South Carolina spring football game: Thumbs up, Thumbs down – The State

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Brandon McIlwain: The early enrollee should be figuring out his prom plans at this time of year. Instead he’s holding his own against an SEC defense. It’s hard to read too much into spring stats (169 yards and two scores on 19-of-26 passing), but a lot of folks have done worse.

Young receivers: Youth will be an overriding theme for Gamecocks pass catchers, and the new guys did pretty well. Early enrollee Bryan Edwards had a couple nice plays, including a pair of scoring receptions. Ex-cornerback/running back Jamari Smith made some eye-catching plays on the way to 54 yards, and walk-on Javon Charleston performed well.

Thin linebacker group: USC was missing leading tackler Skai Moore and veteran reserve Jonathan Walton. The younger group still managed to get the better of South Carolina’s ground game.

Prime interview location: Spring games allow for some flexibility with in-game interviews mid-play. Still, it’s not often one sees something like Mack Brown and a cameraman hustling to the middle of the field to interview Will Muschamp.

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Running game: It’s not exactly fair, since Muschamp admitted the staff held back on some staple concepts to prevent linemen from getting legs tied up or fallen on. That said, both sides averaged only three yards per carry, with top two runners A.J. Turner and David Williams combined for 12 yards on eight carries.

Coverage busts: There were a handful of occasions when receivers came wide open deep with no one around. Matrick Belton also netted a 33-yard gain when the secondary failed to match up as he came across the formation.

Passing consistency: While the passing game had its moments, there were more than a few overthrows of open receivers. That’s not surprising with a young No. 1 quarterback and a No. 2 in Connor Mitch who struggled with consistency a year ago.