Aug. 14, 2015
Fall preseason practice continued on Friday morning for the University of South Carolina football squad. The team worked out for about two hours in full pads at the new practice fields, located at the west end of Gamecock Park. On Saturday, the team will move into Williams-Brice Stadium for an open scrimmage.
“Just a normal day of practice,” said head coach Steve Spurrier following Friday’s workout. “Nothing much happened. Good spirit. Nobody got hurt again, which we’ve been pretty fortunate thus far. No serious injuries but a lot of full speed contact. We’ve had our share of collisions, so it’s been pretty good.”
Coach Spurrier indicated that all four quarterbacks would get some snaps in Saturday’s scrimmage. “We’ll try to get them all some. They’ve all done pretty well. We do very well in pass skel. In pass skel, our quarterbacks are really looking good. Sometimes when the rushers are all around and the protection is not quite like pass skel, we don’t quite throw as well. But that’s ok. They’re learning. I think Deebo Samuel had a good practice today. He caught a few balls here and there. We’re coming around,” noted the Head Ball Coach.
Coach Spurrier was asked about the importance of Saturday’s scrimmage. “I don’t think we’re selling tickets to it, so it’s not that big,” he said. “Hopefully it should be a nice day and we’ll make some improvement and nobody gets hurt.” Coach Spurrier did not say that a quarterback could win the starting job during the scrimmage, but that they certainly could move up and down the depth chart. “We haven’t really put them in order,” he said. “Maybe after this scrimmage we’ll move somebody ahead of somebody. We’ll see how it plays out.”
Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott is looking forward to Saturday’s scrimmage. “At some point you have to turn them loose and let them go out there and play on their own and run and kind of emulate the game and see how it plays out,” said Elliott.
Elliott noted that tackle Mason Zandi is back at full speed after being limited in the spring with a hamstring injury. “Physically, he’s back. He’s moving around real well. He’s strong. He’s going to be an asset to our football team. He’s just got to continue to work to get these reps in before that first ballgame, but I think he’s right on schedule.”
Senior Mike Matulis also looks to be healthy this fall. “I think he’s doing well,” said Elliott. “I think he’s right where he needs to be. His confidence — I don’t see any hesitation with his steps. Physical nature – he’s really strong and ready to go out there. (Having Matulis back means) another healthy body who can play at a high level, so that’s a good thing.”
Senior Brandon Shell has performed well at the left tackle position after holding down the right tackle spot for the past three years. “I think he’s done real well,” noted Elliott. “Assignments … to some degree don’t change that much. His pass protection has been ok. His sets are fine. He’s strong, he’s physical, and he looks like he’s been playing it for the past three years. He out here just doing what he needs to do.”
Those who were held out of practice on Friday included defensive end Gerald Dixon (lower leg), offensive lineman Malik Young (ankle), safety Antoine Wilder (right knee sprain), tight end Connor Redmond (back), defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth (pec muscle) and kicker Joseph Charlton (back).
Saturday’s scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium is open to the public. Gates on the west side of the stadium will open at 4 p.m. for the 5 p.m. workout. Seating will be available in the lower bowl on the west side of the stadium only. The concession stands will be open on the west main level. Bags will be checked at the gates and fans will be limited to one bottled water per person. Parking will be available in Gamecock Park (Premium North, Premium South and Quad 1) beginning at 3:30 p.m. Photographers and videographers will be allowed to shoot the first 30 minutes of the scrimmage.