Gamecocks open practice for Michigan, Outback Bowl

South Carolina returned to the football practice field Saturday morning as the squad began its week-long bowl mini-camp.

The Gamecocks (10-2) are beginning preparations for the New Year’s Day Outback Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines (8-4) in Tampa, Fla.

“We didn’t do much at all today,” said head coach Steve Spurrier following the 75-minute workout. “We had some confusion on finals and practice, and half the team wasn’t here, so we just did a little bit with the young guys and sent them to the weight room. We’ll really start getting into Michigan tomorrow. We’ll have our scouting report and get all that stuff going.

“Michigan is a big, strong team with good team speed,” noted Spurrier. “At times they’ve been very good on defense. At times they’ve struggled a bit on offense, at other times they’ve looked very good on offense. They’re 8-4, but have lost to some good teams. They’re a typical big, strong team. They look like they’re tough to run on. Hopefully it won’t be too tough to hit a few balls on, but who knows until we go play.”

Quarterback Connor Shaw did not practice on Saturday, but Coach Spurrier indicated that the Gamecock starting signal-caller would practice on Sunday. “The plan is to start Connor and get Dylan (Thompson) in somewhere in the first half or first quarter maybe and get both of them ready to play and see how it goes.”

Coach Spurrier confirmed that offensive lineman Kyle Harris and senior wide receiver D.L. Moore would not travel with the squad to Tampa, citing violation of team rules. Harris is expected to transfer, while Moore’s career as a Gamecock is over. Coach Spurrier did not think there were any academic issues that would affect the squad for the bowl game.

Coach Spurrier commented about sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney becoming just the second Gamecock in history to earn unanimous All-America accolades.  Spurrier also revealed that he voted Clowney first on his Heisman ballot

“It was nice that Clowney was a consensus All-American. Everybody’s proud of him. He’s deserving. A lot of other guys played very well this year also. D.J. Swearinger has had a super year. Devin Taylor has had a super year. But obviously, Jadeveon got most of the attention and votes for All-American and it’s deserving.” said Spurrier.

The Gamecocks will return to the practice field on Sunday afternoon.

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