Offense shows improvement as Gurley shines

The Gamecocks held their second closed practice of the fall on Tuesday night at Williams Brice Stadium, scrimmaging behind closed doors. Coach Steve Spurrier proclaimed following the workout that the offense showed signs of improving from the dismal performances that it displayed leading up to Tuesday's scrimmage, thanks partly to the dynamic showing of redshirt freshman receiver Tori Gurley.


"I think our offensive guys did a little bit better than they've done in most of the scrimmages," Spurrier told the media afterwards. "The offense did some good things here and there, and the defense did some good things as well."

The Head Ball Coach, who had been outspoken in his frustration with the offense in recent workouts, continued by saying that the passing game looked a lot better in Tuesday's scrimmage.

"We actually threw the ball and caught it a little bit better than we have in most of our scrimmages, so we had some encouraging things happen this evening," he said.

Spurrier believes that the Gamecocks' next step is to simply try to build on the success that they had in the scrimmage.

"We'll try to improve on tonight and get better tomorrow and the next day," Spurrier emphasized. "Hopefully we'll be ready for N.C. State on (September) 3rd."

When asked how current first team quarterback Stephen Garcia threw the ball, Spurrier remained rather vague saying, "(Garcia) threw some good ones here and there." Spurrier then quickly moved on to praise another offensive player who had a standout evening under the lights of Williams Brice Stadium.

"Tori Gurley had the big night, five catches for two touchdowns. (Gurley) broke two tackles to get in from about ten yards out on one of (the touchdown catches)," Spurrier proclaimed. "Tori really had an excellent night."

Along with Garcia, Reid McCollum and Aramis Hillary both had "decent nights," Spurrier said.

Gurley's fellow wideout, Joe Hills, returned to the field after sitting out Monday's practice. Spurrier stated that Hills also had some success during the scrimmage.

"Joe actually got in there and caught a touchdown tonight," he noted. "We had a little play action and he was wide open. He bobbled it on the way in but he did catch it. We got on him a little bit because it was right there in the bread basket, but he caught it and he's back on the team."


Auguste excited about being back and joining the new "Goon Squad"

Coming off a severely pulled hamstring injury sustained last season, sophomore cornerback and projected starter Akeem Auguste says that he's fully recovered and ready to go this fall.

"I tore my hamstring in the Arkansas game so I was out for like five months, but now I'm fully healed and ready to go," Auguste said.

Auguste missed the first week of preseason practice with an abdominal injury, but he said he is feeling much better this week.

"I feel great, I've got to get back into game condition, though," he stated. "I'm tired today but I'll be alright. I had a week off to rest so I'm ready to go at it."

After playing safety for the majority of last season due to depth concerns, Auguste says he's glad to return to the position that he has played for most of his football career.

"I feel more comfortable than I've ever felt. I feel a lot quicker now that I'm playing my natural position. Last year I played safety and I'd never played there before," he recalled. "Now I'm back playing corner again and I'm loving it."

In just his second full practice back with the team, Auguste, who has never had a lack of confidence on the football field, insisted he feels ready to step up to the plate and take on some of the most impressive receivers in the SEC.

"I can't wait to play Georgia and Alabama and go up against those big time receivers."

Auguste is currently the favorite to start alongside Stephon Gilmore at cornerback for the South Carolina defense this season, and he claims that he's been very impressed with his partner at cornerback as well as the rest of the young faces in the Gamecock secondary.

"Stephon (Gilmore) is doing excellent. D.J. (Swearinger), he's a hitter. Those two, along with DeVonte (Holloman) who's a hitter too, can all really play," Auguste said. "They've showed us a lot thus far."

When asked if the Carolina defense is going to live up to the success that led he and some of the other players to give the unit its own nickname last season, Auguste replied, "Of course the Goon Squad is going to be out there doing its thing again this year."

He added that the "Goon Squad" will be getting a little more publicity of its own this season.

"We're going to have our own posters and everything this year, I can't wait," he said smiling.

Auguste stated that he's not satisfied with the mediocre success Carolina has had in recent years and that he's ready for the Gamecocks to have a breakout season.

"I just want to win, man. I'm tired of 7-5 seasons," he said emphatically. "I want to win nine or even ten games this year."

As he concluded his time with the media, the sophomore from Hollywood, Florida was asked if the Gamecock faithful could do anything more to help him and the team have more success this season. He responded by saying, "Just keep doing the same thing they've been doing. I just love for the fans to be cheering and to be loud as they always are. South Carolina fans are great and I love playing for them."


Notes:

- Spurrier said freshman defensive lineman Ronald Byrd may have torn his ACL during the scrimmage, and that he may need to have surgery if that's the case.

- Offensive lineman Steven Singleton had some heat/dehydration problems during the scrimmage, Spurrier said: "I think he was just a little tired as well. He already has some asthma problems too but I think he'll be fine."

- Safety Antonio Allen has a "groin problem," but Spurrier said that he isn't hurt "too bad."

- Spurrier claimed that tight end Mike Triglia has a shoulder problem but "should be good to go in a week or two."

- As far as the running backs go, Spurrier said that Brian Maddox had a few good, tough runs. However, he stated Bryce Sherman was the leading rusher on the night: "'Little Sherm' was in there with the third group and he busted one and took it about 30 or 40 yards. Other than that our running game wasn't as potent as we hoped it would be."

- The offensive line "made a few progress moves, and missed a few again," according to Spurrier. He described the line's play as "decent" on the night.

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