COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina actually opened spring practice two weeks ago, but the Gamecocks only practiced once before pausing for spring break.
The Gamecocks practiced Tuesday and Thursday this week, with Thursday's practice the first of the spring conducted outdoors.
South Carolina is scheduled to go out again on Friday, with a practice including an informal scrimmage scheduled Saturday in Williams-Brice Stadium.
Thus far, all workouts remain open to the public.
Eye on the quarterbacks
It's a slam dunk that fifth-year senior Dylan Thompson will be South Carolina's starting quarterback next season, but that doesn't mean there won't be competition.
Redshirt freshman Connor Mitch was asked Thursday if he thought he could contend for the starting job.
He didn't say yes, he didn't say no, but he also didn't automatically defer to Thompson.
“We’ll see where it goes," Mitch said. "I don’t want to say anything. I just want to get out there and play. You always have to have high expectations for yourself.”
Mitch, Brendan Nosovitch and walk-on Perry Orth will get most of the reps in the spring behind Thompson.
Dylan Thompson on being named QB starter already: 'It's nothing I'm celebrating. I'm ready to work. We haven't played a game yet.'— GoGamecocks.com (@gogamecocks) March 20, 2014
“We always want competition at the position," said South Carolina quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus. "To think there’s any other way to go about it would be wrong.”
Even so, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is clear on where things stand at the moment.
“They’re way behind Dylan Thompson, so they’re basically competing for the backup position,” Spurrier said.
The Williams Watch
Redshirt freshman running back David Williams is a player Gamecocks fans will want to have an eye on this spring.
Williams, a 4-star recruit (247Sports) out of Philadelphia, apparently handled his redshirt year and offseason program exceptionally well.
He reported to spring practice bigger, faster and stronger.
"He added about 10 pounds (to 210), dropped his 40 time from 4.37 to 4.34 and all his weight room numbers are going up," South Carolina running backs coach Everette Sands said after Thursday's practice.
Sands was smiling broadly as he said it.
Practice is over today. Brandon Wilds was in a yellow jersey due to oral surgery. David Williams weighs 215 and ran a 4.34/40. #Gamecocks— Willie Smith (@willie_t_smith) March 20, 2014
Even with Mike Davis, Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson ahead of him on the depth chart, Williams has a big chance to compete for playing time.
"Nobody's job is safe," Sands said. "You need more than a couple of running backs in the SEC, and I expect him to be right there."
Sands said the Gamecocks will get a closer look at Williams in Saturday's partial scrimmage.
"Saturday will be a big day for him," Sands said. "He’s looking quick. He has put on some weight but he’s still quick. We’ll look to see what happens Saturday."
Lamin means business
Earlier this week, JUCO transfer Abu Lamin was made available to the media.
Lamin is competing for a starting tackle position on the Gamecocks' defensive line.
D-line in front of us now pic.twitter.com/wdYQPMPzaM— Ron Aiken (@RonAiken) March 20, 2014
"They expect me to come in here and contribute, make plays and do big things," Lamin said. "That's what they expected out of me when they recruited me and that's what I expect out of myself. You have to earn it around here, and I expect to earn it."
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise indicated.