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March 20, 2014

March 20, 2014

The University of South Carolina football squad donned shoulder pads and was able to work outside for the first time this spring on Thursday afternoon at the Bluff Road practice fields. It was the squad’s third workout of the spring.

Head coach Steve Spurrier surprised some by naming senior Dylan Thompson as his starting quarterback before spring practice even began.

“It’s good knowing you’re going to be the starter but it’s nothing I’m celebrating or anything,” said Thompson. “I’m ready to work. We’ve got a long way to go. I’m going to keep working and keep pushing myself. That’s what I’m going to focus on. Being the best leader for this team.”

Thompson identified one area that he is focusing on this spring. “We’ve got to win first down and limit mistakes on first down,” noted Thompson. “That’s something that I can definitely get better at. I have to trust our offense and not try to do too much.”

Veteran offensive lineman Mike Matulis is getting a look at right guard this spring after playing tackle throughout his career. “It’s different,” said Matulis of the position change. “I haven’t played it in two years. It’s a transition and I’m trying to get used to it.” Matulis said the footwork is the main difference between guard and tackle.

Matulis, who was redshirted last season and has been hampered throughout his career with shoulder issues feels good this spring. “I think (redshirting) was the best thing for me. It gave me a lot of time to get my weight back and my strength back. It was something I needed. My shoulders feel great,” continued Matulis, who said he dropped to 240 pounds but is now back to 306. “I’ve been working hard, especially with the strength staff and the training staff.”

Matulis admitted he considered giving up playing football. “I realized that I loved the sport and I can’t give it up. I like to play and I’ll play wherever they put me.”

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields two more times this week, first at 4:15 p.m. on Friday at the Bluff Road practice fields, then at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Both practices are open to the public.