COLUMBIA - One day after being critical of his offense, head coach Steve Spurrier had a much different message following Tuesday morning's two-hour practice at the Bluff Road practice fields.
"The offensive guys came alive today," Spurrier said. "Dylan (Thompson) hit about everything during the team period, moving it right down the field about 80 yards for a score. Then when the young guys got in there it seemed like (Michael) Scarnecchia hit a whole bunch of passes. The young O-linemen blocked a few guys today, which was an improvement. It was encouraging what the offense was able to do today."
Although most of the experts assume that Scarnecchia, a true freshman, will be redshirted, Coach Spurrier left open the possibility that he could contend for the backup role with Connor Mitch and Perry Orth behind Thompson. "We're giving all three of them about equal reps right now, so we'll make the call," said the Head Ball Coach. "Scarnecchia is a kid who tries to learn what to do. He listens. He pays attention. He wants to be a good player. He's coming around. The other guys did OK also."
Spurrier has been critical of the snaps from center to quarterback in the shotgun formation early in camp. "I think when you start camp you always have those rough points," said offensive line coach Shawn Elliott. "It's smoothing out a little bit. They're improving. They're working on it every day, so we're looking to trying to get that taken care of."
Elliott confirmed that Cody Waldrop did not practice on Tuesday after pulling an oblique muscle. With Waldrop out, Clayton Stadnik took the bulk of the reps, with Will Sport getting in some work at center as well. "It's certainly a close competition (for the starting position between Waldrop and Stadnik)," said Elliott. "Without a doubt. That's going to run right up to the day. We'll see where that plays out. Both are working hard."
While the offensive line has been inconsistent at times, Elliott feels good about the front line unit. "I think our young guys struggle at times," admitted Elliott. "I think our veteran group in there, they do a pretty good job. You try to mix and match various players with teams, and at times it looks like a crapshoot out there and other times it runs smoothly. We've got to put together a first group and a second group, and that's what we're trying to finalize and see where we go. There are bumps in the road as expected. This practice was much more focused and in tune and looked much better."
The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Wednesday at 10 a.m. All practices are closed.