In the week leading up to South Carolina’s spring game Saturday, head coach Steve Spurrier seemed confident in regards to the state of his Gamecocks ball team, getting a little “salty” when discussing a couple of SEC rivals.
Based on the number of fans in attendance, they’re feeling the confidence as well.
In front of what the school listed as 34,513 fans in attendance, the Black team, behind the play of quarterback Connor Shaw, outscored the Garnet team 38-24 in the annual Garnet & Black game. In limited action, Shaw completed 6-of-7 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Tanner McEvoy also tossed two TD passes for the Black squad.
Effectively the game was over at the half, with the Black team holding a 35-10 advantage with two quarters to play.
In his postgame comments, the Ol’ Ball Coach said that his 2012 Gamecocks “[have] a chance to be pretty good”, but also lamented a secondary and non-existent pass rush that allowed the quarterbacks to be so successful.
We obviously threw the ball and caught it better than any spring game. Probably more passing yards and completions. I thought coverage could’ve been better. We didn’t have a pass rush. Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor didn’t play much. The quarterbacks had time and the receivers caught about everything. They had good routes. Who’s to say if our coverage is suspect or not, but I know Coach Ward wasn’t happy about some guys getting behind them. It made the offensive guys look pretty good throwing and catching. Whatever it means, I don’t know. We’ll keep working and try to improve. You can tell we have pretty good-looking, physical guys. Brandon Shell looks like a big time offensive tackle. If he gets quicker and stronger, he’ll be a big time offensive tackle. It’s encouraging. I think he played probably 50 or 60 plays today. It was good to see a lot of those guys play a bunch. Most are in pretty good shape. The defensive line got tired. Some of them played both sides of course. It’s just the spring game; just a practice game. The highlight was at halftime introducing the senior guys. Hopefully the next year we’ll do the senior guys for doing something special like the 2011 guys did.
On the successful passing day
I guess it was nice for the offensive guys. Not real nice for the defensive guys. The quarterbacks picked them out well. That was surprising. They only threw one or two errant balls today. All the quarterbacks threw well and the receivers caught most of everything. That’s encouraging.
USC was one of six SEC teams to conduct its spring game Saturday, with recaps for the rest — minus Alabama, which has its own solo post HERE — available for consumption below:
Auburn — On the same day Auburn’s quarterback of the past was one of the school’s former Heisman winners to have his statue outside Jordan-Hare Stadium unveiled, the Tigers’ QB of the future was putting on a very impressive display inside the stadium that no doubt left the coaching staff (privately) salivating over the future.
Sophomore Kiehl Frazier dazzled the 43,000-plus in attendance, completing seven of his nine passes for 92 yards in helping lead the offense to a 36-27 “win” over the defense. Head coach Gene Chizik, however, warned not to read too much into the numbers.
“I wouldn’t pay attention to any of the stats today. I wouldn’t read into any stats you may see, good or bad,” the coach said.
In addition to Frazier’s contributions, transfer running backs Mike Blakely (Florida) and Corey Grant (Alabama) each scored a touchdown on the ground.
Georgia — The story of UGA’s spring game may have been more about who wasn’t participating than about who was. Neither cornerback Malcolm Mitchell, moved from wide receiver to cornerback at least for the short-term, nor stud freshman running back Keith Marshall were available due to hamstring issues.
Of those who were available, 44,000 fans at the annual G-Day Game watched as the Red team stopped a late two-point conversion to hold on for a 32-31 victory. The winning side was led by running back Ken Malcolm’s two touchdowns as well as 112 yards passing and a touchdown from starting quarterback Aaron Murray.
Regardless of the particulars, head coach Mark Richt, like just about every other coach in America following these games, was pleased with what he saw.
“It was a great day for Georgia,” Coach Mark Richt said. “I feel like everyone enjoyed the game. I thought there were a lot of offensive plays that were made today. When you look at it, the defense was scoring points, too. I thought both sides of the ball played well. It was exciting.”
Missouri — With starter James Franklin out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder, backups Corbin Berkstresser and Ashton Glaser combined to throw for 400 yards and three touchdowns in Mizzou’s first Black & Gold Game as a semi-official member of the SEC. The game feature two distinct scoring systems: the first half pitted the starting offenses and defenses against the backups — the reserves won those two periods 34-10 — while the second half featured the starting offense vs. the starting defense — the latter trumped the former 5-3. Linebacker Donovan Bonner led a solid defensive effort against a Franklin-less offense, returning an interception 65 yards for a touchdown and totaling six tackles.
Vanderbilt — In the Commodores’ annual Black & Gold spring game, the Black team was composed mainly of starters on both sides of the ball. So, as logic would dictate, the Black team dominated the Gold team, coming out on the good side of a 30-0 whitewashing. The duo of junior wide receiver Jordan Matthews and redshirt freshman wide receiver Josh Grady combined to score three touchdowns, including one that saw Grady take a direct snap and throw it to Matthews for the final score of the game. Oddly enough, Grady did not catch a pass but still accounted for two TDs — one on the ground and the previously mentioned one through the air.
(Photo credit: South Carolina athletics)