South Carolina Football: Spurrier's 4 Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Practice

Lee Schechter@@leeschechterContributor IIIApril 16, 2014

South Carolina Football: Spurrier's 4 Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Practice

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    South Carolina's spring practice season is in the books now. It was a fairly quiet spring, which leaves some concerns. 

    Head ball coach Steve Spurrier kept the annual Garnet and Black Spring Game as a relaxing contest where younger players earned some reps, and the projected starters coasted through the motions. 

    Some of the concerns with the Gamecocks were not addressed much in the spring game because these will be concerns right through the heart of the season. 

    South Carolina's offense played exceptionally well in the spring game, though the defense lagged behind. Sure, the defense had to sit back in coverage and were not allowed to blitz, but the defense still struggled regardless. 

    Putting aside all of the positional and unit concerns, I think the biggest concern is that the spring was fairly uneventful. 

    How will South Carolina know what the concerns are and how to fix them if the spring practice season didn't bring out a lot of issues that are probably there. 

    Here are head ball coach Steve Spurrier's four biggest concerns post-spring practice. 

The Secondary

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    I will keep bringing it up because it is going to be a major concern all season long. The secondary is a work in progress and will continue to be one. 

    Rico McWilliams isn't cutting it for the Gamecocks, so the eyes turn toward the slew of freshman cornerbacks joining the team this summer. But can the Gamecocks rely on freshman corners for an entire season? 

    Probably not. 

    Cornerback is a really demanding position these days, and stacking up with SEC offenses makes it that much more difficult of a task. 

    The one bright spot is that Brison Williams seems to be learning the position and grasping coverages well. 

    The secondary sat back during the spring game, knew pass plays were coming and still struggled. South Carolina's offense is very good, but the defense should have shown some resilience to make stops.

    We learned a little bit about the secondary, but now it's a waiting game until the freshmen come into Columbia.   

    And that's putting a lot of eggs in one basket. 

How Will Dylan Thompson Stack Up Against Real Defenses?

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    Spurrier knows Dylan Thompson is the starting quarterback. And during the spring game, he didn't disappoint. 

    Thompson made the throws, looked comfortable in the pocket and had poise and confidence with his teammates. So what's the cause for concern? 

    Flash back to the defense. That secondary is still a mess, so it was only fitting that Thompson dissected the defense effectively.

    Can Thompson produce the same success against stout, tough SEC defenses? 

    I think he can. But it is a concern that should be running through Spurrier's mind. He can't remedy it by swapping Thompson out, though Spurrier can make the right calls to help the offense succeed. 

    South Carolina will need to score and score a lot to win football games because the defense looks like it will be far too susceptible to start the season. 

    Thompson looks promising, and I don't doubt his abilities. But he has a big task ahead of him in leading an offense that needs to put up a ton of points to win games. 

    Spurrier should be a little concerned with Thompson despite the quarterback's experience. 

The Special Teams

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    The special teams unit didn't have a bad spring game or spring practice season, but special teams can be a game-changer. South Carolina needs to address this concern right away.

    The kickers are average with Elliott Fry missing a 48-yard field-goal attempt in the spring game and the punters being fairly average, too.

    The punters will have to be able to help out the defense by giving the unit more field to work with when the offense doesn't score. 

    In the return game, Shon Carson needs to emerge because of his dynamic speed. Pharoh Cooper can also be a game-changer in the return game.

    I know it was the spring game and teams go half-speed in the special teams game, but it's an area of concern because I would give the unit a "C" as a grade.  

    Going back to the defense and how it affects every aspect of the game, South Carolina needs its special teams to make conversions and create opportunities for the offense because the defense will struggle to do so, specifically at the start of the season.  

The Spring Was Quiet...Too Quiet

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    All was quiet this spring in Columbia. Far too quiet. 

    No one emerged as a dominant player. I'd say Skai Moore continued to assert his status as an elite defensive player, but we all expected that. David Williams didn't exactly surprise anyone, but he looked great. 

    Continuing the quiet trend, South Carolina didn't seem to have glaring needs or changes except on defense, but Spurrier clearly knows how shaky that unit is. 

    The spring was all about going through the motions, seeing what players can do and developing talent. All of that is great for South Carolina. Though, the spring didn't bring up a lot of concerns, which should be one of its most important purposes. 

    With such a quiet spring, concerns didn't come up, and Spurrier won't have a surefire plan of attack to fix the team's issues. 

    I'm not saying Spurrier doesn't know how to fix whatever concerns there are, but the issues weren't blatantly evident.

    And a quiet spring can be almost as off-putting as a loud one.