South Carolina Spring Game 2012: Grades, Players Who Shined and Analysis
The Gamecocks' Spring Game is in the books. The Black team defeated the Garnet squad 38-24. The offense was on display and Steve Spurrier has to be excited about the ability of this year's team to put points on the board.
Let's take a deeper look at what transpired today during the Spring game:
Passing Game: A
Collectively, they were 39-54 for 511 yards and six TDs. There were two INTs, but overall, the signal-callers looked good. Connor Shaw's day really stood out. He was 6-7 for 128 yards and two TDs.
What will be the final verdict on Marcus Lattimore's 2012 season?
Running Game: C
Of course, the Gamecocks only ran it 29 times, and without Marcus Lattimore, who is still recovering from his knee injury, it was about the backups.
They managed a modest 115 yards on the ground with one TD. This is just under four yards per carry, but the Gamecocks will have to have more balance during the season.
Run Defense: B
The Gamecocks' run defense was pretty solid with a few tackles for loss. Sharrod Golightly went quite hard with 4.5 tackles, and Reginald Bowens had a forced fumble.
The defense is again very athletic, but they may have some issues against the big-time rushing teams in the SEC like Alabama.
The backups averaged nearly four yards per carry—without Marcus Lattimore.
Pass Defense: D
The Gamecocks' secondary was lit up like a Christmas tree. Obviously, the team misses Stephon Gilmore and Antonio Allen, but both the Garnet and Black's pass defenses were not impressive.
What was especially disappointing was the very modest day from Jadeveon Clowney. The highly touted sophomore had only 1.5 tackles.
Special Teams: I
It's very hard to evaluate return units in spring games, as there is limited tackling allowed.
That said—the 51-yard field goal at the end of the game by Adam Yates showed some great leg strength. It could play a part in a crucial decision by Spurrier during the season.
Players Who Shined
Tanner McEvoy: Showed great decision making and accuracy. He was 8-of-12 with 132 yards and two TDs. It was a very solid look at the 6'6" redshirt freshman. He is the future of Gamecocks football.
Connor Shaw: Shaw was almost as impressive, and he is the favorite to start for the Gamecocks this season.
D.L. Moore: Moore made three catches for 82 yards with a TD. The TD was a 63-yard connection from McEvoy. The senior should be the team's leading receiver this year.
How many wins will the Gamecocks earn this year?
Damiere Byrd: The sophomore is smallish at 5'9", but he can scoot. He showed it on a 70-yard TD grab from Shaw for the first score of the game.
Sharrod Golightly: The sophomore lead the team in tackles.
Sheldon Royster: The freshman had a INT with a 50-yard return. The Gamecocks have help on the way, but this could be a rocky season in the SEC.
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