March 13, 2012
The University of South Carolina football squad returned to the Bluff Road practice fields for the first time in 2012, as spring practice officially got underway today in Columbia. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the mid-70s. Tuesday marked the first of 15 allotted practices in the spring.
"It was a typical first day of spring ball," said head coach Steve Spurrier, who is beginning his eighth year in Columbia. "A lot of young guys running around and hustling. The effort was very good. Throwing and catching at times looked good, at times not so good. The defense looked pretty sharp. But a good first day and hopefully we'll get a little better as the week progresses and be ready to have an excellent spring game on April 14.
"Our guys had an excellent winter conditioning," continued Coach Spurrier. "Joe Connolly, our strength coach, and his staff did a super job of getting our guys in position to give the effort and they have done it. Really impressed with the times, the lifts, the strength and conditioning of our team right now."
Several players are expected to sit out the spring as they continue to recover from surgeries. The list includes Akeem Auguste (foot), TB Shon Carson (knee), FB Matt Coffee (knee), OC Travis Ford (foot), DE Deon Green (shoulder), TB Marcus Lattimore (knee), OT Mike Matulis (shoulder), OT Brock Stadnik (shoulder) and FS D.J. Swearinger (foot).
Sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney did not participate in Tuesday's practice due to an academic issue. He is expected to be at practice on Thursday.
Coach Spurrier expects running back Kenny Miles to be back this fall. Miles went through Senior Day ceremonies last fall, but has a year of eligibility remaining. "We fully expect him to be ready. He's one injury away from being the guy. He knows the potential there."
Coach Spurrier said the decision that Bruce Ellington made to give up football and concentrate on basketball was up to him. "That's a decision a young man has to make. Basketball was my first love too. Hopefully it will work out for Bruce. We're all for him. We wish him the best certainly."
In other news, Corey Robinson has been moved over the offensive line and will work at the tackle position. "He showed very good effort in winter conditioning," noted Coach Spurrier. Qua Gilchrist has been moved to fullback.
The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Thursday at 4:15 p.m. In a scheduling change, the Gamecocks will also practice on Saturday, March 17, in addition to Thursday's and Friday's scheduled practices this week. They will not practice on Thursday, March 22 as previously reported.
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