Mixed bag for USC quarterbacks
COLUMBIA -- Doctors expect him to make a full recovery, but South Carolina offensive lineman Ronald Patrick will miss the rest of the spring after having surgery Thursday for an abscess behind his right eye, at the base of his brain.
Patrick is expected to remain in the hospital until the middle of the week, but USC football coach Steve Spurrier said the rising sophomore is "on the road to recovery."
"Any time they go into your head, or your brain, it's serious business," Spurrier said. "Hopefully everything is going to turn out OK."
Spurrier said Patrick, the 6-1, 295-pound Floridian who played sparingly last season as a backup center and has moved back to guard, will likely need a month or two before being "ready to go."
"From what we think, the surgeons did an excellent job," Spurrier said. "His headaches are not there. He's got some recovery time ahead of him, but we're hoping and praying it was a very successful operation and he will not need any more surgeries."
Spurrier was complimentary of the healthy members of the line after Saturday morning's first official scrimmage of the spring. He said there were fewer assignment "whiffs" by the line, led by redshirt senior tackle Rokevious Watkins and redshirt junior T.J. Johnson.
Spurrier was classically critical of his top quarterbacks, neither of whom was particularly efficient in the cool, damp morning weather at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Senior Stephen Garcia, in his first scrimmage action since his suspension last week, was 5 for 13 for 51 yards with a 26-yard touchdown strike to DeAngelo Smith in the back left corner of the end zone.
Backup Connor Shaw was often shaky in his decision-making, going 4 for 14 for 47 yards and an interception on a deep ball. He did make one nice throw on an out route to Lamar Scruggs, a 14-yard pickup as he was getting hit.
Overall, Spurrier was concerned with Shaw's timing and his ability to get the ball out quickly. He thinks, too, that the sophomore is deciding to run much too quickly, a complaint he's historically had about Garcia.
The next tier of quarterbacks, Dylan Thompson and Andrew Clifford, actually had more success.
Thompson, a redshirt freshman, was 7 for 12 for 86 yards as he continues to surprise this spring. Clifford, suspended last week with Garcia, was 5 for 7 for 83 yards and threw a 46-yard touchdown to D.L. Moore.
As Spurrier heard Garcia and Shaw's stats, he repeated them and sort of rolled his eyes.
"I wish one of them would just hit them all and take his steps and throw it when he's supposed to," Spurrier said. "That doesn't happen. That's why we'll probably run the ball about 50 times a game, hopefully, with Marcus (Lattimore) and Kenny Miles and Eric Baker."
Baker, coming back from a knee injury, ran 10 times for 34 yards and touchdowns of 1 and 6 yards. Miles ran four times for 36 yards. Lattimore, in anticipated limited duty, rushed four times for 28 yards.
After the defense "won" the unofficial scrimmage last week, the offense came out ahead Saturday -- by a field goal.
"Now we're going to have to go in there (the locker room) and hear about it after they had to hear about it last week," said DeVonte Holloman, who has moved this spring from strong safety to spur linebacker.
PASSING: Garcia 5-13, 51 yards, TD; Shaw 4-11, 47, INT; Thompson 7-12, 86; Clifford 5-7, 83, TD.
RUSHING: Lattimore 4-28; Garcia 1-5; Miles 4-36; Shaw 5-9; Thompson 2-1; Baker 10-34, 2 TDs; Blue 6-24.
RECEIVING: Coffee 1-5; Miles 1-5; Barnes 1-18; Sanders 4-46; Jones 2-16; Moore 2-56, TD; D. Smith 4-58, TD; Sherman 1-7; Scruggs 3-36.