Aug. 10, 2016
Rain in the Columbia area forced the University of South Carolina football team to practice in the Jerri and Steve Spurrier Indoor Practice Facility on Wednesday afternoon. It was the squad’s 11th workout of the preseason camp.
Defensive line coach Lance Thompson was asked about his projected rotation up front. “It’s very fluid,” said Thompson. “We’re working probably 10 guys right now at different positions, moving guys around trying to get the best combination. The main thing is trying to teach them the techniques to get a foundation that will last them through the season so if one guy goes down at one position, the next best guy can go in the game. You always want the best 11 on the field.”
Thompson is trying to develop enough depth along the defensive line that he feels confident when he puts those players in the game. “I would love to have 10 (defensive linemen) that you can win a football game with,” he said. “That would be the ideal, optimistic view. We have the guys we have. We’re working them hard. They’re working hard. We’re hopefully going to get them to the best they can be.”
Thompson knows that one of the issues in last year’s 3-9 campaign was the inability to create a pass rush. “Without question, our defensive line, we’ve got to improve in every area. Number one is stopping the run but number two is effectively affecting the quarterback, whether it’s sacks or hurries or just getting him off the spot, getting him out of his rhythm,” said Thompson. “We’ve got to do a much better job and we’ve still got a long way to go with that, but the guys are working hard at it.”
Thompson was not ready to name his starting quartet. “I’m not really concerned with who is a starter and who’s not a starter because the second series there may be a new guy in the game possibly,” he said. “With that being said, they all need to be able to perform at a high level and play winning football on a consistent basis.”
Coach Thompson had high praise for freshman D.J. Wonnum. “D.J. Wonnum, for a true freshman, has the mind of a senior. He sees the game, he’s natural, he’s reactive. We’re all very encouraged and very happy with D.J. Wonnum. He has all the right intangibles. He’s really performed at a high level.”
The first episode of “Gamecock Confidential: Forever to Thee,” a five-part mini-series documenting the dawn of a new era of Gamecock Football under head coach Will Muschamp, will debut tonight on Facebook LIVE at 8 pm ET.
Episode One of the series will cover the hiring of Coach Muschamp and his staff and document their first spring on campus. The episode will feature offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson wired at a practice session, and include interviews with Athletics Director Ray Tanner, Coach Muschamp, various players and SEC Network talent Paul Finebaum and Marcus Spears.
The video, produced by Gamecock Productions, will initially be distributed on South Carolina Gamecocks Facebook LIVE account, and will be added to the official website of Gamecock Athletics, Gamecocksonline.com, upon completion of the debut.
The five-part series will air each of the next five Wednesdays, chronicling the Carolina Football program from Coach Muschamp’s hiring through the season opener at Vanderbilt on September 1.
The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields Thursday with a new scheduled start time. The team will begin practice at 6:30 pm. The stretch and the first three periods will be open to the media.