The South Carolina Gamecocks hope to build upon last year's 11-2 performance and, if the play of starting quarterback Connor Shaw is any indication, they shouldn't be in too much trouble. Shaw started the game and completed six of seven passes — including his first for a 70-yard touchdown to Damiere Byrd — before being replaced on the Black team by Tanner McEvoy, who completed eight of 12 throws.
Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier himself said the passing game was the best he's seen in a spring game, a rarity considering the usual boring schemes they play as to not giving anything away before the season. Spurrier wasn't thrilled with the coverage, but partly chalked it up to the lack of a pass rush. Star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney barely played, and finished with 1.5 tackles.
"We obviously threw the ball and caught it better than any spring game," Spurrier said. "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."
The news everyone wanted to know after spring practice, however, was the status of star halfback Marcus Lattimore, who was lost for the season in mid-October last year with a knee injury.
"He's doing fine," Spurrier said. "He's going to be ready to go. He's right on schedule. Maybe even a little ahead of schedule. He's doing fine."
Lattimore sounded enthusiastic about his recovery, and made it sound like he'll be at full strength by the start of training camp in August.
"May 2nd will be the day I start to cut. I'm real excited about that. I'm just going to tackle it all in May, June and July," Lattimore said.