The University of South Carolina football team held its first scrimmage of the fall preseason camp on Saturday morning at Williams-Brice Stadium. A few hundred fans braved the inclement weather, which kept the Gamecocks inside for an extra 30 minutes, but the rain subsided, allowing the team to conduct a 1 hour and 45 minute workout session.
“It was a good scrimmage I think,” said head coach Steve Spurrier. “Everybody got to play a bit and nobody got hurt, so that's always good.”
The Gamecocks offense had most of its success through the air, completing 27-of-44 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore walk-on Perry Orth made his case for being the number two signal-caller by completing 9-of-13 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard catch by Pharoh Cooper that would have made the highlight reel. Orth also connected with freshman Deebo Samuel on a 15-yard score. He was picked off once by sophomore safety Chaz Elder.
“I think T.J. (Gurley) could have clobbered him in a real game,” noted Coach Spurrier of Cooper's sensational grab. “He had him covered pretty well, but he sort of pulled off, which we encourage our players to do. Even though Pharoh made a nice play there, in a game he probably would have gotten clobbered on that particular play.”
Senior starter Dylan Thompson was efficient, completing 9-of-15 passes for 114 yards and a score. He led the offense on a 70-yard scoring drive on its first possession, culminating with a 3-yard TD pass to junior tight end Jerell Adams. Redshirt freshman Connor Mitch, who is also vying for the backup spot behind Thompson, hit on 6-of-9 passes for 52 yards.
The Gamecocks did not have much success running the ball, netting just one yard on 24 carries. Mike Davis was the leading rusher with 11 yards on four carries. Junior Shon Carson has a 7-yard TD scamper. Many of the rushing yards were lost on quarterback sacks after poor snaps from center.
“I thought our D-line stopped the run very well. I thought our offense didn't run the ball very well at all. We still can't snap the ball to the quarterback in the shotgun very well,” lamented Coach Spurrier. “We've only got two centers and they played a bunch last year, so we should be a lot better at that.”
“We played all right against the run, but we've got to play better against the pass,” said defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. “Too many big plays. We've got to get better. We've got to be able to get off the field. There were some third down situations they had where they stayed on the field,” continued Ward. “We've got to eliminate the holding calls that gave them first downs.”
“We've got a ways to go,” concluded Coach Spurrier. “You don't want to get too good right now. We're still almost three weeks away. We'll just keep practicing and keep trying to get better. “
The Gamecocks will participate in the annual Colonial Life Fan Appreciation Day on Sunday afternoon at Colonial Life Arena. Doors will open at 1 p.m. The squad will not practice on Sunday. The next scheduled practice is Monday at 10 a.m. at the Bluff Road practice fields. It is closed to the public.
Jerell Adams 3-yard pass from Dylan Thompson (Elliott Fry kick)
Shon Carson 7-yard run (Landon Ard kick)
Pharoh Cooper 55-yard pass from Perry Orth (Elliott Fry kick)
Deebo Samuel 15-yard pass from Perry Orth (no PAT attempted)
Perry Orth 9-13-1-147, 2 TD; Dylan Thompson 9-15-0-114, 1 TD; Connor Mitch 6-9-0-52; Michael Scarnecchia 3-7-0-31. TOTALS: 27-44-1-344, 3 TD.
Mike Davis 4-11; Brendan Nosovitch 1-9; Darius Paulk 3-5; Brandon Wilds 2-4; Devin Potter 2-4; Shon Carson 5-1, 1 TD; Connor Mitch 1-(–4); Perry Orth 1-(–7); Michael Scarnecchia 5-(–22). TOTALS: 24-1, 1 TD.
Deebo Samuel 3-45, 1 TD; Shaq Roland 3-44; Damiere Byrd 3-28; Brandon Wilds 3-25; Pharoh Cooper 2-80, 1 TD; Jerell Adams 2-22, 1 TD; Carlton Heard 2-14; K.J. Brent 1-17; Kane Whitehurst 1-15; Shamier Jeffery 1-14; Shon Carson 1-12; Jacob August 1-10; Drew Owens 1-7; Nick McGriff 1-4; Rod Talley 1-4; Darius Paulk 1-3. TOTALS: 27-344, 3 TD.