COLUMBIA -- Take it for what it's worth, but South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says every job on the team -- including quarterback -- is wide open right now.
Some of the focus this spring has been on the fight among freshman Connor Shaw, redshirt freshman Andrew Clifford and junior Zac Brindise to see who's going to back up redshirt junior Stephen Garcia.
Not so fast, the Ball Coach says.
"All of you guys think these guys are fighting for the backup job," Spurrier said. "Every position on the team is usually open. If one of the guys plays better than the other guys, they play.
"There's no guarantees Stephen's going to play that first game. I mean, he should. He should, but if he goes bad and the other guy's getting better, he'll play."
Garcia hasn't looked all that polished this spring, leaving Spurrier open to those types of comments. Spurrier said Clifford and Brindise were the best two quarterbacks in the Gamecocks' scrimmage this past Saturday.
All will see time in next week's spring game.
"It's not real mathematical science or anything. The best players play," Spurrier said. "If Stephen's the best player, he'll play. If the other guys prove they can play better than him, they'll play."
Pep in step
Thursday certainly had to rank among the most energized spring practices for the team.
The Gamecocks particularly got into it in the final minutes. The defense was pitted against the offense in a goal-line drill.
The defense kept the offense out of the end zone four of seven tries, so it got to abstain from running.
Running back Kenny Miles ran hard to the goal line on the final play, but was ruled just short of crossing into the end zone. With both sides circling the play, the defense roared when the call was made.
"Yeah, our guys had a lot of spirit today," Spurrier said. "We really have a lot of guys with a strong commitment. I wish we had more, but most of them are doing well. Most of them are doing really well. The ones that aren't, we need to weed them out, let them go play somewhere else."
Looking for a kicker
So far this spring, no one's emerged in the battle to win the kickoff job. Then again, special teams coordinator Shane Beamer said, no one's gone backward, either.
Spencer Lanning, Joey Scribner-Howard, Jay Wooten and Adam Yates are all still right in the mix.
Next week's spring game, with several thousand fans in the stands, will be a good test for the quartet.
"The more scrimmage situations we can get in, the more live situations we can get in, the better," Beamer said. "You don't want it to be the first time someone rolls out there, against Southern Miss on national television. You want to expose them to as many things like that as we can."
DT Ladi Ajiboye (sprained foot) returned to practice Thursday, but he'll be limited the remainder of spring practice, likely sitting out the spring game. ... The Gamecocks will practice today before taking the Easter weekend off.