This next football season will be South Carolina’s first season without legendary Coach Steve Spurrier. But after seeing what I saw at their spring game, I think Coach Will Muschamp will have the Gamecocks ready for the season opener at Vanderbilt. Here’s some of the good and the not so good I saw from the spring game.
Good: The play of true freshman quarterback Brandon McIllwain. The faithful here in Columbia, South Carolina have been looking for an answer at quarterback and I think they found their golden arm. McIllwain started the game with the starters and had a really good outing. He went 19 of 26, threw 2 touchdown passes, and also carried the ball into the endzone one time for the score.
I expect Coach Muschamp to drag the quarterback battle well into the summer camp, but I really think he should end it early and name a starter so the team can be in rhythm with one quarterback. And I think that quarterback starter is McIllwain. He is pretty far ahead of the pack, if you factor in that he should still be in high school and that he is also playing baseball for the Gamecocks this spring.
He is also working on his timing with fellow freshmen Bryan Edwards. Edwards was on the receiving end of both of McIllwain’s two touchdown passes. McIllwain throwing to 6’3″ Edwards might be one of the favorite combos for Gamecock faithful next year.
The play of redshirt freshman wide receiver Javon Charleston should help the passing attack of the Gamecocks next season. The receiving corp has a whole new look. For the most part all of the receivers are big for the Gamecocks.
Questionable: I don’t want to use the word “bad” because it is only April, so everything is relatively fixable. The Gamecock’s secondary still looks shaky. The linebackers will be lead by T.J. Holloman and Skai Moore and should be fine. I can’t really judge the pass rush since in a spring game there really is no pass rush. As a whole the secondary looked weak and far from ready. Yes, I am mostly talking about the second string defense, but some of those guys will have to play some minutes this year. There were breakdowns throughout the game. Connor Mitch and Brandon McIllwain threw for 3 TD and over 300 yards.
The run game of the Gamecocks was inconsistent and it seems like one running back separated from the pack. Junior, Jamari Smith, had some really good plays in the slot and the backfield, but he will probably not be the starting the running back for the Gamecocks.
The longest run of the game was by Deebo Samuels, a wide receiver. Junior, Rod Talley, had a game high 34 rushing yards. The offensive line and the running backs need to be able to have some run game to protect their quarterback next year. Hopefully the holes will start to get wider for David Williams and the other running backs.