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March 22, 2014

The University of South Carolina football squad donned full pads and moved into Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday morning for its fifth practice of the spring. The Gamecocks used the last portion of the practice to go 11-on-11.

“We’re just practicing, practicing a lot of the young guys,” said head coach Steve Spurrier following Saturday’s workout. “A lot of these walk-on kids are pretty good players. It’s sort of neat to have them out here. Quarterback-wise, Dylan (Thompson) threw some good ones and I think Perry Orth threw some good ones. Overall, it was sort of sloppy – about what you’d expect.”

Coach Spurrier was not yet ready to name a number two quarterback behind Thompson. “We’ll watch the tape and have more on the No. 2 at Tuesday’s practice. We’re going to do it every week. We’ll have a 1-2-3-4, depending on how they play.”

“Some good, some bad,” said defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward when asked to evaluate the defense today. “I was excited about the first half of practice more than I was the scrimmage. I thought we were flying around. I’m real proud of a lot of these linebackers. They’re being physical when we bring them on blitzes. We’ve got to continue to get better in the perimeter.

“I thought (sophomore linebacker) Skai Moore had a really good practice,” continued Ward. “I thought he had a good practice when we were doing team stuff and I thought he did well in the scrimmage.”

Coach Ward knows that the cornerback position remains a work in progress. “It’s good to see Brison (Williams) get a lot of reps out there. I think Rico (McWilliams) is getting better, but he’s not near where he can win a lot of ball games for us in this conference.” Despite working at corner this spring, Ward confirmed that Williams is still expected to be the starting free safety in the fall.

Several former Gamecocks and current NFL players were at practice Saturday, including Ryan Succop, Alshon Jeffery, Melvin Ingram, Lemuel Jeanpierre and Hutch Eckerson.

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields four times next week, with workouts scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at the Bluff Road practice fields, and the first official scrimmage of the spring slated for Saturday morning at Williams-Brice Stadium. The weekday practices begin at 4:15 p.m. and the Saturday practice will start at 10 a.m. All the practices are open to the public.