Freshman QB Mitch sharp in Gamecocks’ first scrimmage

An already tight quarterback race could get even tighter for South Carolina if freshman Connor Mitch continues to improve.

Mitch was the offensive star of Thursday’s scrimmage, completing 9-of-11 passes for 78 yards with the game’s only touchdown – a 5-yard pass to Shamier Jeffery. Sophomore Dylan Thompson was only 1-for-3 for 18 yards and senior starter Connor Shaw continues to recover from offseason surgery.

Sophomore wide receiver Shaq Roland was the top receiver with three catches for 40 yards, while sophomore tailback Mike Davis was the top rusher with three carries for 31 yards in a contest that saw primarily the younger players take the reps.

However, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier was less impressed with his offensive stars than the work of the offensive line and defense.

“We’ve got a good bunch of guys. We’ve just got to play better,” Spurrier said. “The offensive line has got to learn how to block. They’re pretty good at everything except blocking. Unfortunately that’s all we ask them to do. If we can block a little bit better, we’ll be in good shape.”

“I thought we ran to the ball well on defense,” said defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. “We missed some tackles, which is going to happen the first scrimmage. As far as assignment-wise, we’ll have to look at the video. One guy who looked faster was Mason Harris, so that was exciting to see, because that’s what he’s going to have to be able to do for us if he’s going to help us on defense.”

The Gamecocks’ “rabbits” package on defense would include junior Jadeveon Clowney and senior Chaz Sutton inside, and Harris and redshirt freshman Darius English outside, if the season started today, noted Ward. “We’ll definitely use (the rabbits package). It puts the offense at a disadvantage when you put four guys out there that can get to the passer.”

The Gamecocks will return to the Bluff Road practice fields next Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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