days as he hurt his back in Thursday's practice.
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