Gamecocks brave rain, open two-a-days

The Gamecock football team reported to the Proving Grounds at 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning to open their first session of two-a-day practices, and it proved to be unlike any other practice that the team has had this preseason. Rain poured down in sheets on the Gamecock players, who according to Head Coach Steve Spurrier, did surprisingly well for the wet conditions.


"(We) practiced in the rain this morning in case we have a rainy day," Spurrier said.

Even though he described it as the rainiest practice he had witnessed in "ten years or more," the head coach stated that other than a few fumbles, the wet conditions didn't have too much effect on the morning session.

"Our guys actually handled the ball fairly well. We didn't lose (the ball) too much, (we had) a few fumbles but other than that it was just a normal practice," he continued. "Nothing too exciting happened."

Practicing in the rain is something that Spurrier says he doesn't put too much emphasis on leading up to the season, even though he's heard of some of this peers taking a different approach.

"When you know it's wet, you've just got to be a little more careful with your footing, with the ball, and so forth. I've never really practiced with wet (footballs) like some teams do that I hear about," Spurrier noted. "Maybe it was good for us."

After Wednesday evening's practice that he referred to as "lackluster," Spurrier thought the team bounced back well for both of Thursday's workouts.

"Yeah, it was ok," he said. "We're not trying to beat each other up right now. We're having a tough time blocking our first (team) d-line, sometimes we're having trouble blocking our second (team) d-line also."

Spurrier then pointed out that on several occasions the offensive line put forth good effort and execution in blocking the defensive line, and it was the quarterbacks who deserved the blame.

"Our quarterbacks have got to get rid of the ball a little bit quicker, sometimes we're holding the ball too long too," he insisted.

Continuing on the theme of quarterbacks, Spurrier referred to walk-on Zac Brindise as a signal-caller who is showing improvement in practice.

"We'll probably give Zac Brindise a little more work," he stated. "He threw some nice balls out here tonight, (so we'll) see if he can compete in there."

Spurrier said that he and his staff decided to have primarily the players on the two-deep run through plays without too much hitting during the morning session of Thursday's two-a-day.

"We just had a little individual (and) team no-huddle (practice) working with the first and second groups. A lot of guys were standing around, it wasn't a real physical practice," Spurrier noted.

According to Spurrier, the next tell-tale sign of the Gamecocks' progress will come this weekend, when the team will scrimmage again.

"We'll try to scrimmage a lot Saturday and see if we've made any progress," he said. "We've still got too many mistakes. Linemen (are still) going the wrong way, can't block the right gap, and things like that. It's kind of sad right now. But anyway, we'll see if we've made some progress come Saturday."


Notes:

- Jarriel King returned to practice Thursday night and Spurrier said that he isn't worried about King having to take days off because "he played all last year, so he should be fine."

- Defensive tackle Nathan Pepper was held out of practice again because his knee was swollen. According to Spurrier, Pepper will have to take practices off during the season, but he said the team will hopefully be able to count on him to play 25-30 snaps a game.

- Other than the bad weather in the morning workout, Spurrier stated that the team has been very fortunate to have had such great weather to practice in leading up to this point in the preseason.

- Spurrier claims that the team is pretty close to injury free, and he believes the players that will do most of the playing are in good health.

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