Mitch Misses Thursday Practice



COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — The University of South Carolina football team held its second open practice of the spring on Thursday afternoon at the new practice fields. It was practice number 10 of the 15 allotted during the spring.

The Gamecocks did a lot of situational work on Thursday, including one-minute and red zone work. “We got off the field and let the players play,” said head coach Will Muschamp. “That’s what we need to do right now.”

Quarterback Connor Mitch was not at practice on Thursday as he contracted pink eye. Coach Muschamp hopes to have him back on the field for Saturday’s scrimmage. With Mitch sidelined, the Gamecocks had just three available quarterbacks for Thursday’s practice – Brandon McIlwain, Michael Scarnecchia and walk-on Danny Gordon.

The wide receivers had several drops during Thursday’s drills. “We’ve got to get that cleaned up,” admitted Coach Muschamp. “On the pleasant part, there were some nice balls being thrown. That’s a credit to Brandon and Michael for that. We have thrown our installation at our players on both sides, purposely,” noted Coach Muschamp. “We are throwing a lot of looks at the quarterback from a coverage and pressure standpoint. We haven’t scaled back at all. We just have to grow through these situations, especially the young players. We’ve got to be able to teach them at an accelerated pace.”

Jamari Smith continued to impress at the slot receiver position. “He has natural hands and has some playmaking ability. We need some help at the position, so he’s going to play there,” said Coach Muschamp.

Coach Muschamp has also been impressed by the play of his tight ends. “I’m very pleased with K.C. (Crosby), Hayden (Hurst) and Kyle (Markway). They’re coming along well. K.C. gives us a lot of variety, as Hayden does too, because both guys can stretch the field. They both can block at the point of attack and they can give you issues defensively.”

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jalen Christian has decided to transfer to a school closer to his home. “Jalen has some things at home that he needs to handle,” said Coach Muschamp. “I respect his decision and I’m going to try to help him. He’s a great young man. We didn’t want him to leave. I really appreciate how he’s handling the situation. He’s handling it like a man would. I’m proud of him. I’m disappointed for us and for South Carolina, but at the end of the day it’s about the student-athlete.”

The annual Garnet & Black Spring game will take place in Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, April 9, beginning at noon. The game will be televised live on SEC Network with Bob Wischusen and Mack Brown in the booth and Shannon Spake working the sidelines. With several recruits expected to attend, Coach Muschamp is hoping for a good attendance from Gamecock Nation.

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