The South Carolina Gamecocks hit the field for scrimmage number two Saturday night and are looking to simulate a gameday experience.
Head coach Will Muschamp said this past week’s practices were to give them a feel of what it will be like leading up to the Sept. 26 season opener against Tennessee.
Muschamp said after the first scrimmage that they’re looking to create depth on both sides of the ball, particularly at the running back and defensive line position and scrimmage two will be an iron sharpens iron situation as the two units go against each other.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Zaquandre White is down with an injury at the moment, but he’s confident in the three main backs he has, including Deshaun Fenwick.
“We had a good week this week where we focused on our run game a lot where last week was a little pass heavy,” he said. “We need consistency at that position. We need guys that are gonna read the run correctly and hit the run with power and run behind their pads.”
Bobo said while the group did some things well after the first scrimmage, but they were still challenged and will be tested again in scrimmage two.
“Turnovers is a big one, we want to control turnovers,” he said. “Turnovers are going to happen, but we want to limit turnovers every single ball game and win the turnover ratio. If we’re throwing it, I’m looking at yards per attempt and is it worth our while for us to throw it this many times.”
He noted that that it needs to be in the 8-10 range in order to be worth it.
They’ll take on a defensive unit that coordinator Travarus Robinson has equal confidence in.
“You see look at the combination of Jabari Ellis, Keir Thomas, Zaach Pickens, Rick Sandridge, those guys have played a lot of football for us,” he said. “Then you look at guys like Alex Huntley, guys like Makius Scott, guys that are going to come in and contribute as well.”
He added that they just have to work through the natural growing pains that come with bringing along new and young players.
“I like where we are, I think we’ve just got to continue to develop,” he said. “I think coach [Tracy Rocker] is doing a great job. He’s extremely hard on those guys and they need it. It’s been really fun to be around him as he develops those guys.”
They’ll have a strong secondary unit to fall back on anchored by projected NFL draft picks Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu. The duo, in addition to Cam Smith, have high expectations and Robinson said they’ve been working to clean up little things that will help in the long run.
“I was on Twitter, Coach Muschamp and myself, and we saw that the [New York] Giants put some tennis balls in a couple of guys hands,” he said. “So we went out and utilized that and used that in our practice a couple of times and we’ll use it throughout the course of next week just to help us with some of the penalties we got last year. I think that can help Izzy, that can help him, that can help Jaycee on some of the handsy stuff.”