While the South Carolina Gamecocks continue to fine tune the product on the field, it appears the atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium is already in midseason form.

During the televised broadcast of the season opener against Tennessee, it was noted that the stadium was as loud as it’s been in previous years.

Ridge View junior Miquel Mason attended the game as both a fan and a South Carolina hopeful. He confirmed that there was no shortage of energy Saturday night.

“To be honest the atmosphere is still the same as last year even though it was less fans,” he said. “I could still feel it and everybody was still into the game.”

He noted that there were safety protocols in place as fans were staggered throughout the stadium.

“Me and my friends were the only ones on that row, then there was a family above us and a family below us,” he said. “So they socially distanced a fair amount.”

Mason is an outside linebacker for the Blazers and as high school football throughout the state gets underway, he said they’ve had to manage with limited fans in the stands.

“We try not to worry about the fans as much. Of course we’ll feel it in the playoffs and stuff,” he said. “But we just focus on dominating the team all four quarters and the stuff we’ve got to do to play our best game possible.”

The Gamecocks will try to manage as well as they hit the road this weekend to take on No. 3 Florida. It’s a contest where the Gators are heavy favorites, but Mason said what he saw on Saturday leads him to believe South Carolina will be competitive.

“The biggest thing was the offense. The offense was moving the ball with ease,” he said. “The defense had trouble sometimes, but overall the defense looks like they can hang with anybody in the SEC right now.”

The experience overall was one that will keep Mason coming back this season.

“It’s good to have football back after not knowing if we would have it back,” he said. “I’ve seen the team make some improvements and I’m ready to go to the next game.”