South Carolina completed it’s second practice with shoulder pads and helmets Monday, its final day before moving to full pads for the rest of camp.
Despite a shaky first couple of days at practice, Gamecocks players and coaches said they saw progress on Monday, as the team continues its Fall installations on offense and defense.
The brunt of South Carolina’s offensive success in 2018 will have to come from the effectiveness at its offensive line. This position has been one of questionable effectiveness over the last few years, including much injury attrition during the 2017 season.
The top five on the line appear to be set, with one player who benefited from the injury woes making the most of his opportunity is Sadarius Hutcherson.
He confessed going into last year, he didn’t expect as much playing time as he received, but now has the starting right guard position to show for it:
One player that will become the “Swiss-Army Knife” of the offensive line is Malik Young, who lost his starting spot to Dennis Daley, but has become the first sub off of the bench.
Young said Monday he’s played all five offensive line positions in this new role, and he’s thankful wherever he can fit in:
Offensive Line Coach Eric Wolford said that this offensive line is further along than at any time since he’s been at South Carolina.
For his full media session, click below:
South Carolina’s offense lost two key players in Deebo Samuel and Rico Dowdle to significant injuries last year.
Dowdle says this is the best he’s felt in his time at South Carolina, and it was very important for him to get back and contribute in the Gamecocks’ bowl game against Michigan.
He also believes the new offensive philosophy, where he says they’re trying to run a play every seven seconds, fits this set of offensive personnel:
Of course, South Carolina will only go as far as their quarterback, and Jake Bentley says his number one goal with this offensive overhaul is putting out a product “the fans can be proud of”:
On the practice field, both DE Brad Johnson and LB Eldridge Thompson shed the yellow non-contact jerseys and were full participants in Monday’s practice.
LS Ben Asbury, RB Lavonte Valentine , WRs Josh Vann & Chad Terrell all sat out offensive contact drills. DL Jabari Ellis, and S J.T. Ibe sat out contact drills on defense.
Reserves LB Sean McGonigal, OL Maxwell Iyama and TE Patrick Reedy also failed to go through contact in practice, while LB Rosendo Louis did conditioning drills but sat out contact drills with his left arm in a sling.
The Gamecocks also made one roster addition on Monday, as DB Jamel Cook joined the team after transferring from Southern California. Cook went to Southern Cal as a highly-touted recruit out of Miami, but played redshirted due to injury and played sparingly last season with the Trojans. He’ll sit this season and have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019.