COLUMBIA -- Freshman tackle Brandon Shell is slowly progressing and "could potentially be out there," offensive line coach Shawn Elliott said after practice Thursday.

He has seen time at both tackle spots. "He's actually come around here in the last three or four days," Elliott said of the Goose Creek High product. "He's really picked up the game of football, so to speak. He's started learning a lot. Intelligence is huge with freshmen. If they're not picking up on the plays, they don't play up to their ability, and that's the problem with a lot of incoming guys.

I think he's starting to understand the concepts and what we're trying to get across."

Shaw throws

Backup quarterback Connor Shaw did not practice but did some light throwing when it was over. He slammed his right (throwing) thumb into a helmet or facemask after throwing two touchdown passes during the open scrimmage Wednesday night.

50-50

Special teams coordinator John Butler said the punter battle is "50-50" between redshirt freshman Patrick Fish and senior Joey Scribner-Howard. Spencer Lanning did all of the punting in 2010.

'Cheap hit'

Elliott said he thought right tackle Rokevious Watkins' hit on safety Corey Addison after a scrimmage interception Wednesday night was "pretty cheap."

"I appreciate him covering out," Elliott said of his own guy, "but in camp I think you have to take care of yourself and you have to know when to do things and when not to."

Extra points

Perhaps the most important preseason development project: the new Waffle House almost in the shadow of Williams-Brice Stadium on Bluff Road.

--The Gamecocks practice this afternoon and have a scrimmage scheduled for Saturday morning at 10 (not open to the public yet but stay tuned). They have Sunday off.

For more on South Carolina football, go to postandcourier.com/gamecocks.