Aug. 13, 2011
The University of South Carolina football squad held its first official scrimmage of the fall on Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“We had a typical scrimmage,” said head coach Steve Spurrier following the two-hour practice session. “Nobody got hurt seriously I don’t think. It was an interesting scrimmage. I told our guys we looked like the seventh best offense in the league and about the seventh best defense. We’ll look at it, grade our guys and put them in first, second and third (string units) next week when we start practice.”
The quarterbacks had a solid day, combining to complete 28-of-45 passes for 347 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Stephen Garcia (9-of-15, 92 yards) was the starter, but Connor Shaw (9-of-11, 142 yards, 2 TDs) was the most impressive. On his first drive, he connected on a post pattern to Damiere Byrd, who juggled it before putting it away for a 65-yard score. Byrd finished the day with three catches for a game-high 84 yards.
“Connor Shaw had an excellent scrimmage,” noted Coach Spurrier. “I think his team went up and down the field and scored every time he was in. He threw it where he was supposed to, got rid of it, did not take sacks and played pretty well. I think Damiere Byrd caught a bunch of passes. He caught a long one early in the scrimmage.”
Newcomer Bruce Ellington was impressive in his first scrimmage on the gridiron. The Gamecock basketball standout carried three straight times in the “Wildcat” formation for 20 yards, before handing off to Eric Baker for a six-yard touchdown run. Ellington also caught three passes for 37 yards, including a seven-yard TD pass from Shaw.
“Bruce had an excellent scrimmage,” said the Head Ball Coach. “A lot of the running backs – Eric Baker, Shon Carson and Brandon Wilds – did some things.” Carson led the team with nine carries for 56 yards, while Wilds logged seven carries for 36 yards. Baker added 14 yards and a touchdown on five totes.
While it was a positive that the offense did not have any turnovers on the afternoon, Coach Spurrier was disappointed that the defense was unable to force any miscues. “Defensively we didn’t have any turnovers,” noted Spurrier. “We can’t knock it loose or get a pick. I hope we can get a pick or two here before we start the season..”
The Gamecocks will hold their annual Colonial Life Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday, August 14, at the Colonial Life Arena. The football team will be joined by the soccer, volleyball and cross country teams in an autograph session. The free event will be held from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. with the football squad expected to arrive around 1 p.m. Parking is free in the Colonial Life Arena lots.