The University of South Carolina football worked out Friday afternoon at the Bluff Road “Proving Grounds.” The Gamecocks (6-6, 3-5 SEC) are preparing for the Saturday, December 27, Duck Commander Independence Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes (6-6, 3-5 ACC). Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. ET and the contest will be televised nationally on ABC.
Following practice, quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus said he’s impressed when watching the Miami defense. “They’re good. They’re fast,” said Mangus. “The linebacking crew is really good. They run around. Their safeties are aggressive. We’ll have to be on point.”
Mangus indicated that the staff has not looked ahead at the quarterback situation for next season. “It’s the last thing we’re worried about right now,” noted Mangus. “Although (the young quarterbacks) have gotten plenty of reps. We always try to give the young guys reps during bowl practice, that’s why it’s always critical to get in one and let these young guys play a little bit, so they’ve got some good scrimmage time here in the last week or so. Connor Mitch is starting to figure it out and has made some nice throws,” added Mangus.
Recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. was pleased with inking nine players this week. “We know we’ve got to work hard in January too,” cautioned Spurrier Jr. “Everybody is recruiting all of our guys, we know that. We’ve got to keep recruiting them. It’s a good group if we can get them all here.”
Spurrier Jr. understands why other schools are continuing to recruit the Gamecock commitments. “It means we recruited well,” said Spurrier Jr. “I remember there was a time we had a bunch of guys committed and we couldn’t get rid of them, they were ours, nobody else was recruiting them,” joked Spurrier Jr. “Now we’re recruiting people everybody in the nation wants. That’s a good thing.”
Spurrier, who also coaches the wide receivers, acknowledged that neither Shaq Roland or Damiere Byrd had the kind of year that was expected of them. “Pharoh (Cooper) certainly did though,” noted Spurrier Jr. “Everybody wants to be critical of why this guy is bad, why are we struggling here, why is this happening. But we had some good things happen this year on offense too.“
In other news, four players, including Drew Owens, and walk-ons Caleb Hines, Michael Washington and Stephen Petty, have left the team following the regular season.
The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. All practices in Columbia are closed.