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Gamecocks defense uses first scrimmage as learning experience

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(Source: Rick Henry) (Source: Rick Henry)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

When a team comes out and plays their first scrimmage, there are usually a few wrinkles that players need to iron out in order to polish their game.

Questions about how South Carolina would fare this season surfaced after losing several key contributors to their 11-2 record from the 2013 campaign.

Answers may not have been expected by the fans that showed up at Williams-Brice Stadium, but the Gamecocks are a step closer to having a few.

"I thought our D-line stopped the run very well," Head coach Steve Spurrier said. "Our offense didn't run the ball very well at all. The quarterbacks hit a few here and there."

The Gamecocks' defense stifled the running back holding the offense to on yard and one touchdown on 24 carries.

Still, this was the first scrimmage and the Gamecocks didn't play a picture perfect game in the eyes of the Head Ball Coach.

"Overall, pretty sloppy," Spurrier said. "We still can't snap the ball to the quarterback from the shotgun very well. We've only got two centers and they played a bunch last year. We should be a lot better at that."

However, there are a few bright spots for the Gamecocks. An athletic catch by Pharoh Cooper turned into a 55-yard touchdown pass. Cooper's reception was one of three passing touchdowns for the offense.

"I think T.J. (Gurley) could have clobbered him in a real game," Spurrier said when asked about Cooper's catch. "He had him covered pretty well, but he sort of pulled off, which we encourage our players to do. Even though Cooper made a nice play there, in a game, he probably would have gotten clobbered on that particular play."

The Gamecocks' secondary is still learning. Although there were times when they showed their potential, there were a few miscues that the offense would capitalize on.

"We played all right against the run, but we've got to play better against the pass," USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward told reporters. "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. We've got to eliminate the holding calls that gave them first downs."

Dylan Thompson finished the day 9-of-15 for 114 yards and a touchdown. The remaining quarterbacks (Mitch, Orth, Scarnecchia) were a combined 18-of-29 for 230 yards, one interception and two touchdowns.

Fan Appreciation Day takes place starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Colonial Life Arena. The next scheduled practice for the Gamecocks will be on Monday at 10 a.m. and will be closed to the public.

Copyright 2014 WIS. All rights reserved.

 

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