South Carolina spring practice is over, and now it’s time to put a bow on it as the offseason begins.
As the Gamecocks fully transition to roster-building and team-building mode in May and over the summer, let’s take a final look at the best quotes from spring ball.
South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer and coordinators
Beamer on the center competition: That’s something we’ve been preparing for since last year. Vershon (Lee) and Nick (Gargiulo) are the two guys primarily working there. We have other guys who’ve been doing other things at center. You can never have toom any of those guys that can make the calls you need to make at the center position, direct traffic for the offense and be able to snap the ball to the quarterback. We’re trying to develop as many as we can. But Nick and Vershon are the top two guys there as we go into day one.”
Dowel Loggains on streamlining the offense: “I don’t know if you see it from the outside. You see a team that looks well-prepared and organized. You eliminate plays that lose games: false starts, turnovers, sacks, not being on the same page in protection, not having free hitters in the run game. That process is still going on…If we have 15 really good players, do we have packages for those other four or five guys not in the huddle as well? That’s when streamlining starts…you have to see the weakness of the roster before it becomes a weakness. Maybe this guy isn’t ready to play but in six weeks he might be after a summer and training camp. It’s constantly growing that way.”
Pete Lembo on Juju McDowell: I have seen the best version of Juju this spring. It’s a very good focus. He’s always got energy but I’ve seen maturity in him this spring and more of an attention to detail out of him. That’s shown up at kick returner but it’s shown up in all the other things we do special-teams wise. He’s growing up. He’s always had that likeability because he’s energetic and talented and bright-eyed. But he’s starting to mature as a person and a player. I’ve tried to go out of my way several times this spring to let him know that.”
Clayton White on the linebacker room: “I will say those guys do a great job of learning how to be college dudes. I’m starting to see those guys let loose and open up and have personalities. Once the big brother leave the house those guys are opening up, playing fast and starting to see them develop the younger guys we have in Jaron (Willis) and Grayson (Howard). That’s been the main thing.”
South Carolina assistant coaches
Justin Stepp on Loggains: “When it started coming out he was coming here, a lot of those guys I recruited there said I would love this guy. A lot of guys in the profession I think a lot of that coach Loggains knows were hitting me up saying this guy is an awesome guy and he’s a really good football coach. I’m excited he’s here. The offense gives our guys opportunities to push the ball down the field and make plays. Any receiver, they’ll do whatever you need them to do if they know eventually they’re going to get chances to make plays down the field, make one-on-one catches and try to get in the end zone.”
Sterling Lucas on Desmond Umeozulu: “When we recruit guys, we want guys who love football. I think he definitely loves football and is willing to do the little things to be successful. I’m very excited about where he is. He’s still supposed to be in high school but he’s out there competing and is always around the ball. In our room, the thing we talk about on day one is leading the SEC in effort. We grade the loaves really hard and he has minimum loaves. He constantly shows up around the football, which is a good thing.”
Lonnie Teasley on Nick Gargilo: “Nick plays extremely hard. In every O-line room, you need what I call the rabbit. You need the guy who sets the effort barometer and the temperature for the effort. He does that. Last year it might have been Jovaughn or some weeks it might have been Eric…Nick’s been great, man. He plays hard. When guys play that hard it rubs off on the guys next to you. The next guy wants to play hard. Nick’s brought an edge with how hard he plays and practices day in and day out.”
Montario Hardesty on recruiting in Georgia: “That was big. That was a guy we pinpointed as a staff we wanted to go after and get. The first year we didn’t bring in a guy from the high school ranks. You want to continue to add guys to your team depth but want to bring young guys in and bring them along. I think it was big. This year, we’re looking to do the same thing. That’s just starting. In our radius, I think we did a great job in that South Georgia area with some of those guys we got coming in…It was big. We want t continue to build on that momentum.”
Jimmy Lindsey on Boogie Huntley: “It was veyr furstrating. For people who don’t know, Boogie’s the kind of kid who wants to be in there and play. It was a nagging injury for a couple of weeks. He missed the Kentucky game. But we have a group chat and he’s the first guy to text the guys in the group chat the day before the game, ‘Hey fellas, let’s go out and represent and get this done,’ while he’s here in Columbia. As the year went on, he got healthier towards the end of the year and went into the bowl game. He was able to gain that confidence back.”
South Carolina players
Luke Doty on learning the offense: “I think once you’re in one system, it’s pretty easy to pick up and learn a new one. It’s been getting the verbiage translated over and learning the new things we maybe didn’t have last year or in the past. It’s been a lot of fun so far. We’re going to keep having more fun as it goes. Coach Loggains has been fun. He’s been a big ball of energy on the field. He coaches us hard. He wants us to play free and have fun. We correct mistakes in the film room but when we’re on the field it’s a complete absence of fear and not worrying so much about if I’m going to mess up. We can go out there and not think about much, play free and have fun. I think that’s the biggest difference.”
Vershon Lee on learning center: “Reading the keys of the defense and making an ID. When I was at guard, I had Eric Douglas making all the calls. I didn’t have to worry about seeing what the safeties are doing. Now I have to be Eric Douglas making the calls. That’s probably the biggest difference along with being more vocal and helping my teammates be in the right positions at all times.”
Marcellas Dial on his decision to return: “I needed a year where I would be in the spotlight and I’d be labeled as the guy in the program as the No. 1 corner. South Carolina is known as the DB U. We’re becoming the new DB U. We’re known for having the best cornerbacks coming out. I felt like I needed another year to prove myself and show my ability on the field. I feel like I needed to come back for another year. Three weeks into spring ball, I feel like it’s the best decision I could have made.”
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