South Carolina Football: Spring Game Shows a Pass-Happy Gamecock Team?

Alex Roberts@@alexCoAbassCorrespondent IApril 16, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 5:   Quarterback Connor Shaw #14 of the South Carolina Gamecocks throws a pass against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Stadium on November 5, 2011in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Razorbacks defeated the Gamecocks 44 to 28.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

I take a very simple approach to the spring game.  It's a great deal of fun, but it is fairly worthless in the grand scheme of things.  It's just a chance to show off individual player growth. 

I wrote less than a week ago that the Gamecocks would rely on power running and defense to win games. However, I may have to rethink that analysis.

The team was extremely crisp. Sure, there were some bad plays, especially on the defensive end, but they looked like a team ready for August.

The offense looked stellar.  This team could be the real deal if they continue to work hard over the summer. 

It looks as though the team may be better off in the passing game than we originally thought.  Ace Sanders and Damiere Byrd looked like the real deal, and the other receivers had some good moments as well. 

Connor Shaw looked like he could be an All-SEC caliber quarterback.  He was spot on for most of the day. He's still fast, but he added 12 pounds of very noticeable bulk.  He's a big quarterback. 

The tight ends could also become a major factor in the passing game.  The running game was off, but without Marcus Lattimore and Shon Carson, the plan was pretty vanilla. 

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That didn't stop the Ol' Ball coach from moving the ball, though. 

Besides Connor Shaw, Dylan Thompson looked fantastic.  He isn't as mobile or athletic as Connor Shaw, but he played well enough to almost secure the second spot.  His mechanics and passing prowess came a long way, and the young player looks ready to step in when needed. 

I say "almost secured the second spot" because of the surprising passing display brought on by redshirt freshman Tanner McEvoy.  He's a fan favorite, and he has been dubbed the future of the position.  He was a multi-talented athlete who was highly sought after.  His mechanics are ugly at times, but he throws an accurate ball. 

He's also got prototypical size and great speed, and he will push Thompson for the No. 2 spot. 

Overall, the team's passing game looked great.  We have to remember that the team wasn't blitzing and mostly played vanilla defense, but you can't fake great timing and accurate throws. 

We will see if the protection, accuracy, timing and big-play ability remains when the team plays at Vanderbilt to open the season. 


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