Gamecocks strap on pads, focus on special teams

The South Carolina football squad strapped on the pads for the first time this season on Tuesday morning, spending much of the two-hour session focusing on special teams.

New special teams coach Joe Robinson said the competition for the placekicking duties is heating up, with senior Adam Yates, redshirt freshman Landon Ard and newcomer Nick St. Germain all getting an equal amount of opportunities with the first team unit.

“We don’t want to set a depth chart because they’re competing,” Robinson noted. “In field goal drills, we’re going 2-2-2 and they’re moving right through the rotation. Right now, the order is Yates, Ard and St. Germain, but it really doesn’t mean anything.

“We’re trying to get them all reps with the No. 1 protection unit. We’re trying to get equal reps for all three of them and we’ll see how this thing pans out. They’re competing. It’s been a very strong competition.”

Robinson indicated that Ace Sanders is likely to handle the punt returns again this season. A junior, Sanders returned a punt for a touchdown in last season’s opener against East Carolina. Several candidates remain in the mix for kickoff return duties, including Damiere Byrd, Bruce Ellington and Victor Hampton.

Patrick Fish and Mike Williamson are currently the only two punters competing for that starting job.

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. That practice is open to the public.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

 

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